Audio recordings of the meeting are available upon request 

The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

Sheriff Kane and Travis Frost brought the new K-9, Tosca, to be introduced to the Commissioners and public.  Frost reported she is from the Netherlands, and 2.5 years old. In March Tosca and Frost will be starting a 14 week canine patrol at the Criminal Justice Academy.

Adjustments to agenda:

MOTION: to add 9(d) ratification of the RCC and Sheriff’s office contracts (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add 5 (i) discussion on amending the County’s insurance buyout policy (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed)

MOTION: to accept the agenda

Public Comment: none 

Old business:

MOTION: to approve the minutes of the January 6, 2017 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting and the January 17, 2017 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


Airport Manager Madeira gave his monthly report and updated the Commission on ongoing projects.  He spoke about the 2016 enplanement numbers and how they would affect the 2018 entitlement.   Elite airways will not be returning for Bar Harbor airport for the coming season.  Madeira thought without that it would be difficult to get to the 10,000 enplanement number. 

MOTION: To approve a Lease Amendment for Mr. Stockton Smith (Private Hangar Owner on taxilane C) in recognition of the substantial amount of work the hangar owner has to do (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Smith is contemplating doing some capital improvements to his hangar, in order to protect his investment. Commissioner Blasi asked Madeira to clarify the status of the existing asphalt pad. Manager Madeira said it has some cracks. Commissioner Blasi said in his mind the issue was in the original construction of it. Commissioner Clark expressed concern that this would set a precedent for future leases. Madeira said his recommendation would be for the Commission to approve the lease amendment.

MOTION: To hire Jill Constantine of Ellsworth as a part-time Janitor at $12/hour for 15 hours per week effective February 9, 2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Regarding the unresolved private hangar lease violation from 2013, Manager Madeira reported that the 7460 form that had been filed with the FAA contained some information that was not accurate, and he recommended that he should go back to FAA and let them know this and request that they make a determination.

MOTION: To update and submit a 7460 form to the FAA regarding what has been constructed, then wait for a determination from the FAA (Brown/Blasi  3-0, motion passed) 

Unorganized Territory:

UT Supervisor Millard Billings reported that weight limits will be posted this month on the County roads.  We received tax payment from Bull Hill and the 70% reimbursement has been sent to the developer.  Billings is looking for direction and setting priorities for what projects the commissioners would like to do. There was some discussion on a survey and/or a public workshop referencing priorities. Discussion then centered on priorities for the use of TIF and Community Benefit Funds.  Commissioner Blasi went through a list of priorities, asking each Commissioner if they were in favor of each project.  It was decided that it would be more efficient to schedule a workshop, and invite representatives from interested parties. A workshop was scheduled on February 21, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. to assess the priorities for TIF and Community Benefit Funds.

Community Benefit overpayment discussion:

Commissioner Clark said his prior suggestion of sending back the money would have been in exchange for clarification regarding future payments.

MOTION : adopt county administrator paragraph of  “The Commission also wishes to draft up a document containing the specific payment amount which would reference the following details: 3mw Generating Capacity/ 17 turbines/ 51 mw total project. If any of these specifications increase, then the agreement would follow accordingly, but would maintain these minimum parameters unless the agreement was re-negotiated” and follow through with it and to return the check of $18,885.30 (Blasi/Clark, motion withdrawn)

Friendly amendment by Blasi: to include the language we have discussed as a cover letter while returning the check

Commissioner Blasi withdraws the original motion.

Break- 10:03

MOTION: take no action on this (the Community Benefit overpayment) agenda item (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed)


MOTION: To approve of the disposal of 2 2013 Ford Interceptors (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: update on video visitation:

Commissioner Blasi asked Sheriff Kane what the policy is. Sheriff Kane responded that the units were going to be installed as the Commission approved at a meeting.  Commissioner Blasi clarified that the contract that the Commissioners approved did not preclude contact visits. Sheriff Kane said that was correct.  He said any questions about the policy could be directed to him.

Jail Administrator Richardson said this was a positive thing brought to the facility. Inmates can read bedtime stories to their children at home, they can contact people in bad weather, and they can attend doctor’s appointments.  The world is not being shut off to the inmates; he said what they have is being enhanced.  Commissioner Brown commented that this applies to a safety issue for the resident population, and a contraband issue.  Commissioner Clark stated the value that comes of this is well worth any loss.  This program provides services like Open Door to the inmate population. 

MOTION: To approve transfer of Forfeited Assets in the amount of $19,200.00 State of Maine vs. Antonio Baez and the amount of $41,520.00 State of Maine vs. Anthony Castro (Brown /Clark  3-0, motion passed) to be deposited into account G 1-3013-50

MOTION: To promote Richard Bronson to a full time corrections officer as of February 11, 2017, starting pay rate of 9A, $15.29 per hour with benefits (Brown /Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: To hire Ashley Smith of Brewer, Anthony Moore of Bangor, Michael Scruggs of Old Town and Jeff Hall of Bucksport as part time corrections officers, at the rate of $12.00 per hour on call as needed with no benefits, not to exceed 29 hours per week (Brown /Clark  3-0, motion passed)

Treasurer’s Office:

MOTION: to approve the January General Fund, Airport, and Jail payroll Warrants #16-52, #17-1, #17-2, and #17-3 in the aggregate amount of $342,680.62 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the January Courthouse, Airport and Jail expense Warrants #17-1, #17-2, #17-3, #16-27, #16-56, #16-57, #17-4, #17-5, #17-6, #16-28, #16-58, #16-59, #17-7, #17-8, #17-9, #16-29, #16-60, and #16-61 in the aggregate amount of $804,368.97 (Brown/Clark  3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the UT payroll warrants #17-27, #17-28, #17-29, and #17-30, in the aggregate of $841.02 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the January UT expense warrants #17-13, #17-14, in the aggregate amount of $10,962.84 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve January expenses in the health account of $108,322.19 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the expenditure from Capital reserve account #G1-3015-00 Capital Radio Reserve for repairs to all three radio consoles $68.00 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the expenditure from Capital reserve account #G1-3015-00 Capital Radio Reserve for Annual fee for Misc. radio expense for rental space on Cadillac Mountain $1,189.92 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

The Commissioners signed the assessment of County Tax and approved the recapitulation.

The Commissioners approved the expenditure from Capital reserve account #G1-3014-70 Capital Vehicle Reserve for 2017 Chevy Silverado in the amount of $22,526.00

The Commissioners approved the expenditure from Capital reserve account #G1-3011-70 Town Contract Reserve for 2017 Ford Interceptor in the amount of $27,195.00

MOTION: to authorize the treasurer to send out Municipal tax invoices (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move issue 5(h) and 5(i) for later in the day (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed) 

At this point District Attorney was addressed, and RCC was taken up after that.

District Attorney:

MOTION: To hire Bruno Almeida da Silva of Hancock as File Clerk, 29 hours per week at the rate of $12.00 per hour, effective February 11, 2017 (Brown /Clark  3-0, motion passed)


Director Wellman presented her monthly report. 

MOTION: To approve the hire of Keisha Keliher of Hancock as a part-time dispatcher at the rate of $12.50 an hour with no benefits, not to exceed 29 hours a week effective February 4, 2017 (Brown/Clark  3-0, motion passed)

Item 5 H- Treasurer: Eldridge said she was not aware of the buy-out health insurance policy involving elected officials. She said she believes she is entitled to that, beginning with the start of her employment. Commissioner Clark suggested a change to the buyout policy, once they qualify for Medicare, employees should go on it, and the County would supply the payment for a supplemental.  Commissioner Brown thought this would be treating employees differently, and could be discriminating on the basis of age. All elected officials are considered full-time. It appears that Eldridge was treated as a retiree in 2015, rather than as a full time employee.  It was agreed that Eldridge was eligible for full single subscriber health care. Commissioner Brown said she was, unless she turned it down in the past.  It was decided that the discussion that took place in September of 2015 regarding this item would be further examined by listening to the audio and evaluating. The issue will be addressed at a future meeting.

Item i discussion will also be held on the meeting of February 21, 2017. 


MOTION:  To accept the resignation of, and remove administratively, Valerie Cox from the employment roll (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: To approve the hire of Maria Howard, of Lamoine, as full time Custodian at grade 4 step C, effective January 21, 2017 (Brown/Clark  3-0, motion passed)

Discussion of Old Jail Condition:

Maintenance Director Dennis Walls gave an update on the old Jail, reporting that a brick had fallen. The Historical Society would like to begin restoring the building but they don’t have the funds.  Walls recommended some kind of mesh material to cover the areas that may fall.  Commissioner Clark would like to have Terri Cormier, President of Ellsworth Historical Society, come in and discuss plans.  Commissioner Brown would like us to send a letter to her addressing safety concerns of the building.  Director Walls would like clarification about how the historical society is planning to handle any liability.  Director Walls asked that the Chair be able to sign the permit application for alterations to the exterior of the annex.

MOTION: for the Chair to sign the permit application to the City of Ellsworth for alterations to the exterior of the annex (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Break for lunch 12:00 pm

Back in session 12:30 pm

Jason Aylmer from EMDC gave a proposal regarding a work experience program. 

There would be no cost to the county, supervision and evaluation would be provided by the county.  EMDC would pay the wages; we would provide a job description, a clear goal and a supervisor.  Worker’s Comp is covered by EMDC.  Traditionally the program is 8 weeks, but that would be up to the County.  Commissioner Brown expressed that he is in favor of this program at Hancock County.  EMDC tries to find some individuals who have expressed interest in what our Maintenance Director needs.  Usually the range is 20-30 hours a week, but can be up to 40 if that works for all parties.  It was agreed that the program be used for a day shift, when Supervisors are here.  Commissioner Brown asked if there would be a way we could give Hancock County residents preference, Aylmer said yes, we could. 

MOTION: to approve the EMDC work experience program in the youth workforce development program (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)


There was some discussion on item (A) 11. of the Hancock County Meeting and Agenda Policy, and public discussion. 

MOTION: to approve the amendments to the Hancock County Meeting and Agenda Policy (Brown /Clark 2-0-1, motion passed, Blasi abstains)

Commissioner Blasi abstains because of the words “clear, curt, and concise” regarding the minutes.

Community Benefit Grant Funding Cycle discussion: it was decided to take this up during a future meeting. 

Jail Lawsuit Superior Court Decision discussion:

A call was placed to William Dale, Attorney.  He thought the chance of getting the money was very low, and an appeal would be for a reason other than a monetary one, such as making a point to the State that they cannot mistreat Hancock County.  He indicated that it would not be cost effective to file an appeal.  Commissioner Brown thought filing the appeal would put us in a better position to receive the supplemental. 

MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(C) to discuss strategy regarding the Jail lawsuit (Clark/Brown 2-0-1, motion passed Blasi abstains)

Commissioner Blasi brought the meeting back to regular session, stating the Commission was exploring the filing of an appeal with the Maine Supreme Court.

MOTION:  to ratify both the RCC and Sheriff’s Dept Teamster local 340 contracts January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

County Administrator:

CA Adkins gave an update on the status of the audit- a date will be set for the audit of 2016 County, Airport & AIP along with the 6 month Jail (July-Dec 2016).  Tax abatements need to be scheduled; CA Adkins gave an update on the status of the ones that had been submitted.  He also spoke to the status of the jail funding from the State, and that it appears that there is no opportunity to request supplemental funding.  CA Adkins asked if the Commission would be in agreement to disconnect the phone tree. 

MOTION: to discontinue the auto-attendant county phone system (Clark/Blasi 2-1, Blasi opposed)

MOTION: to adjourn 2:16 pm (Blasi/Clark)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Executive Assistant to the County Administrator

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