Budget Advisory Committee Caucuses
Commissioner Agendas & Minutes
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
Commissions Chairman, Steven E. Joy, called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 12:57 pm. on Friday, August 12, 2016 in the conference room at the courthouse building in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.
MOTION: to approve and have the Chairman sign the letter to Davor Sklizovic in regards to the construction of a new hangar (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed). Discussion: Commissioner Blasi asked if the Town of Trenton has issued a building permit and the answer was yes. The protected airspace will not be penetrated with the new building but it will be required to be lit up for any future runway approaches. Commissioner Blasi asked if this new building is a part of the master plan and Manager Madeira replied yes, it is.
MOTION: to enter into Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(d) to conduct labor negotiations. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed).
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into Regular Session with nothing to report.
Discussion in regards to the RCC expansion, the Commissioners have reviewed the preliminary report from Malm & Associates (which was completed back in 2011). Commissioner Brown reminded the others that any buildings outside of Ellsworth city limits cannot be purchased for a new RCC/EMA center as Ellsworth is the County Seat. There is a statute that stipulates all thirty seven towns in Hancock County will need to be notified as there must be informational meetings for the towns to be made aware of renovations to existing buildings and referendums passed if property is purchased for new construction. The building next to the Maine State Police on Rte 1A on the outskirts of the city has 2,700 sqft available to rent as the MDEA also uses the building. Commissioner Blasi stated that he would rather not get into a lease/rent situation. He also asked if there was space available at our current Airport CAP building, why couldn’t we add to our RCC/EMA services at that location on the edge of the runway. Manager Madeira responded via text “I cannot recommend that”. Commissioner Joy asked how soon the addition of the City of Ellsworth overnight dispatching to our RCC services and Director Wellman answered it could happen in a couple of weeks. She also stated that we need to make a long term plan for expansion as she feels it will be a permanent move for the City of Ellsworth. Commissioner Brown stated that if we take on the full time dispatching for the City of Ellsworth, we need to make plans to move into or build something in the next few months and definitely before a year goes by. CA Adkins said we need to have a long term commitment from the City of Ellsworth before we do anything permanent. Commissioner Joy stated that in the interest of being an employer, now is the time to expand our facilities so the City of Ellsworth will move over to us for full time dispatching. CA Adkins is adamant that our basement facilities is not the location for any kind of expansion. Commissioner Blasi agrees with Commission Joy, but we need to let them know we are willing to move forward and to proceed quickly. Commissioner Joy asked “How do we pay for all of this expansion? It would have to be through taxation or the City of Ellsworth would have to pay a one-time startup fee to the County before we can get the project established”. The one-time fee would help us purchase a building and refurbish it. It should be advertised that the County is looking to purchase a building in the next few months with the project to be completed before a year. Commissioner Blasi stated that as our current RCC town contracts are for one year, do we want to establish a long term lease for all the renovations and rent? In an RFP, we could state a “lease to buy option” or complete purchase with a buy out. Commissioner Joy feels it is better to purchase and own the building from the onset.
Commissioner Brown wanted to talk about the Mount Waldo tower#2 because the radio reception is as important as a new building to house the RCC equipment and employees. Director Wellman had pictures from a visit just yesterday and the tower site looks promising. There are 3 towers and the guide wires are secure. We could locate a building on site as the building currently on site has accessibility concerns. The tower structural analysis passed and was initially built to hold the equipment we would want to add. There are upgrading recommendations by the analysis company. The tower was built in 1999 and it will hold our equipment but CA Adkins suggested the landlord be accountable for the perpetual upkeep of the tower. The rent will be $400 per month ($4,800 per year) and the cost of the equipment and a new building for a generator will cost another $100,000. Commissioner Brown stated that we need to move on this tower site now. Our communications will be greatly improved throughout Hancock County with this tower site and that will encourage more towns (Orland) to move over to the RCC for dispatching.
Commissioner Brown stated that we need to have informative meetings with all the towns in Hancock County to allow residents to understand why we are going to need to raise money through taxation for both of these projects. CA Adkins suggested that the Commissioners borrow money from themselves (with a TAN) as we have almost $3.6million in our accounts. The building needs to be found and the equipment needs to be upgraded – the tax payer needs to know why the County taxes would be increasing. When Ellsworth moves over permanently, hopefully Trenton soon follow.
Commissioner Joy stated that the towns on Mt. Desert Island who already have their own dispatching might never agree with their towns having to pay extra taxes for a new RCC center (along with the City of Ellsworth) but if the space is available, they might eventually come into our services. The City of Ellsworth will need to understand that they will be required to pay us an upfront (impact) fee to get a new building established. We need to get an RFP out so that people are aware we are looking for a new space. We need to schedule some informational meetings to let the tax payers be aware of what we are trying to do. Even after we beg and borrow for the initial building, we still need to raise taxation for the upcoming budget years to pay for that building and the employees to run a third dispatching shift when and if Trenton joins Ellsworth.
Commissioner Joy asked “within this new building, do we really need between 2,000-4,000 sqft and 6 dispatcher stations?”. He thinks this is too much for Hancock County but maybe not if we are thinking of the expansion. For the EMA, the building should be at least 2,000 sqft which includes another (heated) storage space of at least 6,000 sqft which could be shared with the Sheriff. Director Sankey asked that a new space for EMA be co-shared with an office, training and storage space. He also stated that the property and infrastructure would be paid for by the County but the EMA equipment and rent is half reimbursed by the State on an on-going basis. Commissioner Blasi asked about the current rental space for the Sheriff which is used for seized properties. Commissioner Joy stated that if we start adding up all these “wants and needs” up, we are talking about large amounts of money. We may just have to decide on the RCC space for now and then, later on look for extra storage space for the Sheriff and the EMA. Commissioner Joy wants to decide now that we should get the City of Ellsworth MOU for dispatching established and get the project moving ahead.
Break from 3:30 to 3:38PM
Commissioner Blasi asked what would happen if the Sheriff came into the new plan for the RCC/EMA and Commissioner Joy said that at this time, this is not a part of the discussion. Commissioner Joy said we need to do at least the RCC now, the EMA soon after and maybe, the Sheriff expansion project can occur sometime later in the future. Commissioner Joy wants CA Adkins to schedule a meeting with the City of Ellsworth to make a commitment for the long term dispatching to get this project moving. Director Sankey suggested that the Commissioners visit the Waldo County EMA and the RCC buildings to see what they have newly constructed in the past four years.
The equipment and telephone systems in the new center will have to be an updated analog with IP hybrid. Director Wellman said that new stations are about $36,000 for the three stations and cabinets (previously purchased). There are other pieces of equipment that could cost more or less that what is listed on the plan.
All three Commissioners agreed that if the City of Ellsworth is ready to go, they are as well – to proceed with searching for the new building.
Discussion in regards to the additional Court Hours requested from the State of Maine, Director Walls stated that there is a meeting scheduled with the State Court Administrator, CA Adkins and himself next week on August 17th. All the Commissioners agreed that the longer operating hours at the Courthouse will not happen (but the meeting will still occur).
MOTION to adjourn at 4pm (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed).
Pamela J. Linscott