Commissioner Agendas & Minutes
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
August 5, 2014
Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in the conference room at the county courthouse in Ellsworth Main with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.
The following heating bids for the Andrew Peters Office Building were opened:
Mechanical Contractors: Fixed Bid Price $88,000
AAA Energy Fixed Bid Price $79,290
ABM Mechanical Fixed Bid Price $67,150
Bids were turned over to the Facilities Director for review and recommendation.
Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin offered his observations pertaining to steps to providing for a county administrator and requested to begin the process of initiating a Charter Commission. Commissioner Brown stated that he has had the recommended information for the County Administrator position, for approximately 10 years and has been researching job descriptions for months; he is well aware of the process and believed that the County Administrator position is something that can be in place by the first of the year. Background checks would be processed by MMA. When the commissioners present their budget, Commissioner Brown will bring his information before the commissioners. Commissioner Joy stated that, for him, it’s all about the money; the budget process is where it is going to begin, for him. He stated that the information would be included in the commissioner’s budget and thanked Mr. Gideonse.
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the July 1, 2014 commissioners' regular meeting and July 8, 2014 commissioners' special meeting. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to table the scheduling of the Appointed/Exempt Policy workshop until a further meeting this month. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi stated that the Telecommuting Policy is well written and would have a place but he believes that it favors certain employees and that if enacted, there would potentially be challenges in awarding this privilege which he feels it should be in a public meeting. He stated that he felt that other employees could challenge the award of one of their colleagues being able to work under this policy. Commissioner Joy stated that there are some employees who cannot telecommute (i.e. a corrections officer, a sheriff's deputy). They may be accommodated through a Workers Compensation situation and others who can for a period of time. Commissioner Brown stated that this policy gives the commissioners the authority to approve or disapprove any telecommuting. This policy tells employees and people that the commissioners are going to comply with everything they can, especially if someone is disabled or in hiring disabled people. He felt that this is a good start and the policy can always be changed. The commissioners would be the ones to approve the telecommuting of an employee and that the County needs a policy in place. Register Curtis requested to see the wording of the policy and questioned at what point the department head has a say over who telecommunicates. Commissioner Brown stated that today the commissioners would approve the draft and then the policy would go to the department heads. In many instances the department head is included in the process. Commissioner Joy stated that he welcomed supervisor comment.
MOTION: to approve the Draft Telecommuting Policy. (Brown/Joy 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: The draft will be distributed to department heads for input and then approved at the next meeting.
With regard to the question of checks being taken home, Treasurer Eldridge stated that previously, warrants were processed on Tuesdays, now they are being processed on Wednesdays but Commissioners Joy and Blasi cannot get in to sign them until as late as Friday. Due to her other job, she is unable to work in the office late on Friday so therefore she takes the checks home, signs them and has them to the Post Office by 5:00 p.m. CFO Roy explained that recently a check was held for over $2,700 which caused a delay in payment for a Managed Services contract. He requested that checks be sent out on time and stressed that in most cases we have not had an issue. CFO Roy stated that warrants are normally processed on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when the chairman can sign the warrant and the second commissioner signs the warrant depends on when the treasurer signs the checks. Treasurer Eldridge stated “I did hold the check, and I emailed to say why, that a department head asked me not to mail it. You, (CFO Roy) you came in, the day that you came in last week, Tuesday or Wednesday, you called and said that it had been resolved, release the check. The check did go and I did email and tell you I had held it.”
Commissioner Joy questioned if the commissioners minded if unsigned checks left the building. Commissioner Blasi stated, "I don't mind and what's the harm if they are in the envelope or not if they are still in their stack, they're still leaving the building." Commissioner Joy clarified that there is a difference if they are signed and they're leaving the building to be mailed, there's a difference if they are leaving and they are going to Janice's house, it's different. He asked the commissioners if they were okay with it. Commissioner Blasi responded "I'm okay with it." Commissioner Brown was uncomfortable with it and stated that the checks needed to be signed in the courthouse and the reason they are signed late is because of the insistence of the second commissioner to review the warrant. The chairman should be notified if a check is being held. It takes three commissioners to hold a check and the commissioners’ act as a body, not as individuals and the chairman is authorized to sign the warrant. Treasurer Eldridge stated " this is the only county in the State that is doing that, the other treasurers will not sign checks until they have a second signature, and I think that's right. It's in the Statute and the Municipality section is very clear about that, that a treasurer does not sign checks until she has either all or a majority of selectmen or whatever the board is." When asked if she was all set, Treasurer Eldridge responded, "yeah, I'm done." CFO Roy stated that taking checks home, in order to sign them, does not happen a lot, but agreed with Commissioner Brown’s concern. Commissioner Joy stated that Hancock County’s policy is that the chairman approves the warrant and they stay here, he would like the checks to stay in the building until they are signed, checks do not leave the building for any other reason.
MOTION: that the checks do not leave the building unless they are in the envelopes to be mailed and signed by the Treasurer, but if the Treasurer does not sign them we have another signatory on our checks. (Joy/Brown 2-0-1, motion passed, Blasi abstained) Discussion: Treasurer Eldridge requested that the warrant be processed on Tuesday. CFO Roy could not guarantee that due to the amount of regular office work. Commissioner Joy stated that he will accommodate when he can.
The following bids were opened regarding Terminal Building Furnishing for the new secure departure lounge:
Donna Sinclair - Red Thread - $25,818 for Layout B
Robert H. Lord Co. - $26,069.30
Arconas Corporation - $18,406 for Layout B and $14,762 for Layout A.
Bids were turned over to Manager Madeira for review and recommendation.
Airport Manager Madeira stated that Nickerson & O'Day has presented Change Proposal #14 (Rev 2) in order to capture schedule and delay costs associated with the terminal building project. Nickerson & O’Day, Inc. has determined that the cost per day to operate the job is $761 when the job is active and $193 per day when the project is shut down. A matrix was provided that fully details the information.
Commissioner Blasi questioned the cause of the later revisions of the document. Mr. O'Day stated that the two substantive changes were that 1) the initial delay claim presented included overhead and profit; they have agreed to waive both in the spirit of compromise, and 2) they had a claim in for the cost of heated concrete, which the FAA has requested that this be a separate change order. Mr. O’Day stated that this is a compromise; they do not intend to seek home office overhead included as part of the delay. This is a compensable delay and parties were told early on that the delay associated in redesigning the structural steel package was going to delay the job. As this is a calendar based contract and they are only asking for compensation based on calendar days. Mr. O'Day stated that throughout the project Nickerson & O’Day has been a partner and has assumed the role as construction manager; this will make them whole due to the delay. Commissioner Joy requested that Karen Frink of Hoyle Tanner speak to the delay. Mr. O’Day explained the 8 issues that caused the delay. 1) redesign of the foundation to accommodate existing utilities, 2) steel delivery delayed due to VE redesign, 3) demobilize for winter and remobilize, 4) combat winter conditions; snow removal, temperature included, 5) place floor slab in cold conditions, 6) redesign access control and door hardware and 7) redesign doors 117 and 119. It was Mr. O'Day's understanding that the design engineer was not authorized to do the redesign until after the FAA grant was approved, the grant was not approved until August 18th causing the revised roof design to be received 23 weeks after the job was bid. Commissioner Brown questioned who was told about the delays, the answer was the airport manager, representatives of Hoyle Tanner, Commissioner Joy and CFO Roy. Karen Frink of Hoyle Tanner stated that the foundation had to be redesigned because the “as builts were not correct from the ARFF Building." The shutdown was due to drawings/designs going back and forth from the steel fabricators and integrated access control door hardware, she did not understand why parts could not be ordered ahead of time. Manager Madeira stated that you have to look at each item being listed, regarding Item 1, 6 days has been added to the contract to accommodate for the delay, is not the owners fault but may be the owner’s responsibility. Item 2 all parties agreed to accept the CFO, this is not the owners fault but may be the owner’s responsibility, Item 7 the contractor summarized that the doors and storefront was needed on site by mid-June, the products were not yet ordered. Changes were made on February 11, by Manager Madeira representing the Owners. He was told he was simplifying the access control that would trigger a credit. At that time he though there was plenty of time to order the correct materials. On May 22, he met with the architect and noticed that access to leave the secure area was missing, the changes were made in plenty of time, the background work was not worked on properly. On June 18 the contractor recommended that doors 117 & 119 be changed to sliders, this should have been known in February. They were VE’d out at one point and reapproved in one day. New details were sent to the contractor on June 26th. The delay was a sum total of 2 days. In his opinion it was the contractor’s decision to order the doors in one order. Had this been done, the impact would have been 2-3 days. The contractor and the contractor sub were all at the meeting in February, if they needed details, they needed to speak to the project manager, who should have followed up on the details and prevent the delays. FAA compensable items include item #2. The county would be responsible at 100% for the rest. Mr. O’Day stated that he did not disagree with the airport manager regarding the change to the sliding door, but shop drawings have to be done and approved and reviewed by the architect. The aluminum doors and storefront package has to be ordered at the same time because it’s a package. The hardware supplier and door supplier are two different companies. The hardware and doors may be less expensive because a credit may be forthcoming. The estimated credit is approximately $20,000 to $30,000, the exact amount is unknown at this time. An Efficiency Maine Credit was received for parts of the old terminal building. Manager Madeira stated if the credit is eventually realized, it credits the contract, if the funds have not gone out yet, you don’t have to pay it. Commissioner Blasi questioned how daily costs are determined. Mr. O’Day referenced a previously distributed packet in order to answer his question. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the superintendant was readily available for consultation. The superintendent was demobilized and sent somewhere else and Mr. O’Day became the supervisor. CFO Roy questioned how many days the contractors were hired to complete the contract, the answer was 450 days, Mr. O'Day was not asking for an extension of the contract, but was requesting costs associated with the shutdown. CFO Roy stated that there is no “day delay” other than the shut down which was mutually agreed, they are still within the contractual obligation. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the information distributed and the Revision 2 go together, the answer was yes. Commissioner Joy summed up the discussion stating that Item #2 is compensable by the FAA at 90%, the county owes 100% of the remainder for a total of $20,519 due by the county. Commissioner Joy stated that the redesign was done to accommodate existing facilities and asked how the parties did not know where the existing utilities were. He agreed with the airport manager on the redesign of the doors. Commissioner Brown stated, regarding the redesign of the foundation due to “as builts” from the ARFF project, the steel was understood, but he did not feel the owner was totally responsible for the change of the doors. We are still within the 450 day window, he was not sure he was willing to assign anything on Items 7 and 8 due to still being in the construction window. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the commissioners should wait until the end of the 450 days to obtain the status. Commissioner Brown stated that this has been summarized by the airport manager and Nickerson & O’Day and that Holye Tanner has some responsibility in the process. You cannot do anything without approved shop drawings.
MOTION: to approve the $7,334 for item #2. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that this is not something that is finalized for the rest of the items, it is an ongoing discussion. Commissioner Joy agreed adding that this will be revisited once the credits and punch list is available. Commissioner Blasi requested the associated account number, G2-3030-20.
Break: 10:47 a.m.
Back in session: 10:56 a.m.
MOTION: to approve the airport managers request to go out to bid for an airport paint marking machine. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: This would be paid from account G2-3010-90.
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign both Fairpoint agreements, one for the lease and one that allows Fairpoint to put the conduit on site. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: CFO Roy suggested that this be paid out of a capital reserve miscellaneous account; it would be utilized and over expended by $8,335. $4,000 would come from Departmental “Capital” Reserve account E-40-70-800 and the balance from G40-30-1510. CFO Roy stated that it would be best for auditing services to have it come from an expense account. E40-70-800 is an expense budget account and would be better for auditing purposes. This would be a onetime expense. It will be included in the budget if it occurs after January. Manager Madeira stated that if Fairpoint wanted to pull the fiber out after 60 months then we are no different that we are today, but we would have the conduit in the ground. Commissioner Blasi requested an assurance that the fiber could be removed from the conduit, ourselves. Manager Madeira stated that we cannot touch Fairpoint fiber. If a problem with Fairpoint occurs, Fairpoint is responsible for removal of their property.
MOTION: to grant approval for the chairman sign the HTA contract for the Design and Project Administration to Replace the Obstruction poles west of the Runway 22 threshold and install supplemental wind cones. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to grant approval for the chairman sign the HTA contract for the Project Administration associated with the installation of Taxiway D and E. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to grant approval for the chairman sign the contract with Norris, Inc. for fire alarm monitoring and annual inspections. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: The annual cost is $297 for monitoring and $600 annually for inspection. Norris was recommended by the airport electrician who shopped for competitive prices.
The 2014 2Q Scheduled Airline Enplanement Report showed enplanements up by 11.8% over the previous year, our entitlement is not in danger at this time.
MOTION: to approve an expenditure of $1,624 out of Capital Reserve account G2-3010-30 in order to re-tread four (4) grader tires. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Retreading is the most economical option.
MOTION: to approve the chairman to sign the Hoyle Tanner contract to go out to bid for a remarking project on Runway 4/22 and Taxiway H. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Manager Madeira is requiring the work to be done at night and is also requesting a resident engineer. An FAA inspection is due in October, so the project needs to be completed prior to October. The airport will pay the cost initially but the FAA has agreed for the Entitlement to repay for it in 2015.
A Special Meeting was scheduled for August 15th at 8:30 in order to open sealed bids for terminal building LP tanks. The Appointed/Exempt Policy workshop will be scheduled for a later date. Commissioner Brown stated that we have an account with at FW Webb, a local propane tank supplier, and the county could purchase tanks from them. Commissioner Blasi stated that it is published in the newspaper this week. Commissioner Joy suggested having FW Webb put in a bid. The Facilities Director will be contacted to help with this item.
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign the contract with Sargent Corp. to construct Taxiways D & E; install lighted windcones on Runway 4/22; and replace obstruction polls west of the Runway 22 threshold for $1,226,192. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: A Notice to Award has been issued and now the contract needs to be signed.
Registry of Deeds:
Register Curtis requested approval of an updated job description, to include an increase of the Compensation Code to Grade 7, for Registry of Deeds Clerk position. She currently has money in her budget, therefore she was requesting immediate approval. Commissioner Joy suggested reviewing the compensation code process. CFO Roy suggested reviewing this during the budget process. Commissioner Brown stated that he would be alright to approve the job description now without approving the compensation code. Register Curtis questioned if the commissioners would look at compensation throughout the entire building during the budget process. Clerk DePrenger suggested reinstating the Compensation Advisory Committee to perform an analysis and present recommendations to the commissioners.
MOTION: to approve the change in the job description for Registry of Deeds Clerk position. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the compensation code will not be increased at this time. The Compensation Advisory Committee should be convened as soon as possible in order to meet budget deadlines. Commissioner Joy volunteered to be the commissioner representative.
Register Curtis requested to be open half a day, once a month, on Saturday to process passports. Employees would get ½ day off during the week if they are scheduled to work on a Saturday. Commissioners Brown was not in favor of allowing access to the commissioners meeting room for this purpose.
Jail Administrator Richardson created the proposed FY16 and FY17 budgets; Sheriff Clark approved them. CFO Roy stated that the Sheriff Elect has seen the budgets but his opinion is unknown. CFO Roy disagreed with the proposed revenues. JA Richardson stated that the reason for the change in revenues was due to compliance to the LD1 Tax Cap. JA Richardson stated that the BOC would absorb the $18,000 listed under Capital Revenue. CFO Roy suggested removing the $18,000 and to include it under the BOC Investment Fund line; this would bring the total line to $320,000. CFO Roy stated that employee medical is wrong; going forward the number presented is unrealistic. $403,857 listed under Employee Medical is a budgeted number, not actual. Commissioner Joy stated that we finally got our $6,000 because it was taken out of surplus.
MOTION: to approve the Jail FY16 budget in the amount of $2,396,519 with the change to the Investment Fund to $320,000. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the Jail FY17 jail budget in the amount of $$2,422,811 with a change to the Investment Fund to $335,500. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the hire Franklin Burke of Sedgwick as a part-time, on call, as needed corrections officer at the rate of $12 per hour, effective August 8, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Jail Administrator Richardson request approval to go out to bid for the purchase of a jail van. Surplus from FY14 would be used to purchase the van.
MOTION: to approve the request to go out to bid for the purchase of a jail van. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: this should be posted in at least one newspaper.
12:02 p.m.: Break for lunch
12:30 p.m.: Back in session
Regarding the Nicatous Road Project, all the culverts and the first 6” layer of material has been put in; the project should be completed by August 15th, there have been no snags.
The Milford agreement would cover 5½ Townships for a $9,000 stipend. Supervisor Billings questioned if the commissioners would like to put in a counter offer. Commissioner Brown questioned the proximity to Burlington, it is fairly close. Commissioner Joy was not opposed to the stipend but did not want to pay a “per fire” charge. Commissioner Brown stated that most departments seem to want a stipend plus a per cost. He thought the Burlington contract was reasonable. Commissioner Brown requested that Burlington be contacted for coverage for some of the proposed areas. T32 has one year round residence, there are several camps on the Myra and Pickerel Road, there are several camps in T39 and there are several camps on Nicatous Lake. The preference, for budgeting purposes, was an annual fee. Commissioner Blasi stated that the $9,000 could be agreed to and the stipend could be “talked about.” RCC Director Wellman stated that the RCC is getting more calls in that area. Commissioner Joy stated ‘we are still negotiating.” The Burlington contract is $2,500 up front and includes a per call amount.
Regarding the Steuben boundary, Supervisor Billings stated that it would be cheaper to spread gravel when you figure in the cost of the survey. Commissioner Blasi stated ‘we need that boundary line.” Sometimes the line of demarcation is a private owner’s property line. Surveyors have been contacted but nothing has resulted regarding this specific line. DOT usually marks lines when a State Highway goes across the County lines. Commissioner Joy and Brown agreed that it was cheaper to spread gravel than to survey the line.
Facilities Director Walls stated that the roof project is completed, the job was satisfactory and an additional drain was installed to prevent future damage. The county truck recently had $468.11 worth of work and now has a current inspection sticker. Replacement of the vehicle will be included in the FY15 budget. Books are still being removed from the Law Library.
MOTION: to award the bid for the Andrew Peters Office Building heating project to ABM Mechanical for $67,150. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the building has an aging oil heating system which is operating at approximately 70% efficiency. The new system would replace the heating and cooling system with two heat pumps that have propane condensing gas burners which are 90-96% efficiency. An on demand water heater will also be installed. This will remove oil from the building. The existing oil will be moved to the jail tanks. The jail will incur the cost of the oil. Fuel tanks for the new system will be set outside on the existing slab to the left of the old DEA space. Excavating verses drilling and 2-100 gallon tanks were discussed. Two 4/20’s (tanks) will be here day after tomorrow. The payment terms for the project is 1/3 upon commencement, 1/3 mid way and 1/3 upon completion and inspection. The project should be completed by September 15th.
Director Walls stated, regarding the electrical, that he would be going with the cheapest price which is Integrity Electric in the amount of $5,940. This was not put out for bid but prices were sought as Director Walls did not see it as a capital improvement or a repair or modification to existing systems. Three prices from three vendors were obtained regarding the emergency generator upgrade. Although the amount exceeded $2,500 in total, the quotes were split up into three different areas, 1st floor, 2nd floor and 3rd floor. The work can be done incrementally. Commissioner Brown questioned if the two mains (transfer switches) could be combined. As this would be a big project, it was not included in the modification. This was a budgeted item and a motion was not necessary.
Discussion with Erik Stumpfel Esq. and Dave Fowler regarding Hancock Wind Project:
Commissioner Brown questioned if the contract part of the agenda should be heard in executive session. As Attorney Stumpfel was running late, Dave Fowler of First Wind suggested allowing Shana Cook-Mueller to summarize the provisions of the agreement. First Wind is ready to move forward, they have documents ready to go and potential project mapping was distributed for the county project that may be undertaken with TIF revenue; other areas may be added. The Hancock Wind project is fully approved, First Wind has submitted an amendment for taller turbine heights to the DEP. Power Purchase agreements are in place and the project should be getting underway tentatively by the end of the year. Once financing is approved it will be very difficult to enter into an agreement with the County. October/November may be the deadline for County inclusion. Commissioner Joy questioned the County’s security in the process, if the parent company can be added on, the TIF and the TIF split and fire protection via a fire truck. Mr. Fowler stated that as a company they are at the final place regarding the contract, they cannot attach anything else to the DEP Permit, bankruptcy laws are in question. The TIF agreement is secure; the Community Benefit Agreement is not secure. Commissioner Brown questioned that if the project goes bankrupt, would the County end up spending any money on the CBA's. Ms. Mueller stated that there is an existing Credit Enhancement Agreement (CEA) and TIF Agreement in the Hancock County UT for the Bull Hill Project, the new documents that they have used as their base in preparing this particular TIF are based on the old Bull Hill Agreement. This is not part of the DEP Permit Community Benefit package. Attorney Stumpfel was concerned that the DEP Permit, under bankruptcy, is not as much security as he thinks it is. In order to accommodate Stumpfel’s request, Ms. Mueller stated that Hancock Wind LLC is very robust entity, and was created to hold all the valuable assets. This is the entity that will be bankable. There is no guarantee from the parent entity anyway. Mr. Fowler stated that there is never any guarantee of bankruptcy; the cost is all up front. The 20 year power purchase includes a 20 year revenue stream that reduces the risk. Down the road, Mr. Fowler has made a commitment that the commissioners will be approached, up front, prior to the DEP Permit being submitted. Commissioner Brown was uncomfortable with the liability issues concerning bankruptcy. CFO Roy there is no language to secure Hancock Wind with a personal asset guarantee with the Community Benefit funds. The next person taking over the project would not have to take over the Community Benefit Agreement. Ms. Mueller stated that the risk is minimal and revenue producing with very low costs.
Commissioner Blasi referenced the Community Benefit Agreement and Credit Enhancement Agreement with no dates included. CFO Roy stated that a Credit Enhancement Agreement and Community Benefit Agreement were handed out at the last meeting with Attorney Stumpfel. Commissioner Brown asked about the fire truck. Mr. Fowler stated that it was something that could be discussed in future contracts. Commissioner Brown stated that this is an issue for him as it was first discussed earlier in the process. Mr. Fowler stated that it could be addressed within the TIF agreement itself. If purchasing the fire truck is due to a need that has developed in the district, the county side of TIF revenues could support the expenditure. Commissioner Brown stated that it was his understanding the fire truck would be similar to the tower agreement. The compromise would be that it is an allowed use and an agreement could be made for an actual amount and incorporate it in the agreement. Mr. Fowler stated that he would not want to be responsible for the deliverable, only the funding. Ms. Mueller stated that the CEA could be modified to include the cost of a fire truck. Supervisor Billings stated that in frontloading the TIF agreement, First Wind is losing some money and the county is gaining funds. Ms. Mueller stated that if the county could fund the purchase they could spread out the cost over a few years. If the money is not in hand, the commissioners are reluctant to finance anything. The prospective cost is $100,000 for a smaller tanked vehicle. Surplus equipment has been looked at along with the shape of the wind farm road. CFO Roy suggested that First Wind purchase the truck and give it to the county. Commissioner Brown stated that surplus equipment was found that would fit the bill. The truck would be stationed in the Eastbrook area and they would have use of the truck with the stipulation that they have to respond to fires at either one of the wind farm sites. If the CEA proposal was amended the cost could be front loaded. Mr. Fowler stated that he will consider the proposal if it will resolve all issues.
Commissioner Blasi questioned who owns the land in the TIF District borders, the answer was URSA Major and Lakeview Shores. On August 12th emails were received from Attorney Stumpfel regarding proposed CBA payments. The total per turbine was in the $5,000 range, but was changed to mega watt. All turbines will be taller and First Wind will be removing a turbine. There were more than 18 turbines permitted and will be at 51 mega watts for now and additional increases can come in the future through application to ISO New England. The warrantee depends on the service agreement, 10 years if they provide the services.
Commissioner Brown questioned what would happen if we don’t agree with the terms; First Wind can still move ahead on their own, they are trying to work with the County with something that will work with the TIF and CBA. Ms. Mueller stated that she changed numbers from a per turbine to per megawatt to equal $200,000 annually; $3,922 dollars per mega watt for a 51 megawatt project. 15 turbines x 3 megawatts in the CBA. Commissioner Joy stated that his reason for requesting a per megawatt cost is that in 10 years they may put up 5 megawatt towers. Attorney Stumpfel joined the meeting at 1:43 p.m. and Commissioner Joy gave a brief overview of the previous conversation.
Commissioner Joy would like to see the county satisfy the statutory requirement for First Wind by being the conduit to filter wind farm funds to the towns that are included in the permit process as, to him, it makes the county feel more secure. Commissioner Blasi disagreed stating that if the towns are having problems receiving the agreed to amount then they should bring their case to the State or where ever it goes without involving the County.
Supervisor Billings stated that the TIF is now 70/30, if you front loaded it 60/40 for 3 years it would generate around $120,000 toward a fire truck. Commissioner Joy stated that he does not see the commissioners spending the funds until they receive them adding that if you know you have a shortfall it’s better to fulfill it, as opposed to wait 3 years to fulfill it. CFO Roy stated that under the Wind Energy Act, the commissioners can go out and borrow funds from a lending institution or yourselves and the TIF pays them back. Commissioner Brown questioned once again, if part of the discussion should be held in Executive Session to discuss any contract negotiations with First Wind. Attorney Stumpfel stated that the commissioners are entitled to go into Executive Session under the requirement that they find that premature public disclosure would prejudice their bargaining position.
Attorney Stumpfel stated that his biggest issue is security of CBA payments. Commissioner Blasi asked Attorney Stumpfel if he felt all parent, subsidiaries and partners need to be on the agreement as signatories. Attorney Stumpfel suggested that as a possible alternative to tying the two agreements together and thought it was a reasonable backup approach. Commissioner Brown questioned, regarding liability issues and bankruptcies, doesn’t the bankruptcy judge hold a lot of responsibility and say where the liability is going to end up? Attorney Stumpfel responded, yes, but mostly in liquidation cases, most of them are reorganizations.
Commissioner Blasi stated that it sounds like things may have changed in terms of not being attached to the DEP Permit. Attorney Stumpfel stated that he did not think that had changed. He has reviewed the DEP Permit that is on file with this project and this agreement is not mentioned in that section. First Wind has satisfied their requirement with other agreements ie. CBA’s and tangible benefits that exceed the requirement.
Commissioner Blasi read the following: At a minimum, any TIF Enhancement Agreement should allow the County to withhold tax reimbursement payments to the developer if the developer is out of compliance with the CBA. Attorney Stumpfel stated that, that was his recommendation if, as in this case, the CBA is not one of the agreements that is used by First Wind to satisfy the statutory Community Benefit Requirement to obtain its operating permit.
Commissioner Joy questioned what First Wind's problem was with the linkage if this went into bankruptcy. If it was linked to the TIF Agreement it would either change the percentage of how it’s paid…… At this time Attorney Stumpfel recommended entering into Executive Session.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 § 405 6c. to discuss an economic development matter where premature public disclosure would prejudice the county's competitive bargaining position . (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed)
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 2:28 p.m. and made the following motion:
MOTION: to accept the present guarantee that has been given us by Hancock Wind LLC that $100,000 for a fire truck, that will be used by us for a fire truck, funds will be given to Hancock County by Hancock Wind LLC and there will be an attachment to per megawatts on the power production, not just a per turbine. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed)
Mr. Fowler reiterated that time of the essence, there is still a lot to do with DECD and everything else, there is a lot to get done and they need to get this executed before finance. A hearing date needs to be set and public notice needs to be provided 10 days prior to the hearing date. According to the DECD, we have to have the Development Program finalized and on file in the county office when that hearing notice is published. Attorney Stumpfel stated that the CBA is no problem, project commitments, expansion of the TIF District and Tier I Capital Expenditures need to be added to the TIF District. Tier III expenditures can be spent anywhere within the UT. The capital projects need to be included in the Tier 1 capital projects and associated locations. The Public Hearing can occur the same day as approval of the TIF District. Establishment of the Tier I capital expenditures will be worked on with Noreen Norton of Rudman & Winchell at a Commissioners Special Meeting scheduled for August 15th at 8:30 a.m. The financing goal is the end of 2014 and the DECD process is running at approximately 2 months. The September Commissioners Regular Meeting date was changed to September 12th in order to accommodate work on the map and project list.
Director Wellman stated that the Sheriff's Office is still having radio issues in the Dedham / Bald Mountain area. Waltham has adjusted their equipment. A modified antenna would be needed on Caterpillar Hill in order to place our frequencies on the tower. Rental space on the Bald Mountain tower would cost $2,500 per year. Commissioner Joy suggested building our own tower and charging for space. Commissioner Brown stated he had a conversation with the Brooksville Fire Chief, Matt Dow, who is willing to test their antenna/site for SO and RCC usage. He did not mention a cost of $2,500 per month. Director Wellman will check with Chief Dow in order to test the Brooksville tower and Commissioner Brown also suggested looking into looking into space on Mt. Waldo and Mt. Ephraim. Director Wellman stated that Brooksville tower does not cover Brooklin well and that the Mt. Ephraim tower is experiencing interference. Director Wellman stated that $2,500 per month, for the Brooksville tower, was quoted from “the company;” it appeared high to Commissioners Brown and Joy. Director Wellman would like to move forward with the communications plan and will be budgeting $150,000 toward that purpose in the FY15 budget.
Commissioner Blasi excused himself from the meeting at 2:55 p.m.
Office of Financial Affairs:
MOTION: to approve July General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #14-26, #14-27, #14-28, #14-29 and #14-30 in the aggregate of $263,044.89. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve July General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #14-30, #14-31, #14-32 and #14-33 in the aggregate of $638,624.01. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve July Jail and UT fund Payroll Warrants #14-52, #15-01, #15-02 and #15-03 and #15-04 in the aggregate amount of $122,138.20. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve July Jail and UT Fund Expense Warrants #14-55, #14-56, #14-57, #14-58, #14-59, #14-60 and #15-01, #15-02, #15-03 and #15-04 in the aggregate of $117,385.86. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)
Financial reports and update on AR reports were included in the commissioner’s books. The regular budget expenditures represent the 60th percentile for the year. The jail AR report needs resolution, all items listed are court ordered payments, it would cost approximately $35 to $65 to take them to court. The DA has not been asking for these dollars which is available to the county as revenue, they are fees assessed by the judge that former inmates should be paying. Commissioner Joy would like to see anything over 180 days go to court. CFO Roy will begin moving in that direction. The General Fund AR reflects town taxes. MDOT will be on the report until the airport project is completed. Everything else is being worked on and being collected and is current to date. Tax revenue has been received from three towns.
MOTION: to authorize July expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $100,112.88. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3015-20 in the amount of $306 for the purchase of four sample kits and routine analysis for breathing air compressor. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $439.59 associated with HTA Invoice 53027 for AIP 37. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Jeff Henthorn has requested a parking space under the jail for the Court Clerk, due to medical reasons. Commissioner Brown stated that Register Cousins can have a parking space under the jail, thus opening up a handicapped parking space, if needed, by the Court Clerk. As it was unknown if a handicapped space can be utilized, the County Clerk was instructed to seek further information. Commissioner Joy offered his parking space as he does not normally drive to the courthouse.
2015 departmental budget workshops were scheduled for August 19th from 8:30 to noon. The Clerk was instructed to distribute the commissioner’s budget books as soon as completed so that the commissioners have ample time to review departmental requests. Commissioner's Joy and Brown each stated that they liked the idea of turning the budgets back over to department heads for suggested reductions, if needed.
The following commissioner caucuses were scheduled:
Comm. Joy: Friday, September 12, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room.
Comm. Blasi: Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Tremont Municipal Building.
Comm. Brown: Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Stonington Town Office.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under Title 1 §405 6(a) to discuss a personnel matter. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 3:25 p.m. with nothing to report.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)