Commissioner Agendas & Minutes
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
September 12, 2014
Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 12, 2014 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth, Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.
Public Hearing - Hancock Wind TIF District:
Commissioner Joy opened the Public Hearing on the Hancock Wind District. Shana Mueller from Bernstein Shur, Dave Fowler from First Wind and Noreen Norton from Starboard Leadership were in attendance. Commissioner Joy requested that those who wished to speak on the TIF District to please come to the podium and state their name, for the record, and it will be recorded. As no one came forward, Commissioner Joy asked for a motion to close the public hearing.
MOTION: to close the Hancock Wind TIF District public hearing. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Bid Opening: Airport Line Striper.
Florida Transcor, Inc.: $14,944.00 These included handwritten specs and the airport manager was advised to review.
George Gildawie Franklin Paint: $12,953.00 They have also scratched things out. The airport manager was told to review.
PMSI: The bid did not have a total. The airport manager will total the bids and report back.
Bid Opening: Remark Airfield Pavement
HI-Way Safety Systems: $97,900.00
Axtells Inc.: $124,090.00
The bids were given to the airport manager for review and recommendation
Adjustments to the agenda:
MOTION: to add items 3d, a discussion regarding payment to visiting judges. (Joy/Blasi, 3-0, motion passed)
They are currently being paid out of the travel line.
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the August 5, 2014 commissioners' regular meeting and August 15 and 26, 2014 and September 3, 2014 commissioners' special meetings/budget workshop. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy was the only department head that commented on the policy. Commissioner Joy asked if CFO Roy would like to comment. CFO Roy stated that the Telecommuting Policy, in his opinion, was more in design for someone that is set up to work telecommuting on an ongoing basis. His concerns were that, in his opinion, there were things in the policy that may hold the county in a liable situation. He questioned the inclusion of taxes and issues dealing with a home business. CFO Roy stated that he thinks that it puts the county in a very interesting position; for some of the entries but recognized that it has been vented with the attorneys. He stated that, in his opinion, it was not drafted for someone who needed a more sporadic need of telecommuting adding that there are many employees that telecommute on a regular basis because of need that come to work every day too; he questioned how the policy would affect those employees. CFO Roy stated that "we have had an employee that has went out on 45 or 50 days that was telecommuting on a sporadic basis and you couldn't be able to keep a level of commitment from that employee but that employee was able to get a lot of the work done; so I think you are blocking yourself into a really difficult corner with some of the people who have actually done it, are doing it or may need to do it in the future, and again it only affects a few employees, there are really only a few employees that could telecommute and be able to sustain their jobs." CFO Roy stated that he would like to have more of an opportunity to speak to each commissioner one on one and give them specifics on that kind of basis and asked the commissioners to hold off until the October meeting. CFO Roy stated that "I'm the white elephant in the room, I'm the one that has been telecommuting quite a bit and working under a lot of the provisions that are in that policy, which I have no problem with but there are some concerns that I have that you may want to just research a little bit more." CFO Roy stated that he was not trying to circumvent the policy in any way, he just has some concerns with the policy content and having and know some employees that do telecommute, it is a concern; CFO Roy stated that his is trying to be broad and not specific at this point.
Commissioner Joy responded by saying that the telecommuting policy is one that we don't have, 1) we have nothing to go by, 2) he stated that he thinks "our jobs need to be done within this building but probably in a Workers Comp situation or others, we may have to try to accommodate in that situation, and again we have nothing to go from." Commissioner Joy stated that although he didn't know that we have employees that we would want to have telecommute, if it does happen, we have to have some measure that says to the telecommuter that they may have tax implications and other things that you need to be aware of. Commissioner Brown stated that in reading the DRAFT copy of the policy, it still falls back to the decision between the department head and the commissioners as to whether they will allow an individual to telecommunicate. Commissioner Joy agreed. Commissioner Brown agreed that there is a need for a policy as currently there is none adding that the commissioners looked at a couple of different policies prior to making the proposed policy and it was vetted with the attorney, parts of the policy were obtained from another organization that had also been vetted by an attorney. The policy would give the commissioners and a department manager the opportunity to evaluate each case individually therefore he understood CFO Roy's concern but did not feel that the commissioners wanted to build a policy around one individual. When asked for his comment, Commissioner Blasi had none.
MOTION: to approve the final version of the Telecommuting Policy. (Brown/Joy 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy acknowledged that he and CFO Roy have had difficulty regarding him being able to receive correspondence from CFO Roy on his computer; Commissioner Joy stated that that this was the first he has heard of CFO Roy’s input on this, when asked if this information had gone through the County Clerk or if CFO Roy had sent it to the commissioners, CFO Roy responded " no, I have been advised not to formally put anything in writing on this issue due to the fact that I am telecommuting a substantial amount at this point which will be hopefully be ending very soon, but again I've requested in public just if you could hold off for a minute, let me just meet with you Steve or Commissioner Joy for a minute or two and discuss a few things that are in this policy, may bring a few things to light that you may either 1) reconsider or 2) tighten up considering I'm living under a majority of this policy."
Commissioner Joy stated it is a general policy that is not employee specific adding that if CFO Roy had a general comment that he wanted to add now, he should add it, if not he was going to move on. CFO Roy stated "then please move on I just think you're holding the county at a liability that I'm not, think you're aware of and we'll leave it at that."
Erik Stumpfel Esq. was asked to come to the podium. Commissioner Joy stated the public hearing had been conducted and closed. Attorney Stumpfel stated the action before them was to approve the designation of the TIF District, the development program, the credit enhancement agreement and by a separate vote, to approve the Community Benefit Agreement that have all been discussed at length at prior county commissioner meetings. A draft resolution was given to the Commissioners that would approve the TIF district, the development program and the credit enhancement agreement. The appropriate form of the motion would be to approve the resolution with regard to the Hancock Wind TIF District designation. Commissioner Joy questioned if he needed to read the resolution out loud. Mr. Stumpfel said that he did not, but it would be informative to those in the room and may have an interest in this issue. Commissioner Joy questioned if a copy could be given to those in the room? Attorney Stumpfel was in agreement. The length of the resolution is due to the specific findings that must be made under statute in order to approve a TIF District. The resolution incorporates those findings. The findings concern the public purpose for with the district is being created and the geographic limitations that the district itself does not exceed 2% of the unorganized territory area and that all TIF districts do not exceed 5% along with other statute requirements.
Commissioner Blasi questioned articles on the agenda as the articles are listed A, B, and C and felt they were to be deliberated separately rather than in one resolution. Attorney Stumpfel stated that the resolution would approve the TIF District, development program and credit enhancement agreement which are the three items listed in 2A and then a separate resolution, which will be circulated, to approve the community benefit agreement, which is item 2B. If there is any discussion about the resolution, they can be addressed separately. If the TIF district is approved, the statute requires that the development program is also approved for the district and would be part of the same resolution.
The basic credit enhancement allocation of funds is 70% to the company and 30% to the county for a 20 year period along with a community benefit agreement to be approved by a separate motion that returns substantial funds to the county each year in a fixed dollar amount.
MOTION: to approve the TIF District, development program and credit enhancement agreement in accordance with the attached resolution. (Joy/Brown 2-1, vote passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi read the following questions regarding the TIF development program:
- Who is buying or selling which properties on Rt. 179 under this development program?
- Why is that development not prorated, over 30 years as are the others?
- Why does the county reserve its right to issue bonds in the future under Sect. IV. B.?
- Hancock County does not have the resources to effectively cope with the ramifications of these Development Programs.
Commissioner Blasi read the following questions regarding the Credit Enhancement Agreement:
- Why does First Wind need subsidiaries?
- First Wind's subsidiaries and partners are not all signatories on the agreement.
3. Hancock County should be able to withhold payment to the developer if the developer is not in compliance with the Community Benefits Agreement (per Eric Stumpfel's recommendation as described on page 10 of the August 5, 2014 minutes).
4. Hancock County should not be required to Perfect the Developer's Interest per Sec.4.2.
Cynthia Post, a private citizen who attended the meeting, came to the podium to express her concern to see if the DEP had an opportunity to survey the development, to see if there were any wetlands and if they approved of this development. Commissioner Joy stated that in the permit for the project, DEP had approval over it. Commissioner Joy believes they had approved it and at that level in their application, there was review of it. Ms. Post asked if there was evidence of this and if it was written somewhere. Commissioner Joy stated that it was in the permit to build this. Ms. Post asked if a name was associated with it. Commissioner Joy stated yes.
Copies of the Community Benefit agreement were dispersed to those in attendance that requested it. Attorney Stumpfel stated that under the Maine Wind Energy Act, any developer seeking to obtain land use permits for a grid scale, commercial wind energy development is required to provide evidence of local community benefits equal to at least $4,000 per turbine of the proposed development for 20 years. In this case, First Wind, through Hancock Wind LLC, in its permit application to the DEP, has satisfied this requirement through community benefit agreements with the towns of Osborne, Waltham, and Eastbrook with the total between the three being $5,333 per turbine. This CBA is in addition to the agreements by which First Wind has satisfied its statutory obligation which means that legally they are not obligated to enter into an agreement with Hancock County and it is not part of the project permit. Commissioner Blasi has expressed concern with the security of the performance of the agreement.
This agreement provides for 20 years of payments by First Wind to Hancock County starting in the year that project achieves commercial operation which is when they are supplying power to a customer over the grid equal to $3,703 per megawatt of base plate rated capacity of the project. This is a 54 megawatt project as proposed. The turbines are three megawatts each which is approximately $12,000 per turbine over 20 years. The payment stream of this agreement is close to three times the payment stream that would be required by state law if this agreement was offered to satisfy the community benefit agreement under state law. In addition, First wind has agreed to pay additional $50,000 for the first two years to fund the purchase of a fire truck. The use of this money is very flexible. The statute allows the County Commissioners to use the funds for any county public purpose. Some of the items listed in the agreement are the same items listed in the statute such as property tax reduction, economic development projects, land and natural resource conservation, tourist and promotion or reduction of energy costs. This money can be used at the discretion of the commissioners as part of their budget process and can be used throughout the county. It is not limited to the unorganized territories.
The agreement is being executed by Hancock Wind LLC that is the standard loan entity that is doing the project and a subsidiary of First Wind. The company’s financing model is to finance each project separately as there are separate investor groups that back each project which may or may not be the same from project to project. The setup is standalone projects under the company’s umbrella and the entity signing the agreement is the entity that will own and operate the project, Hancock Wind LLC. This is also the entity that will receive income from the project as the project moves into production.
MOTION: to approve the Community Benefit Agreement between Hancock County and Hancock Wind LLC in accordance with the attached resolution. (Joy/Brown 2-1, vote passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi read the following statement regarding the Community Benefits Agreement:
- The agreement is not linked to the Department of Environmental Protection site development location permit (per Eric Stumpfel's cautionary statement on Page 8 of the August 5, 2014 minutes that the DEP permit, under bankruptcy, is not as much security as he thinks it is.)
- The Weigang Request of July 2013 remains unresolved.
Commissioner Joy responded to Commissioner Blasi’s comments stating that Hancock Wind LLC is under no obligation to pay Hancock County any Community Benefit Funds. They have agreed to and the County of Hancock has negotiated with them but they have already fulfilled their obligation with the three communities mentioned earlier. Commissioner Brown stated that money received in the past was used very wisely. Some of the projects that benefitted from the funds were: a tax exemption to veterans’ and veterans’ widows, the Town of Stonington to improve internet, The City of Ellsworth Knowlton Park, heating assistance programs and non-profit organizations. First wind has always been up front in agreements and negotiations. They agreed to put up a 150 ft. communication tower on Bull Hill for emergency communications in Hancock County and to provide a building to set the equipment in as well as a generator. It has enhanced emergency communications in the northern part of the county and the unorganized territories. Orthoimagery was paid out of this fund as well.
Cynthia Post, a private citizen in attendance, addressed Commissioner Blasi’s comment that the permit was not connected with the DEP approval which is a concern for her. She also stated the three towns mentioned that will receive money from the wind farm, that the unorganized territories was not included in that. Commissioner Joy replied to her comment stating that the first portion discussed was the TIF district. The TIF district has approximately $115,000-$120,000 per year that would come to the county to be spent in the unorganized territory. The Community Benefit Agreement, being discussed, entails approximately $200,000 that would come to the county to be spent anywhere in Hancock County for the benefit of the citizens of Hancock County. Commissioner Joy stated that the first project, at Bull Hill, Hancock County was in the DEP permit and the approval. We are not under the current project, but they allowed us to negotiate with them and they agreed to similar agreement that we had with the Bull Hill project but because they had met their obligation, we were not included in the permit.
Ms. Post questioned if the DEP has approved of the development, how can we expect the DEP to approve another site based on approval of the first? Commissioner Joy stated that the DEP approved of the first site (Bull Hill) and they were part of the permit process and a part of the approval site. They have also been involved with the 2nd site, the Hancock Wind site, in the permit process, the DEP has given their approval. Ms. Post stated that he was not specifically clarifying that the DEP had observed and surveyed the specific site and given approval for that. Commissioner Joy stated that for them to get their permit, it had to be approved by the DEP. Erik Stumpfel stated that the DEP approves all grid scale wind developments in Maine. They issue the development permits. In order to get a permit, the project has to show that it complies with the statutory requirements and the DEP rules. DEP has approved development permits and land use permits for both the Bull Hill project and the Hancock Wind project. The statutes used are the Maine Site Location of Development Act and the Maine Wind Energy Act. Part of the approval process, under the Maine Wind Energy Act, has nothing to do with environmental standards but has to do with the benefit of the project to local communities. One of the lengthier sections of a DEP permit application is where the company shows how the project will benefit the local community financially. On the Bull Hill project, there was a prior community benefit agreement between First Wind and Hancock County. First Wind cited this on the application as part of the community benefit that satisfied the statutory requirement on that project. This project has been different as First Wind went to DEP and got the project permitted before negotiating a benefit agreement with Hancock County. The agreement cited that satisfied the community benefit requirement is the agreement with the towns as cited earlier. This agreement is not cited in community benefit section of the DEP permit application. This agreement is not part of the DEP permit. That is not saying that the DEP did not review the application. They reviewed it under statutory standards and under their own rules which includes environmental issues, noise, birds, bats, wetlands and other items that a developer must satisfy to obtain a permit. The only difference in satisfying the separate financial community benefit requirement under the Wind Energy Act, this agreement was not part of the permit application because it had not been negotiated yet.
Jane Crosen from Penobscot came up to the podium and stated her concerns on the wind projects becoming larger and encroaching closer to Route 9 and may be visible from the Whale’s Back. She asks when is enough, enough. She feels they take away from the quality of life and request that it not grow any bigger.
Regarding the Commissioner’s appointment to the RCC Advisory Committee, Commissioner Brown stated that as most of the towns from District II participate in the RCC, the elected official has always come from that district. Commissioner Blasi stated that was a preference, not a requirement. Commissioner Joy agreed that he would like to see the person replaced with someone from District II and added that the next time the appointment is open, nominations could come from any district. Commissioner Brown requested that the clerk send a letter of appreciation to Darryl Fowler from the commissioners and that the RCC Director and Sheriff can sign it.
Office of Financial Affairs:
MOTION: to approve August General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #14-31, #14-32, #14-33 and #14-34 in the aggregate of $199,617.32. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve August General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #14-34, #14-35, #14-36 and #14-37 in the aggregate of $903,719.21. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed, Blasi voted nay for #37) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that he did not approve of Warrant #14-37 due to the inclusion of payment from account G1-2005-00 for the wind project adding that he already stated that he will not sign any warrants that included any TIF related account until the investigation is completed. When asked "what investigation" by Commissioner Brown and CFO Roy, Commissioner Blasi responded "State Auditors investigation of the TIF and Development Funds." Commissioner Brown stated "wait a minute, I didn't know there was any investigation going on." Commissioner Blasi was asked by Commissioner Brown if he could "enlighten us on that." Commissioner Blasi stated that "you had the State Auditors in front of you asking questions," to which Commissioner Brown responded "I didn't hear there was an investigation." Commissioner Joy stated that they were performing their routine audit of the UT funds and of the TIF funds. CFO Roy stated that "these are not TIF funds." Commissioner Brown stated again that he didn't know it was an investigation and that "investigation insinuates something wrong doing has been done." CFO Roy asked the commissioners if they were aware if his office was under investigation for anything at this time. Commissioner Brown responded "not that I know of." Commissioner Joy responded "an audit was done." CFO Roy agreed that an audit was done to which Commissioner Blasi stated "so we don't have the results of an audit." Commissioner Joy stated, "but I think, it's the terminology, it's an audit, it is not an investigation, that also includes, I think, criminal aspects and I think this was just an audit done of the use of the TIF funds for Hancock County.
Commissioner Blasi stated that when he asked for a General Ledger Summary Report of TIF Fund 07 and he got all zero's, no accounts listed, "I question that." CFO Roy stated that you have to have activity in a TIF Fund to actually have something show up on the Trial Balance, if they did a General Trial Balance, only Fund 5 and Fund 11 has any activity; there is no activity in the TIF Fund because 1) you have not received any TIF Funds, and 2) you have not spent any TIF money out of this TIF District funds this fiscal year; when you run a trial balance on nothing, you get nothing; it will show something once TIF monies are received from the State and then it will also show the expense going out, until that happens you will get zero. CFO Roy stated that what Commissioner Blasi is talking about is not TIF funds, as the commissioners are aware, Hancock County has an agreement with First Wind to recoup any expenses that are dealing with the Community Benefit Agreement, TIF and Credit Enhancement Agreement costs, and they are reimbursing our attorneys fees and any other costs. Those are put into a liability account and not put onto an expense account in the TIF because we are not utilizing TIF funds to pay those expenses, those are coming directly out of a contractual agreement, that's why it sits in a liability account just like AFLAC does, just like union dues do and that is what Commissioner Blasi is referring to. When asked by Commissioner Joy if he was all set, Commissioner Blasi responded "I'm all set."
MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #15-05, #15-06, #15-07 and #15-08 in the aggregate of $89,602.84. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Expense Warrants #15-05, #15-06, #15-07 and #15-08 in the aggregate of $95,519.54. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Financial reports and update on AR: During the month of October, CFO Roy would like to voice his concerns regarding the General Fund stating that at this time it's not necessary to go into it at this point. Commissioner Blasi stated that he wanted to raise some concerns regarding the following expenses: The DA’s Copier is overdrawn, he felt we cannot afford any more Training in the commissioner’s office, Yards, Painting, Heat and Air Conditioning in the Maintenance are high. CFO Roy stated that the DA’s office is one of the highest users of copiers, it can be budgeted for but is difficult to control. Commissioner Joy questioned if Commissioner Blasi was going to ask to curtail copies, his response was no he was just putting it out there. Commissioner Joy stated we run a business here, they have an obligation to make copies, that is why the software that will allow them to share is still included in the proposed FY15 budget which will cut down on copy use. Commissioner Brown stated that managers know their budget and the commissioners should not be micro-managing their budgets. He questioned why we aren’t allowing department heads to manage their budgets; we need to stop micro-managing their budgets. Commissioner Joy stated that items that are not overspent should not be addressed. Regarding Yards, CFO Roy stated that typically we don’t get snow in November and December. Expenditures should currently be at approximately 68%. Heating & Air Conditioning is not overdrawn, there is a higher usage of this account in the summer than any other time of the year. Commissioner Blasi concerns continued: Registry of Deeds Supplies and Postage; CFO Roy stated that the Registry of Deeds pays for Postage ahead of time; Commissioner Joy stated that if they are spending more in postage, they are bringing in more money, Sheriff’s Department: Dues and Subscriptions; Maintenance & Repairs, Computer Repairs is payment to the IT Technician for work performed. Communications Dept 14, Cell Phones we are projected to be at $23,000 next year; CFO Roy stated that we have recently gone through a consolidation of all plans and will probably be over expended in this account by approximately one month in FY14. Reserves Dept 30. Dept 40- Dues and Subscriptions.
Regarding AR: anything under the Board of Assessors are taxes due. We are still working on the BHB&T and Attorney VanHorn; MDOT only pays at the end of the project. MDI Yacht is still being looked into. CFO Roy is still waiting on a determination from the commissioners on the Jail AR. Court Ordered fees are still on the report and have not yet been pursued. FAA is still open because the AIP has not been closed. Town of Tremont is higher/overdue more than any other contract, this a contractual obligation to the sheriff’s department. Most towns pay their tax assessment in September/October.
MOTION: to approve August expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $94,090.04 (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: This report reflected $408.15 in prior year expenditures. $688,687.37 is the year-to-date health insurance expense total. CFO Roy stated that we are tracking about the same as we have for the last 3 years.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3015-2 in the amount of $119.84, for the purchase of a filter kit for Bauer final separator on the HCFA breathing air compressor. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 in the amount of $555.45 for plumbing for a new roof drain. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi questioned why this was not paid from another account, CFO Roy stated that it was part of the roof project that was done under the Capital Expenditures.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 in the amount of $600 regarding the roof drain piping for the District Court roof project. (Brown/Blasi 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown questioned the meaning of concrete coring. This entailed drilling through the concrete ceiling for the drain.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-11 in the amount of $24,502.28 regarding the District Court roof replacement. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: this is the next to the last payment. 5% remains.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-11 in the amount of $12,244.72 regarding the District Court roof replacement joint pay requisition to GR Roofing and Beacon Sales. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that it was convenient to have the invoice on the back side of the Capital request. This is the last payment for the District Court Roof. The manufacturer of the roof approved the warranty. FD Walls will look for the certificate downstairs.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 in the amount of $1,600 regarding the waterline and stairs project. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown questioned if the steps have been fixed. There is a water issue on the steps which does not allow runoff. In floor heating is completed at 75%. Commissioner Brown would like to see the water shed off as soon as possible. Heating is controlled for temperature and humidity that would engage automatically. It will not be heated 24/7. The sensor would respond to atmospheric conditions.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $1,848.98 regarding AIP 37- HTA invoice #53299. (Joy/Brown 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown questioned if this reflected any extra billing. This has nothing to do with the lost days. This was approved previously to cover the Value Engineering; this is just the Local Share. Commissioner Brown questioned if it was appropriate to pay the bill without resolving the issue. Manager Madeira stated that we are obligated to pay the bill.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 AIP 37, in the amount of $940.88 regarding Architectural Casework, Inc., invoice #14-02-30 for Design work associated with the new airport millwork.. (Joy/Brown 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: this is for the millwork design for the ticket counter, rental car counters and such. It was not originally part of the scope.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 AIP 37, in the amount of $9,941.04 to Nickerson & O'Day for AIP 37 for Requisition #11 for work completed through July 31, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0 motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $4,401 regarding AIP 37, Requisition 1-B. (Brown/Blasi 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: this is the first ineligible requisition that has been presented. It is the ineligible share. Commissioner Brown questioned what the charge was for. It was for prorated leach field repairs.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $10,044.40 regarding AIP37, Requisition 12-A Local Share. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $2,251.65 regarding AIP 37, Invoice #53374 Local Share. (Joy/Brown 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: this is the Local Share for project administration to Hoyle Tanner. Commissioner Brown was hesitant to pay for items that were for pending issues. Commissioner Joy stated that they are not paying anything that hasn’t already been approved.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 in the amount of $2,178.67 for hot water heater and fuel supply. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: this was part of the Andrew Peters heating project.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3015-20 in the amount of $4.17 for the purchase of hose for the SCBA compressor. (Brown/Blasi 3-0 motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G11-3125-00 in the amount of $19,523 for the purchase of a jail transport vehicle. (Brown/Blasi 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: the old van will be put out to bid. Commissioner Blasi questioned the expenditure amount on the bill compared to the TRIO entry. A transposition occurred and will be corrected.
CFO Roy stated that a $181,500 capital request was submitted and put on hold this week regarding the Nicatous Road Project. In the agreement signed by the County Commissioners on July 1st, the county commissioners agreed that the last 1/3rd payment would be paid after October 1st and before October 30th but the balance would be paid for prior to, this is the actual first 2/3rds payment of $181,500; the funds are available in a Capital Road Reserve Account in the amount of $206,000. The contractor is willing to wait to the end of October to make the final payment. CFO Roy warned that this will drawdown the UT account, he was concerned that the State check would be delayed. There is enough funds in the Roads Capital account at this time to make the payment. Commissioner Joy stated that he didn’t want to spend money we didn't have, "if we have it, it was fine with me."
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G05-3200-00 in the amount of $181,500 regarding the contractual payment for the Nicatous Road Project, first 2/3 of bid. (Brown/Joy 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that it seemed to be what was in the agreement.
CFO Roy suggested paying the wage of the traveling judge out of a newly created contractual line and his/her travel under the travel line. Commissioner Joy preferred to pay the wage out of the payroll account and the travel out of travel. CFO Roy stated that this would draw a red flag under Workers Compensation Rules and Regulations. It may require the county to pay for Workers Compensation as an employee. Commissioner Joy stated that Workers Compensation is based on payroll, the job itself and payroll. CFO Roy stated that we are entitled to pay Workers Comp for contractual obligations, they will be 1099’d. CFO Roy was hoping for a contractual agreement with the visiting judge thus removing the judge from payroll. Commissioner Brown stated that he felt the individual was working as a sub contractor. Commissioner Joy stated that putting it in the travel line does not fulfill our obligation. It may affect Workers Compensation; we need an answer for that. CFO Roy requested to put the pay in a contractual services line. Commissioner Blasi wanted to see a contract drawn up. Commissioner Joy stated that this cannot be ignored.
Regarding the Court Legal account, CFO Roy stated that back in 2011 the county commissioners agreed with the Budget Advisory Committee to put money aside, the difference between revenues and expenses of each year, they put it into a Capital Reserve Account, for the last three years we have done that to the total aggregate of $15,000 that is sitting in that account. There was an understanding that we may need to get into it from time to time to deal with Witness Fees for the Court because the State is no longer paying Court Fees. Commissioner Brown stated that the commissioners could probably transfer some of the money to another account. CFO Roy suggested considering looking at the Court budget Department 1, determine how much has been expended during the past couple of years and use Reserve Accounts to offset that budget. Commissioner Brown clarified that he thought some of the money could be kept, but some could be transferred to Undesignated Funds. CFO Roy stated that the budget has been under expended for 3 years therefore the Court Legal account has been building.
MOTION: to award the Airport Line Striper bid to Franklin Paint in the amount of $12,935. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Franklin Paint is out of Massachusetts. Currently the airport purchases paint is purchased from them. There no labor involved in this purchase, it is for equipment only.
Manager Madeira stated that in the February meeting, the commissioners voted to approve exterior sun control devices at a Local Share cost of $2,320.09. After going through the summer with the windows installed, to include the interior shading, Manager Madeira recommended not making the purchase. Commissioner Brown stated that in all his travels, he has never stood at a window in an airport to look out the windows at the view. Manager Madeira stated that it looks like the 3rd Change Order is going to be a credit. The building has been designed to install exterior sun control devices.
MOTION: to eliminate the exterior sun control devices from the terminal building. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Regarding Seaplane Ramp enhancement update; Manager Madeira is working on an updated MOU as the original was not in accordance with our federal obligation. The Town of Trenton is working with the State to design a float system that meets standards and does not want to move further without a signed MOU.
MOTION: to approve the request to hire Daniel Larry of Ellsworth as a part-time, on call, as needed, Corrections Officer at the rate of $12 per hour, effective September 13, 2014. This position averages 29 hours per week with no benefits. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to accept the resignation of CO James Gallacher, effective September 22, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: An exit interview will be conducted by the Jail Administrator.
UT Supervisor Millard Billings stated distributed information regarding State Highways, State Aid Roads and County Roads and an e-mail from Raymond Silsby regarding county boundaries.
Commissioner Blasi requested clarification regarding the “Town of Trenton Orthoimagery being complete.” Supervisor Billings stated that you can go to a website and look at it. It was not known if it could be downloaded.
Commissioner Blasi read UT agenda item b aloud: the option to use funds from the road maintenance budget to cover cost of locating and marking the point where the county line crosses a County Road. The information distributed by Supervisor Billings noted which roads/routes currently have markers and which did not. Nicatous Road is marked at the entrance from Penobscot County and ends at an outlet. The Back Road is entirely in T28 and does not need to be marked. The marker is missing from the Martin’s Ridge Road, but the line is at the edge of the blueberry field. The Village Road bridge in T7 at Whitten Parritt Stream marks the county line. Three roads need to be marked and two need to be established. Supervisor Billings questioned if this is a road issue or an E-9-1-1 issue, for payment. Three local surveyors have been contacted, responses have been received from two, one listed $2,500 a year until the project is completed. The other was between $7,500 -$10,000. Penobscot County has not perambulated their lines and has no intentions of doing so. Commissioner Brown questioned why we would do this. Commissioner Blasi stated that it already cost us $2,400 to update drainage. Supervisor Billings clarified that 10-15 ft of gravel is going into Steuben. This made Commissioner Blasi state he would like to know therefore only pay for the County portion.
Supervisor Billings stated that this was more an E-9-1-1 issue in order to know where to send emergency response. Commissioner Joy stated that cost of a line may be $10,000 but to do the point could be done with GPS. Commissioner Joy stated that he is on the other side of this as with Real Estate he wants to know what is mine and what is yours. He is open to this in taxation in the UT under either road maintenance or E-9-1-1. The State does their roads and we may do ours. Commissioner Brown stated that by statue the commissioners can lay out points on a county road. If another commissioner does not agree with the town line, what would they do? Commissioner Joy stated that a line agreement was the easiest way to do this. The only abutter is located within the Town of Steuben. Supervisor Billings questioned if Washington County would be willing to split the cost adding that Steuben would not care. Supervisor Billings suggested installing signs denoting “approximate” rather than measuring to a perfect point. Land owners holding and driving stakes under a line agreement is the easiest way to solve the issue. Surveying a large amount of land would cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. Bidding out for surveying during the winter was suggested. Commissioner Brown suggested checking with the abutting land owners in Steuben prior to moving forward. Commissioner Joy was interested in exploring this on the Bogus Meadow Road; Commissioner Blasi agreed. CFO Roy suggested dividing up the E-9-1-1 account to create a reserve account for this purpose. Commissioner Joy preferred to fund it through a Road account. Commissioners Blasi and Joy were interested. Commissioner Blasi stated that there are three road accounts in the UT budget: 16-60-200, 16-60-0250 and 60-70-1011. Supervisor Billings requested guidance due to currently working on his budget. Commissioner Brown thought it would cost less than $2,500 and it could be taken out of a reserve account. Commissioner Joy preferred utilizing a Road account. Commissioner Blasi agreed with Road Reserves.
Airport - continued:
MOTION: to award the Airfield Pavement Remarking bid to Hi-Way Safety Systems in the amount of $97,900. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the Local Share is probably 2.5%, the total will have to be “floated” by the county and will be submitted in an AIP project in FY15. In 2014 the airport qualified for 95% funding, this is due to census data. The demographics support a higher subsidy rate; this will likely occur in FY15. Water blasting is required for all remarking per a recent Advisory Circular. In the case of BHB, all we need is prep, not removal. The purpose of prep is to make the paint bond better. The associated account number will be issued once the FAA approves the purchase. This does not have an AIP number until the grant is applied for. The local share would be paid from account E40-50-620.
COMMISSIONERS BUDGET WORKSHOP:
CFO Roy stated that the commissioners had previously budgeted Part-time at $16,401 for a 20 hour employee. FICA, Retirement and WC would change accordingly. The OFA is currently over its FY14 budget by 11.88%. Commissioner Joy questioned the $5,000 PILT. (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) CFO Roy anticipates receiving approximately $8,000 in PILT funds for FY15. Commissioners Joy and Blasi agreed that account 05-103 should be increased to $13,000. Commissioner Joy requested clarification of the funds received in account 05-103. This includes a 20 hour part-time employee
Proposed Revenues: $51,500
Proposed Expenditures: $177,215
$18,813 or 11.88%
SO/EMA Employee Discussion:
Commissioner Joy stated that he wanted to discuss the EMA and Sheriff’s Department budgets. Regarding the position of Major, Commissioner Joy was questioning who was going to get the position (EMA or the SO) and who was going to pay for it. Commissioner Joy stated that he did not mind if the SO had a Major but he would like to see the employee also work in EMA. Director Sankey stated that he has not been a party to any conversations regarding the sharing of an employee. Director Sankey stated that he was amenable to a sharing arraignment with defined parameters. Commissioner Joy stated that school education/Active Shooter could fall under the EMA budget but the work benefits both EMA and the Sheriff Office. The title of Major has been changed to Director of Standards and Compliance. Lt. Patrick Kane stated that the SO needed the employee for 40 hours but collectively they will make whatever they have work. Commissioner Blasi questioned the sharing of hours and responsibility concerns regarding availability. Feasibility of coverage during emergencies was a concern of Commissioner Blasi. Commissioner Joy stated that this is an everyday obligation of law enforcement and Emergency Management. The EMA Reimbursement is for actual hours worked. Commissioner Brown stated that there is redundancy in both departments re: School Education, etcetera. Commissioner Brown questioned if the Standards & Compliance Officer worked for the Sheriff's Department, could EMA be reimbursed when the use the employee, because the employee gets paid by the hour. Director Sankey will check on this. EMA can budget for a Law Enforcement Planner or an EMA Planner through different funding streams. The Law Enforcement Planner would be 100% reimbursable through the Homeland Security Grant, thus creating the same problem as in the past. Service of the Director of Standards and Compliance can be rendered to EMA and may be billable and reimbursed. Lt. Kane suggested exploring what can and cannot be done prior to making any decisions. Commissioner Joy stated that, to him, it’s just about the funding; if part works for EMA and is 100% or 50% reimbursable it would satisfy what he is looking for. CFO Roy stated that time worked in EMA is a direct cost component and is directly reimbursable at 50%; if the employee is going to spend 20 hours a week in EMA over a time period, but we don't have documented billable hours, that is called an indirect cost; we do not have an indirect cost formula associated with EMPG that has been approved by Homeland Security and the State of Maine Emergency Management which is where these funds come from. A time structure in hours would be much cleaner. Commissioner Blasi restated his concern that the Deputy EMA Director may not be available during an emergency.
Lt. Patrick Kane presented the revised Sheriff's Office, Department 10 budget line by line; highlights included reductions in account 01-111 Director of Standards & Compliance to $48,000, FICA $57,120, Retirement $52,926, Workers Compensation $21,257. Total Employee Costs $131,303. Personnel Services Cost $746,686. The following accounts were reduced: 07-600 to $4,000, 10-100 to $7,000, 10-120 to $1,000, 10-200 to $55,000, 70-100 to $5,000 (vests can be purchased through a capital account in 2014), 70-200 to $10,000, 70-305 to $30,000 (one vehicle from the town contract account and one from a capital account) and 70-305 to $2,000.
Proposed Revenues: $10,500
Proposed Expenditures: $1,149,438
8.22% above FY14 or $87,278
The following accounts were reduced: Part-time to zero. FICA to $6,551, Workers Compensation to $2,438. Commissioner Joy stated that revenue seems to be going down but there is always a backlog and there are always papers to be served; he stated that, in his opinion, Civil Process should be self sustaining.
CFO Roy recommended increasing Revenues to $115,000 in anticipation of changing processes within the department in early 2015. Commissioners Joy and Brown agreed with the suggestion. Commissioner Brown stated that he did not feel revenues would increase and suggested reducing expenses. Gasoline could be reduced to $9,000 per a suggestion by CFO Roy. Commissioner Joy agreed.
Proposed Revenues: $115,000
Proposed Expenditures: $121,703
3.36% or $3,955.
Drug Task Force:
An error was made in last year’s salary based on what pay raises were going to be from the State. 100% of the Supervisors wage is reimbursed by the State, the difference between the county wage and the state wage is reimbursed for the 2nd officer. Account 01-136 is $115,547. The total for Personnel Services is $118,547. Employee Costs total $41,109.
Proposed Revenues: $
Proposed Expenditures: $$223,789
-10.16% or $25,309
Sheriff’s Department - continued
Commissioner Brown questioned the wages for the Sheriff and Chief Deputy in Department 10. Commissioner Joy stated that reducing the Sheriff and Chief Deputy wage is “in his sights” for the 1.5%. Commissioner Brown stated that with an 8.2% increase, the commissioners will have to go back in and “start picking some more.”
Commissioner Joy stated that the commissioners have been very conservative over the past few years and that with the LD1 Cap, at some point it’s going to hit you, with wage increases at 1.5% the commissioners will still look for reductions from department heads.
Commissioner Brown stated that he was “all set” with the DA’s budget; that he would fund Justice Web out of a capital account. Commissioner Joy stated that it was funded in the budget request but questioned what Washington County was going to do. Commissioner Joy stated that the policy is full-time is 40 hours per week, he did not understand why the DA Detective was a 35 hour employee. CFO Roy stated that Detective McFarland is doing a lot of work for the SO and is putting in more than 35 hours per week. Commissioner Joy preferred to pay him the same money and move him to 40 hours, this is a housekeeping issue. CFO Roy stated that Copier Maintenance is difficult to predict. Justice Web should alleviate this problem.
Registry of Deeds:
Transfer Tax revenues should be over in FY14, Fees may be close. Register Curtis stated that Surcharge Fee revenue was budgeted to cover the cost of part-time employees thus making Part-time revenue neutral. Personnel Services total $180,074, Employee Cost total $27,693. Microfilming was reduced to $41,000. Contractual Services total $49,250
Proposed Revenues: $710,000
Proposed Expenditures: $268,667
$13,250 or 5.19%
Register Curtis stated that the cost of a new copier for the Registry of Deeds is approximately $7,000 which can be paid from the Equipment account which has a balance of $8,691. CFO Roy stated that putting the used copier from the Registry of Deeds into the Registry of Probate is overkill. Register Curtis stated that because we do not work in the Registry of Probate it is hard for “us” to judge what they use or what they need. CFO Roy stated that the Registry of Probate copier needs to be replaced.
Emergency Management Agency:
Director Sankey stated that, regarding EMPG reimbursement funds, they cannot be run through the Sheriff’s Department. EMPG will only reimburse 50% of the 50%, so if it is 20 hours in EMA and 20 hours in the SO, only 10 hours would be reimbursed. CFO Roy stated that in OMB 86 this is a direct reimbursement for EMPG. Director Sankey stated that the Scope of Work has been presented in the EMA monthly report. Regarding the EMA Deputy, Director Sankey stated that ultimately it is for the commissioners to decide; he is bound to whatever the commissioners decide. Director Sankey stated that he cannot continue to perform at the 3.5 person level with 1.5 person staffing and questioned at what point he should shift his focus and change his work plan. Director Sankey preferred the services of a full-time deputy but “something is better than nothing.” Commissioner Joy stated that if EMA could get 10 hours per week for a deputy that would cover the directors vacation, does it help, would it work, is it worth it? Director Sankey stated that any help would be utilized and appreciated. CFO Roy suggested reducing account 01-100 to $12,000 this would be reimbursed by $6,000.
Director Sankey suggested going back to past practice utilizing Homeland Security Grant funds or the position adding that there are two different grant programs, EMPG is the 50% reimbursement program; it is all inclusive of funds spent, the Homeland Security Grant is a 2 year federal grant cycle which can be used to pay the deputy planner. Commissioner Joy questioned if the EMA Director would utilize the Homeland Security funds to fund 10 hours per week. Clipboard money is EMPG money has been banked in the amount of $67,273. Commissioner Joy questioned if the Deputy could be funded at zero and if grant funds be used to fund 10 hours per week. Director Sankey stated that $10.05 is generated for every signature on the clipboard; his goal is to become self sufficient personnel wise over the next few years by utilizing clipboard funds adding, the more people, the more meetings, the more revenues. These funds represent the “other 50%.” so we are reimbursed at 50% and this is considered volunteer time that is being compensated generated in the county for the county; what the county wants to use that money for, as far as EMA, doesn't matter. CFO Roy stated, "so in reality, if you had a $40,000 position, $20,000 of that is going to come back through EMPG normal operations, you could take another $20,000 out of the in-kind as an offset revenue to his budget, so that $40,000 employee would be half paid by EMPG hard money and the other $20,000 would be paid by soft match money." At the end of the day, the employee would cost zero. Utilization of reserve funds would be shown in the budget. Director Sankey was planning to come before the commissioners when there was $200,000 in the account.
Commissioner Joy suggested funding the position from the reserve account and next year he will ask to see the revenue. The quarterly reimbursement for the soft match cannot exceed 50% of the quarterly reimbursement. Commissioner Joy was okay with the $40,000, putting $20,000+ in revenue and showing revenue next year to support the position. If the Director can do this, Commissioner Joy would be inclined to do it again. Director Sankey stated that he is not comfortable with funding the position in this way. Commissioner Joy encouraged Director Sankey to move forward with the proposal and to include the Wages, Health Care, FICA, Retirement and Workers Compensation. $40,000 would remain in the budget, and $20,000 would be shown in Revenues. Commissioner Brown questioned the actual work that Director Sankey wanted to get from the individual. Commissioner Joy clarified that his discussion was based on not sharing with the Sheriff's Department. Commissioner Brown stated “that’s risky” Director Sankey reiterated his discomfort with moving forward and preferred to wait until next year so that he would have his “safety net.” This would also be budgeted in the grant application that he is submitting on Monday. The previous EMA Director made use of a person in the Sheriff's Office to provide School Training but was not paid for that. Director Sankey utilizes this service as well as it is in both the EMA and SO interest to utilize this person’s skills. Commissioner Brown stated that the new employee will be punching a clock although the position is exempt. Commissioner Joy stated that the position would be a full-time deputy in EMA and was not be shared with the SO due to finding a funding stream that does not affect taxation. This would make the budget support a 2.5 position department. Personnel Services not totaled $103,481. Beyond the half that is budgeted the rest will be paid out of the in-kind account. Travel should be increased to $3,500. EMA (EMPG) Revenues (02-100) increased to $93,273, account 02-315 was increased to $5,200 and $30,000 of in-kind revenue will be shown. A comprehensive explanation should be prepared for the Budget Advisory Committee.
Proposed Revenues: $128,437
Proposed Expenditures: $186,474
48.7% or $61,069
CFO Roy suggested reducing Courts down to $5,195 in Witness Fees and then transferring $5,195 from Court Legal to the revenue line making the Courts revenue neutral. The commissioners were in favor if the suggestion.
Proposed Revenues: $5,195
Proposed Expenditures: $5,195
-$9,235 or -64.00%
District Attorney continued:
CFO Roy was concerned that there were no revenues being shown for Discovery. Commissioner Brown was not interested in funding the entire cost of Justice Web, when it could be partially funded from a capital account. Commissioner Blasi agreed. CFO Roy suggested putting $2,000 in a capital reserve account for the future purchase of Justice Web. Commissioner Joy suggested fronting the cost from the technology reserve and having the DA’s office repay the technology reserve.
Proposed Revenues: $23,500
Proposed Expenditures: $341,774
-$411 or -.12%
Commissioner Brown stated “if we go to a administrator do we find a place for the Deputy County Clerk to work or do we let her go? We’ve talked about using her between Probate and the OFA if we have a County Administrator. If we cannot get this budget down so that we cannot manage it, I will not be in favor of a County Administrator." Commissioner Joy stated that he did not disagree with Commissioner Brown adding that if we get the County Administrator the commissioners, as a gesture, will give up their 1.5% increase, Commissioner Blasi disagreed. Commissioner Blasi was concerned that the inclusion of the County Administrator contract buy-out was not shown in the commissioner’s budget. CFO Roy stated that you do not put a contract buy-out in a budget. Commissioner Blasi stated that by not doing so, they are veiling the truth. Commissioner Joy stated that the elephant in the room is whether they are going to include the cost of a County Administrator; other departmental budgets are dependent on this decision. Commissioner Blasi was concerned with the inclusion of Community Benefit funds in the proposed budget to reduce taxes and whether the funds would come in or not. Commissioner Brown stated that more funds could be shaved from the sheriff’s department budget. Commissioner Joy stated that he was at a point where he wanted to send the budget back to the departments to request reductions. CFO Roy has the cost of the County Administrator included in his numbers. Professional Services was proposed at $15,000; a revenue line will be created to offset the cost.
Proposed Revenues: $15,000
Proposed Expenditures: $285,490
$85,655 or 42.86%
CFO Roy suggested reducing Grouped Benefits to $10,000 and to take the Building account down to zero. Commissioner Brown was concerned that the amount budgeted in FY14 was spent during FY14. Commissioner Joy preferred to leave $100,000 in the Building account.
CFO Roy stated the following:
Undesignated Fund Transfers $250,000
Total budget $5,443,867
$283,583 above FY14 or 5.5%
Undesignated Funds are expected between $380,000 to $400,000 above and beyond $500,000 for a total of approximately $900,000.
Commissioner Blasi was concerned with the funding of the County Administrator Contract Buy-out. Commissioner Brown stated that it would be paid from Professional Services.
Commissioner Joy suggested using $40,000 from current Community Benefit Funds to offset taxes and requested CFO Roy to include an additional $100,000 in his numbers, this brought the proposed FY15 budget down to a 2.78% increase over FY14.
Commissioner Joy suggested going to department heads for $100,000. Commissioner Blasi requested a projection for undesignated funds for today. CFO Roy stated that it could not be projected. CFO Roy stated that if every department continues spending as they are, payroll stays the same, we get the jail the money that they were suppose to give them, I predict that we will have approximately $400,000 to $450,000 more than what we had at the beginning of the fiscal year which would mean we would have approximately $900,000 in Undesignated Funds. CFO Roy stated that we use Capital Reserve money and we use Undesignated Funds to operate the county while we are waiting for tax dollars to come in. Commissioner Joy stated that we could go get a TAN. Commissioner Brown agreed.
Commissioner Joy questioned if the commissioners agreed or disagreed to use $40,000 out of this year’s Community Benefit funds. Commissioners Brown and Blasi did not take issue with this because we currently have the funds.
The commissioners scheduled the next budget workshop for September 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
Deputy County Clerk