June 20, 2014

Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the Special Meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014 in the conference room of the Hancock County Courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.


Adjustments to the agenda:

MOTION: to add item 6b, a discussion to include the sheriff elect in all correspondence and discussions. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Commission Business:


Commissioner Brown stated that the Chief Local Elected Officials (CLEOS) are the fiscal agents and are responsible for the money that is allocated to Workforce Investment in the Tri-Counties, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Hancock. Commissioner Brown is the CLEO for Hancock County.  The commissioners have signed similar agreements with the Tri County Workforce in the past.  The question of how responsible fiscally are we going to be if something happens regarding the Tri-County Workforce money was addressed to Risk Pool Agent Malcolm Ulmer.  It was Mr. Ulmer's opinion that the county or it's commissioners would not be responsible, it would fall to the vendor, Eastern Maine Development Corporation.  He stated that the MOU should be approved.

MOTION: to approve the MOU for the Tri County Workforce CLEO's agreement with Hancock County and Tri-County Workforce. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

The tax appeal hearing for Swan's Island Electric Cooperative v. the Town of Frenchboro was not rescheduled.  The commissioners will await correspondence prior to scheduling the appeal.

District Attorney:

MOTION: to approve the Sheriff, Chief Deputy and Deputies' Bonds. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)


Facilities Director Walls gave a brief overview of his worksite inspections of work done by GR Roofing, Inc.  All references and the work inspections were satisfactory.  It was noted that this is a working courthouse and there may be interruptions, without notice, due to court being in session.  A flexible schedule was encouraged.

MOTION: to accept the bid from GR Roofing, Inc, as contractor for District Court Roof replacement project, the in the amount of $36,747. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Liability and Workers Compensation certifications have been submitted.  Commissioner Brown stated that safety is of utmost concern as the last time workers were in the building, we received a visit from OSHA.  He requested that Director Walls stress that all safety precautions MUST BE TAKEN because they will be checked.  When asked about the former Law Library, Director Walls stated that books that the State has requested have been delivered to Augusta and in the interim, inmate help has disposed of books by utilizing the dumpster.  Commissioner Blasi questioned if “they have responded about the patches.”  Director Walls explained this was a Roof Systems issue with the repair of a different roof.  The RFP was clear about the corners and the way the seams are dropped and any patches are necessary.  We should not see any more patches.

Commissioner Joy requested to see a copy of the RFP for the Andrew Peters Office Building Heating & Cooling System.  A provision was included for removal and disposal of the fuel tanks.  Window casings will also be repaired.  A manufacturer was not specified in the RFP in order to receive a wide variety of quotes for different systems.  Commissioner Brown suggested picking a higher quality unit and including the phrase “equivalent to” in the RFP.  He also said to make sure plumbing and heating are done according to the Maine State Fuel Code.  Commissioner Brown stated that "they" should have all necessary permits, plumbing and town required, and that they should pay for inspection from the State.  "Cecil will come down."

Commissioner Joy stated that backgrounds, with regard to criminal activity of the workman, should be considered.  Commissioner Brown requested time to go over the document prior to approving it.  Commissioner Joy stated that he did not need to discuss the issue again as he has read the RFP and agreed with Commissioner Brown’s suggestions.  Tank disposal was discussed.  Commissioner Joy questioned if tank disposal should be included in the RFP. An option to remove the tank could be a separate part of the RFP.  Commissioner Blasi concurred with Commissioner Joy.

MOTION: to accept the RFP with any additions that Joe and Dennis work out to make it a very good document to be put out and bid on. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the bid form for G & R Roofing was signed.


MOTION: to approve the appointment of Acting Chief Harold Page of Ellsworth as the District 7 representative to the RCC Advisory Board. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the stipend of $300 to Chief Deputy Bishop to act as RCC Director during the week of July 9, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Office of Financial Affairs:

CFO Roy was contacted via telephone to discuss payment of the Bull Hill tower project.  He recommended that the remaining balance of the project, $2,783.24, come from the RCC Equipment Reserve, account G1-3012-60.  This would be the last payment on the project and will bring the TIF funds to a zero balance.  Commissioner Joy stated that he would like to see the capital account reimbursed once TIF funds come in later in the year.  CFO Roy stated that this is possible with a vote of the county commissioners and that it could also be done with a receivable.  Commissioner Joy stated that he would like this to remain a TIF project and would like to see the RCC Equipment Reserve account replenished once TIF Funds come in.  Commissioner Blasi stated "I think that we should go with the CFO's recommendation."

CFO Roy stated that the difference could be paid from the capital reserve account with a vote from the county commissioners and then he would need a secondary vote to replenish the amount taken from the capital account from future TIF funds.  This would allow a payable and receivable to be put into the system, this will provide full documentation of what was done.

Commissioner Joy questioned reimbursing the $25,000 from the Community Benefit Fund.  CFO Roy explained that in the original vote $25,000 was slated to come from the Community Benefit Fund.  He was leery to do so as currently it is all trackable and for auditing purposes, leaving it as is, is cleaner.  The $25,000 has not been expended yet.  CFO Roy stated that reimbursing the capital reserve account is cleaner than reimbursing the Community Benefit Fund.  A vote would be needed to do so.  Commissioner Brown sought clarification regarding TIF people frowning upon taking TIF money to replace capital funds or vice versa.  CFO Roy stated that they frowned upon spending TIF Funds but not having an appropriation.  They did not like funds being spent prior to having the funds.  He suggested spending the funds out of capital and having an payable and receivable due, along with a motion to do so.  Once the State appropriates the funds, they can be spent.  He suggested reimbursing the funds from a capital account and then reimbursing the fund once the TIF has been appropriated.  Commissioner Joy would like to see the $27,783.24 reimbursed from the TIF funds.  The Community Benefit Funds are much easier for us to use throughout Hancock County whereas the TIF funds are specific to the UT's.  He would like to see the entire $27,783.24 reimbursed from TIF funds.  CFO Roy stated that one motion would be needed to have the funds come out of the Capital Reserve Equipment account and another motion to have TIF funds reimburse, once the state has appropriated money, the capital reserve account for that same amount of money.

As Director Wellman just joined the meeting, Commissioner Joy updated her on the current discussion.  Reimbursement should come after April 15, 2015.  CFO Roy stated that we have not received 2014 TIF funds; they should be received once First Wind has paid their tax bill.  Once TIF funds are received $25,000 will be reimbursed back to the capital account.  RCC Director Wellman questioned the $2,783.24 shortfall.  Propane and consulting costs make up the shortfall amount.  Director Wellman acknowledged that she understood Commissioner Joy's proposal.  Commissioner Brown clarified that the $25,000 from the Community Benefit Account has not been expended at this time.

MOTION: to expend $27,783.24 from capital reserve account G1-3012-60 RCC Equipment Reserve for the Bull Hill Tower Communication Project. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed Blasi opposed)

MOTION: to reimburse account G1-3012-60 RCC Equipment Reserve for $27,783.24 from future TIF funds for the Bull Hill Tower Communication Project. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed. Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi opposed the motion because he felt that the commissioners should approve the original recommendation of the CFO per the "sheet" submitted for the meeting.  "Although it has some, still gaps in my mind, I can accept this sheet to a certain extent."  When questioned by CFO Roy about what the sheet was missing, Commissioner Blasi responded "prior years expenditures."  CFO Roy stated that prior years expenditures were all voted by the county commissioners and were held out as a payable to the account.  Commissioner Joy stated that "we are changing a previous motion that we passed, I think this is cleaner as opposed to some coming from the equipment capital accounts, some coming from the Community Benefit Fund, some coming from TIF's, now it's just going to be TIF's and the Equipment Capital Account which to me is just a little cleaner."  A capital expenditure request form will be submitted within the next few weeks.

Commissioner Joy requested a brief overview regarding LD1824/Public Law 598 with regard to the 75/25 split.  CFO Roy stated that a meeting needs to be scheduled for the afternoon of June 27, 2014 to disburse capital accounts for the UT and jail.  The BOC did not grant $6,307 from a prior year.  This can come from contingency or undesignated funds but it needs to be done prior to the end of the year.  The approximate fund balance by July 1st is $45,000 - $50,000.  Health insurance should come in between $10,000 - $14,000, this would leave a fund balance of $31,000.

CFO Roy stated that the BOC has upped our Federal Boarding to $92,000 and has a new budget of $2,229,937.  Title 34 §1812 was referenced.  $165,000 in Federal Board this year allows Hancock County to do the 75/25 split.  A vote of the county commissioners is needed to use Undesignated Funds.   CFO Roy voiced the need to accept the jail budget by next Friday, if not we will forfeit the 1st quarter payment.  The 2016 budget has to be approved by July 15 and entered into the system.  Commissioner Blasi questioned if elections have been considered in making this decision.  The answer was no.  Hancock County does not have a contract with the US Marshall Service for Federal Inmate Board.  Hancock County is augmenting using federal funds to support the jail because the BOC is not living up to their agreement.  If we stay with our average daily population of 2, there will be no money to put to our debt service.  CFO Roy stated that an appropriations analyst is adamant that when emergency legislation is enacted, it immediately becomes legislation.  If we’ve met our budget, there should be a split of the Federal Board funds for May/June.  AG Black does not believe this was the legislature’s intent.  If the law is followed, Hancock County should separate the funds 25/75.  Commissioner Joy stated that if we get to keep the surplus we will put it in capital and send the state the rest.  Regarding the $6,307, we need to make ourselves whole out of surplus.  The rest of the surplus will sit in an account until a decision is made.  Commissioner Joy also questioned if anything was being done regarding the liability of the health care lock box in the jail.  The answer was no.  The issue of the $6,307 will be addressed on June 27th along with the capital accounts.  Commissioner Joy questioned the budget shortage/submission.  CFO Roy stated that the 2015 budget will need to be voted on prior to June 30th or we will forfeit our 1st quarter payment.  The budget that has been submitted to the BOC is different from the one voted upon by the County Commissioners.

CFO Roy asked for an executive session, his request was denied.

County Clerk:

Appointed/Exempt Policy Workshop: sick time/vacation/appendix:

Commissioner Joy stated that of the 5 counties that reported, all 5 have 12 sick days through 30 years.  Cumberland has a total figure that includes sick and vacation days.  Hancock County is at the top with 40 days, Cumberland would be at 35 for the total and other counties are at 36 and 36 with 12 days of sick.  Commissioner Joy stated that we are okay with vacation days, sick days we are not.  He preferred to change the proposal to 12 sick days annually.  This would bring this in line with other counties.  The change does not affect present employees.  Sick time is a benefit, but vacation should be earned.  Commissioner Blasi stated that if we were go to combined time and adopted a 4-10 hour day, there would be a discrepancy between the 4-10 hour day employees and the 5-8 day per week employees, Commissioner Brown agreed.  Commissioner Joy clarified that today, we are calling a day, an 8 hour day.  We do not have any employees on an approved 10 hour day yet.  A “day” is being measured in 8 hours today.  Commissioner Blasi stated that if the Appendix or Cumberland model is adopted it should be done by hours, not days and time off should be approved by the commissioners.  Commissioner Joy stated that he was not ready for the Cumberland model.  Commissioner Brown gave an example of an employee needing 25 days off immediately upon hire.  Commissioner Blasi stated that Hancock County Commissioners could make their own version of the Cumberland model.  Commissioner Brown questioned when sick time would be used under the Hancock policy and the Cumberland model.  Commissioner Joy liked the sick and vacation designations.

Commissioner Brown requested to “TA” the information presented as is done in union contract negotiations.  Director Walls stated that he felt the “day” definition was not necessary as the benefit should be expressed in hours.  Commissioner Joy stated that county offices will be open 8-4 Monday–Friday.  If the commissioners approve employees to work a 10-hour, departments will be covered during office hours.  Schedules will be approved by the commissioners.

MOTION: to approve the amendment to the Appointed/Exempt Policy, as printed. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Joy stated that he would like to send an e-mail to the sheriff requesting to carbon copy the sheriff elect with all correspondence and discussions.  Commissioner Blasi was under the impression that he already receives them.  It was explained that as he is currently an employee of the sheriff, the sheriff and chief deputy receive correspondence and notifications.  Director Wellman suggested sending the information to all candidates.  Commissioner Joy stated that the difference in sending information to all candidates vs. the sheriff elects is that we are currently dealing with the jail budget which is on a different fiscal year, half the budget would be under the current sheriff and the other under the new sheriff.  It was stressed that commissioners meetings are public and therefore anyone can attend.  Commissioner Joy stated that the sheriff elect is an employee of the sheriff and that the commissioners cannot tell sheriff’s employees what to do.  Commissioner Blasi suggested notifying Sheriff Clark that the commissioners would like to include the sheriff elect in correspondence and discussions.  After the November election, all newly elected officials will be included in notifications.

Commissioner Brown stated that earlier this week, former Bucksport Chief Douglas Gray passed away.  A note of condolence will be sent from the County Commissioners.

Commissioner Blasi passed Commissioner Joy a note.  Commissioner Joy stated that his request could be discussed during the next warrant discussion.

MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)



C. DePrenger

County Clerk

Official Website of Hancock County, Maine.                              Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.