Audio recordings of the meeting are available upon request

Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 am on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.

Employee recognition:

Commissioner Steven Joy presented Hancock County employee David Linnell with a certificate, pin and jacket, and thanked him for ten years of service to the County.  Commissioner Brown presented Commissioner Steven Joy with a plaque, and thanked him for his 8 years of service to Hancock County as Commissioner. Commissioner Joy thanked everyone and said he enjoyed working with them and said that he would leave with the charge that if money beyond taxation can be found, such as Community Benefit Funds, he believes the Commissioners have always been open to new things.

Adjustments to the agenda: Under Sheriff 3(a) Request approval to expend up to $9,000 from G-1-3021-36 K9 Unit, to purchase a canine to 11(g)

MOTION: to move agenda item 3(a) to 11(g) (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Police Cruiser Bid Opening:

2005 Chevy Impala

Richard Anderson $1,502.00

Chicago Motors $707.00

Jean and George Rice $425.00

Yousef Dabbagh $668.00

Bay Ridge Motors $709.00

2004 Ford Crown Victoria

Michael Berzinis $1,515.33

Richard Anderson $1,250.00

Jean and George Rice $1,175.00

2011 Chevy Impala

Richard Anderson $1,602.00

Chicago Motors $407.00

Jean and George Rice $2,575.00

Emergency Remarketing $1,288.00

Yousef Dabbagh $868.00

Bay Ridge Motors $1,709.00

Joanna Russell/Hancock County Recovery and Workforce Program:

Joanna Russell of Bangor Area Recovery Network expressed thanks to the Commissioners for allowing her to present this proposal for the Hancock County Recovery and Workforce Project.  She described this as part of a continuing effort of pulling together to assist addicts to work through recovery issues, get sober, and work to become self supporting.  This program will help leverage our current workforce resources and establish individuals in pre-work force programs. Russell described two phases. In phase 1 participants willingly enter the program, and upon being identified as ready, will move to phase 2, where they will complete a treatment plan with job training and preparedness. Once job training has been completed, EMDC career advisors can help by providing registration, intake, introduction, workplace safety, career place aptitude, resume writing, and workplace etiquette. Other provisions can include hands on experience, clothing, dental work, transportation, and an assessment with career advisor.

Commissioner Brown commented that work on this has been going on for some time, and that this money will provide funding to those in our jails as well as education and counseling in schools; all of that is part of the program. Commissioner Brown stressed that the workforce part of the program is most important.  Russell referenced the services provided by Healthy Acadia and Project Hope and their work in training recovery coaches. Their training will be available to jail volunteers here.

Commissioner Joy expressed concern about how the funds will be appropriated, and if they are going to have a direct impact here in Hancock County.  There was some discussion about training for recovery coaches, and that connection to this program. Russell referred to the volunteers who are already going into the jail and working with the corrections officers; some volunteers do workshops, AA or narcotics anonymous. Maria Donohue from Healthy Acadia spoke about 2 recovery coach trainers, training new coaches in the community.

MOTION:  to fund the Hancock County Recovery and Workforce project with $45,000 coming from Community Benefit Funds from First Wind -account #3025-00, (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)   

Discussion: There was some discussion on the need of recovery coaches, and how this funding would affect that. Commissioner Brown said he feels strongly that $45,000 needs to be put toward this project.

MOTION: to dedicate $10,000 to Healthy Acadia to help coordinate recovery coaches, account #3025-00 (Joy/Brown, 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: A representative from Healthy Acadia reported on the ongoing training needed for recovery coaches. Commissioner Joy said he would like this funding to become part of that program.

Commission Business:

MOTION: to approve the minutes from the November 1, 2016 Commissioners Regular Meeting and the November 18, 2016 Commissioners Special Meeting (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed).

Discussion: Public Comments- none

Discussion on Bull Hill reduced payment due to turbine devaluation, etc.:

Unorganized Territory Director Millard Billings said the original proposal from Bull Hill TIF was $4,700,000 estimated income. In the initial estimated revenues they used a mil rate that has dropped.  Also, in the original estimate, they didn’t depreciate the value of the windmills at all. Billings said that Bull Hill wind got a 30% tax credit for the project. Maine Revenue Service reviewed it and determined that it was not transferable- if they sold it the new buyer would not get the credit. The value was reduced accordingly. Billings said with all of that, we would only get about 42.5% of the original estimate. Commissioner Joy questioned the sale price, and whether it sold for a 30% discount. He said he would like to find out the value of Bull Hill at some point. He suggested we find a stockbroker to help determine the value. Commissioner Brown suggested we file a freedom of access request. Commissioner Blasi said he would like to see us join with Somerset County, since they are in a similar situation. Commissioner Joy said he would like to first find out if it was sold at a discount.


Motion: to pay Swan’s Island overpayment of $5,200 stipend from 2016 contract (Brown/Blasi, 2-1 Joy opposed, motion passed)

Sheriff Kane thanked Commissioner Joy for his service to Hancock County, and thanked all three Commissioners for their dedication to the Hancock County Recovery and Workforce Program and working to eradicate the drug problem in Hancock County.

Sheriff Kane then referred to the added cost of living on Swan’s Island.  Commissioner Brown said he wanted to return the 2016 money to Swan’s Island, as it was a Union Issue. Commissioner Joy said the stipend is opening a door, so it may become a negotiable item. Chief Deputy Pat Kane said it is more costly to live on an island, and that the officer’s family has lost incoming earning potential. He feels strongly that the officer should get it and he would point out if the officer refuses to go out there it would probably result in losing the contract. Commissioner Brown said he doesn’t want Swan’s Island to think we took advantage of them, and that the discussion about the stipend should have come to the Commission. Chief Deputy Kane said the stipend developed after the 6 month trial period and through discussions with the officer, and that it was discussed with the previous County Administrator.  Sheriff Kane said the officer living on the island has changed his ability to take overtime shifts. Commissioner Brown said his argument is not with the stipend- the money belongs to Swan’s Island and needs to go back to them. Commissioner Joy said he might support paying it one time. Commissioner Brown said he would advise against that because we are in union negotiations now. CA Adkins said moving ahead it would be specifically stated in the town contract.

Discussion: 2015/2016 Town Contracts funds and cruiser purchase:

There was some discussion on account #3011-70. CA Adkins said the surplus from 2015 was never transferred. There was some discussion on the history of transferring funds and using them to purchase vehicles. CA Adkins said this is the dedicated account; they are asking to transfer into this to purchase a vehicle. This figure includes money that has been rolling over in prior years- does not include 2015 (this was never transferred). CA Adkins recommended tabling it for now.

MOTION: Table items 3(c) Discussion: 2015/2016 Town Contracts funds and 3(d) Discussion: to purchase cruiser (Joy/Blasi, 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve out-of-state travel for December 14-19, 2016 to Washington, DC for Wreaths Across America and in January for Luke Gross to travel to New York for DARE training (Brown/Joy, 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to approve the transfer of $1,000.00 in State of Maine vs. Aaron Herrick Forfeiture (Blasi/Brown, 3-0, motion passed). 

MOTION: to approve the transfer of $1,200.00 in State of Maine vs. Andres Martinez Forfeiture (Brown/Blasi, 3-0 motion passed).

Discussion: Year end 2016 budget projections for the jail:

Jail Administrator Richardson reported on the status of the projected revenues for the jail budget. Commissioner Joy asked if JA Richardson would pass on to the members of the jail’s collective bargaining unit that the Commission appreciates their willingness to work to come to an agreement.

Discussion: Replacement needs for the jail’s steam kettle:

JA Richardson said the approximate cost is $11,449. Two estimates had been received one Flags for $11,550.00, the other Caprara for $11,449.00. There was some discussion on which account to draw from. Commissioner Blasi said the excess revenues should cover this. JA Richardson suggested account #11-46-4602.

MOTION: to purchase a steam kettle for the jail from Flaggs for the lowest price (Brown/Blasi, 3-0, motion passed as amended*)

Discussion: Commissioner Brown asked if JA Richardson would recommend Flaggs. He said they had been very good to him. Commissioner Joy asked if JA Richardson would ask Flaggs to meet the lower estimate.

*MOTION: to amend the motion to add from Flaggs at the lowest price (Brown/Blasi, 3-0 motion to amend passed)

Discussion: proposed contract for video visitation provided by Securus:

Sheriff Kane explained how the process works. Commissioner Blasi asked about maintenance. Sheriff Kane said there would be no cost to the County- if equipment is damaged or destroyed Securus will pay for it. This is a 5 year contract at $105,475; there is no upfront funding. Inmate usage will pay for the phones. At the end of 5 years the County will own the equipment.

MOTION: to approve the contract with Securus for video visitation (Joy, Blasi, 2-0-1) Brown abstained)

MOTION: to promote Noah Lewey of Bangor, ME to temporary full time corrections officer at $13.50 per hour with sick & comp time benefits effective December 10, 2016 (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to work Corrections Officer Shane Gross out of classification for the period of 3 months, temporary coverage for a supervisor opening within the jail (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed).


MOTION: Appoint the nomination of Lt. Rod Charette from District 7 Police Chiefs for a three year term to the Hancock County Advisory Committee (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed).

RCC Director Renee Wellman gave an update for meeting with Bangor Area Staffing Solutions. Commissioner Joy expressed he sees this as part of the solution, it doesn’t have to be done right away, and suggested having some ongoing discussion with BASS. This is a good option for the future.

Joy asked about licensing for Mt. Waldo. Wellman reported she was waiting for the FCC response; after that the purchasing for the project could commence. Commissioner Joy suggested checking Eastern Maine Community Colleges and other such places for a building.


MOTION: to approve the hire of Sadie Wight for a part time temporary position not to exceed 16 hours per week effective November 5, 2016 (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed).


Probate registrar Gale Coughlin gave an overview of the ICON Service contract features and cost; it is the same price as it was last time- 3 years at the same price. An e-filing system, attorneys scan and upload things through the program. The other courts in the state use the same system.


MOTION: to approve the November General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #16-43 $50,820.72, #16-44 $51,395.86, #16-45 $53,690.95 and #16-46 $58,339.07 in the aggregate amount of $214,246.60 (Blasi, Brown 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to approve the November General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #16-45 $8,217.11, #16-46 $207,641.12, #16-47 $16,737.54,  and #16-48 $120,316.07 in the aggregate amount of $352,911.84    (Joy/Brown).

Discussion: The November General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants were not voted on at this point as the Commissioners wanted more information on expenditures regarding the K-9 purchases. The discussion was moved to later in the meeting.

MOTION: to delete account #G-1-3012-45, once expended (Blasi, Brown, 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the November Jail and UT Payroll Warrants #16-43 $24,227.47, #16-44 $23,047.26, #16-45 $23,295.18 and #16-46 $23,110.96 in the aggregate of $93,680.87 (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to approve the November Jail and UT Expense Warrants #16-22 $12,666.59, #17-9 $3,223.22, #16-23 $102,564.66 and #17-10 $32,601.30 in the aggregate amount of $151,055.77 (Brown, Blasi, 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to approve the November expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $104,911.18 (Blasi, Brown, 3-0, motion passed).

Discussion: Treasurer Eldridge referenced the Machias Savings bank reports and said we did receive our certificate of insurance. Commissioner Blasi asked Treasurer Eldridge if the fact that the balanced general ledger in their meeting books answered the question that the revenue and expense accounts reconcile to the control accounts. Eldridge indicated that, yes that was true.

Break 12:08


Facilities Director Walls presented a proposal for adding an automatic door to the 2nd floor parking garage entrance. Commissioner Joy questioned whether both doors needed it. It was agreed it should be done, but it is not in the 2016 budget. Commissioner Brown said he wanted to be sure, and that there were ADA questions needed to be answered. Commissioners Joy and Brown said they would like it paid for out of the capital reserve account. Commissioner Brown suggested some of the costs be passed on to the courts.


MOTION: To adjust agenda to remove 10 (e) and add  request for approval for Chairman to sign contract with Jacob’s engineering for Articles a-1 and a-2 of the Stormwater Basin Improvement Project for 2017 (Brown, Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion on monthly report:

Manager Madeira spoke about the Stormwater Basin Improvement – he said they would like to do the project in 2017. They think the culvert has risen, and lowering it would relieve the drainage issue. Currently Madeira estimates the project cost at $300,000. Madeira then spoke about 2 projects involving environmental assessments (EA). One project is a snow removal and equipment building. The other project is to do an EA on some tree clearing northwest of the airport.  If the easements that the county owns do not give the county the right to manage those trees, some of that project would be to purchase those, perhaps through eminent domain, in order to protect that space. Madeira updated about the section of pavement that is eligible for funding for reconstruction.

BHB private hangar development: Manager Madeira said there are no easy building sites left for building hangars. He suggested holding a public meeting to determine interest in building several hangars. Madeira can’t build one hangar at a time- common taxi lanes have to be built, things have to be planned and managed all at once.  Commissioner Joy suggested we go through the process of having those plans ready.

Madeira said upon review of the navigational easements it was found that the original easement alone does not provide the County the right to maintain vegetation. A determination of what is necessary will be part of the EA done in 2017.

Scenic byway signs have been installed.

Discussion on pavement repairs above the seaplane ramp:

There is an area of pavement with large pot holes- last year we did a project to regrade the ramp road. Commissioner Blasi received a complaint about the state of the ramp and asked Manager Madeira to look into fixing the seaplane ramp. Madeira did, and found fixing it to be at a rough cost of $15,000.

Commissioner Brown thought we could use some cold-patch as this would be a less expensive solution for an area that isn’t used much.

MOTION: to post an RFP to finish paving at the top of the ramp (Blasi,

Motion fails for lack of second.

Manager Madeira will look into cold patch.

Discussion on Terminal Building backup generator project:

Madeira spoke about the size of the generator needed, and the costs of the location of the generator- the project cost might be around $18,000 (generator size: 16KW or so). The project involves 2 phases.  Phase 1 includes powering the thermostats in order to have the heat work in the old part of the building. Commissioner Joy asked about the frequency of power outages at the airport. Madeira said in his experience that didn’t happen often, and not usually for more than ½ hour. This project is not in the 2017 budget. Madeira said they have several small wheeled generators they can use if necessary short term.

MOTION: to move ahead with phase 1 of the project (Brown/Joy, 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to request approval for Chairman to sign contract with Jacob’s engineering for Articles a-1 and a-2 of the Stormwater Basin Improvement Project for 2017 (Brown, Joy, 3-0, motion passed).

Motion: to accept the following Vehicle bids- 2005 Chevy Impala to Richard Anderson for $1,502, 2004 Crown Victoria to Michael Brisinas $1,515.33, and 2011 Chevy Impala to Jean and George Rice $2,575.00 Vehicle purchases (Brown, Blasi, 3-0, motion passed)

Sheriff Kane recommended approval of the above bids. He requested the revenue be posted to account # G-1-3014-60 Commissioner Brown questioned posting it to that account, and wanted the revenue to be in the approved budget for 2017. Sheriff Kane said he thought at some point we were going to build a portion this money into a reserve. Commissioner Blasi said he would split the difference. Chair Joy thought we could figure that in a later discussion.


Executive Assistant Rebekah Knowlton informed the Commission of an employee who would be receiving a week’s severance pay per County personnel policy. Knowlton also brought a request for exercise equipment to be purchased for the Self Defense Innovations exercise program.

MOTION: to approve the purchase of exercise equipment from E-20-05-300 for the County exercise program (Brown, Blasi, 3-0, motion passed).

Commissioners signed the Rhyne Abatement Appeal decision; they had deliberated at a prior meeting.

Discussion: Lewis & Malm Architects / RCC Expansion Draft Proposal Review:

CA Adkins gave an overview of his meeting with Lewis & Malm; the next step would be to develop an RFP to take to vendors. This is for expansion of county services that we advertised for in September including EMA, EOC and an equipment maintenance.

Commissioner Joy pointed out that we had also talked with the Sheriff about storage space, and that we should also have a sense of the EMA portion- funding should be explored- grants, leasing, etc. County Administrator Adkins said this was billed on an hourly basis and we could end the service if we chose to. Commissioner Brown said he is for having an RCC, however, unless other towns move to participate not it wouldn’t be prudent to spend this amount. CA Adkins said if the Commission is not sure about the project his suggestion would be to table it. Commissioner Joy expressed that we are the last RCC to try to consolidate, that we have to show we’re committed to providing this service, and he is in favor of this expenditure. Commissioner Brown pointed out that he was pleased about Ellsworth joining the expansion. Commissioner Joy suggested this may be the trigger that pulls in other towns. Commissioner Blasi said as an expansion of county services it’s worth retaining this firm, but he wanted to look at impact fees.

MOTION: to move forward with Lewis & Malm Architects/ RCC Expansion Draft proposal as presented using account # 30-1106 Professional services (Brown, Blasi, 3-0, motion passed)

The Commissioners agreed on the non-union COLA rate of 1.5% for the coming year.

Commissioner Blasi said when the budget is approved the 1.5% COLA is implied.

The health insurance buyout rates and employee contribution rates will be left the same.

CA Adkins asked the Commission if they had ever dealt with health insurance appeals. The answer was no, and that the staff members who were authorized to view claims dealt with them.  Commissioner Joy said he thought the next step would be to go to the Commission Chair, then to the Commission in executive session.

CA Adkins and UT Supervisor Billings reported that the Hancock Wind TIF check was based on more energy than was actually produced. Commissioner Joy said it should have been calculated on capacity, rather than what was produced.

Commissioner Blasi questioned the Hancock Wind TIF transfer; UT Supervisor Billings said because the bases were in the ground on April 1, 2016 Maine Revenue Service assessed the tax to Hancock Wind for this year. We received the TIF amount based on that. We had to pay 70% back to Hancock Wind- 30% we keep.

CA Adkins shared an email from DA Foster concerning a writ of possession for some property. Sheriff Kane said his recommendation would be to handle it through the DA. Commissioner Brown questioned why this was even brought to the commission, saying it should be handled between the Sheriff and the DA.

The executive session on the agenda was determined not necessary to be held.

K-9 discussion:

Agenda item 3A

Commissioner Brown said he would like to see the forfeiture money go into the Dept 10 to offset the dog.

MOTION: Approve the expenditure of $3,888.75 out of G-3021-36 (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the November General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #16-45 $8,217.11, #16-46 $207,641.12, #16-47 $16,737.54,  and #16-48 $120,316.07 in the aggregate amount of $352,911.84    (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION: to approve the expenditure of up to $9,000 from G-1-3021-36 K9 Unit, to purchase a canine (Joy, Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: It won’t have an impact on the budget because we’re using a G account- this will come out of the $20,000 gift for the K9 program.

Final Budget Deliberations:

2017 Budget- Sheriff

There was some discussion on the forfeiture funds and which accounts they will be posted to.

Commissioner Brown would like it to go to Dept 10 because there may be more expense in that dept.  Commissioner Brown expressed concern that every year the budget has gone up, and we cannot continue to go up 10-12%. Brown said it would be tough to justify a 12% increase to taxpayers, and that the Commission has to justify the money, while the Sheriff has to justify the performance. The revenue in Dept 46 will be $25,000 and $15,000 in Dept 10. 

MOTION to approve Dept 10 budget Expenses $1,354,844 and Revenues $31,100 (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed).

MOTION to adjourn at 3:05 PM (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Budget workshop set for December 13th at 8am.   

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton,

Executive Asst. to the County Administrator












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