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COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING

 

Learn more about HANCOCK COUNTY by visiting

www.co.hancock.me.us

 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, May 16, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

 

8:30 am- audit bid opening:

Chairperson Blasi opened the bids for audit services to the County of Hancock, the results are as follows:

Hancock County Commissioners

Bid Sheet / Audit RFP

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vendor

County /          General Fund

County /             Airport Fund

County / Jail Fund

County /          Single Audit

UT

Ron Beaulieu

 $      20,000

 $      10,000

 $    10,000

 $      5,000

 $   15,000

RKO

 $      68,300

 $      25,450

 $    18,500

 $    10,000

 $   20,500

Chester Kearney

 $      42,500

 $      17,500

 $    17,500

 $      7,500

 $   16,000

RHR Smith

 $      28,550

 $      13,600

 $    28,250

 $    12,750

 $   12,550

 

The bids will be reviewed carefully and a determination will be made at the next meeting.

 

Adjustment to agenda:

None

 

Public Comment: none

 

Tax Abatement Appeal Deliberations:

 

Cook / 52 Shore Path Road vs. Town of Dedham

Commissioner Antonio Blasi, Chair, opened the deliberations portion of the Special Commissioner’s Meeting with recognizing the parties in the room and the direction of the Commission to make a decision on the case with the evidence presented at the hearing on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.

There are two distinct factual findings that the Commission is assigned to review.  First, under the Maine Constitutional Law, “the property must be assessed at its’ fair market value; and the assessed value must be equitable, the property must be assessed at a relatively uniform rate with the comparable property in the same district. 

Mr. Cook addressed the podium to request the submittal of lost documents as evidence in his case.  CC Clark asked for clarification from County Administrator, Scott Adkins.  CA Adkins admitted that the documents submitted by Mr. Cook had been misplaced by himself.  They were found and a copy retrieved from the original evidence packet sent to the Town of Dedham who graciously supplied those items.  Once obtained, CA Adkins informed the Commissioners of the error by email.  The Commissioners were in consensus that this information could not be submitted without opening up the entire case.  See a further explanation of the evidence later in the Appraisers submission.

The other issue with Mr. Cook’s hearing was that it had to be done by phone.  This was due to the fact that Mr. Cook was out of state for some time; had given tentative return dates, but unable to attend the first couple of dates set.  Therefore, CA Adkins set a firm date when the rest of the Appellants and the Appellee could attend.  Unfortunately, further delays in Mr. Cook’s schedule prohibited him from attending and possibly presenting the missing data in person.

Commissioner Blasi led the Commission into a process of following the Order form in order to establish a fact of findings.  With regards to Question # 4, CC Clark replied that there had been no proof presented for fraudulent, dishonest or illegal activity.  CC Brown stated that sufficient proof was not provided by Mr. Cook to show a disparagement of treatment in the assessment of his property.  Mr. Cook was treated the same.  Mr. Cook did not prove his case and the burden of proof is upon Mr. Cook.

There was consensus among the County Commissioners that the assessors for the Town of Dedham, RJD Appraisals, had shown the proper evidence that the format they used was consistent among all properties. 

Mr. Cook had also asked for a specific amount, not a valuation amount, as his abatement request which is non-standard for the abatement process.  There was conflicting information in the evidence presented which led to some confusion on the case.

A discussion then ensued about finding further evidence by completing the questions in the Order form used.  Both CC Brown & CC Clark were of the same opinion that either the pertinent questions were already answered or the question did not apply to the case.

 

MOTION: to deny the appeal of Cook vs. Town of Dedham based on testimony heard and the deliberation this morning (Brown, Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 

CC Brown informed the appellant, Mr. James Cook, that he had the right to appeal the Commission’s decision to Superior Court.  A formal written document of the decision will be available within 30 days of today’s date.

 

O’Hara / 41 Pine Trail vs. Town of Dedham

Commissioner Antonio Blasi, Chair, opened the deliberations portion of the Special Commissioner’s Meeting with recognizing the parties in the room and the direction of the Commission to make a decision on the case with the evidence presented at the hearing on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.

There are two distinct factual findings that the Commission is assigned to review.  First, under the Maine Constitutional Law, “the property must be assessed at its’ fair market value; and the assessed value must be equitable, the property must be assessed at a relatively uniform rate with the comparable property in the same district. 

CC Blasi addressed the party representing the Appellant, Mr. Gary Robbins, as he was the one at the hearing as well.  Mr. Robbins is the property caretaker for the O’Hara’s who currently reside in Florida.

CC Blasi went back to referencing the long order.  Both CC Clark & Brown commented that no fraudulent, dishonest or illegal activity is involved in this case. 

From the evidence presented, CC Brown stated the appraisal was done by Real Estate agent and not authorized agent, and continued to comment that the town used the same methodology as with all other citizens.  Evidence by the town was consistent and did not show any illegal or dishonest action.

The discussion over the $ 50,000 abatement given to one of the comparable properties, 39 Pine Trail, is a local issue and not within the authority of the County Commissioners. 

The evidence, document D-1, submitted by the Town of Dedham’s appraiser, RJD Appraisals, gives support to the use of a consistent methodology for assessing purposes.

CC Clark – Evidence does not support that the Appellant provided supporting documentation for the abatement.

CC Blasi – Asked if the Commission was ready to make a motion on the case.

 

MOTION: to deny the appeal of O’Hara vs Town of Dedham abatement request (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 

CC Brown informed the appellant, Mr. & Mrs. Mitchell & Debora O’Hara, that he had the right to appeal the Commission’s decision to Superior Court.  A formal written document of the decision will be available within 30 days of today’s date.

 

Heber / Lunt Lane / Map 36 Lot 104-02 vs. Town of Dedham

Commissioner Antonio Blasi, Chair, opened the deliberations portion of the Special Commissioner’s Meeting with recognizing the parties in the room and the direction of the Commission to make a decision on the case with the evidence presented at the hearing on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.

There are two distinct factual findings that the Commission is assigned to review.  First, under the Maine Constitutional Law, “the property must be assessed at its’ fair market value; and the assessed value must be equitable, the property must be assessed at a relatively uniform rate with the comparable property in the same district. 

CC Clark – Applicant presented very compelling evidence to issues with his property.  There was no evidence to support his appeal.  Needs help from other agencies to assist with his issues beyond the valuation.  Mr. Heber was not here to contest the value, but looking to access and enjoy his land.  He appeared to be very willing to pay the tax if he could use the property.  Asked the Board to deny the appeal based on these facts.

CC Brown – Pointed out many of the same items as CC Clark above.  Reiterated that the Appellant would be willing to pay the tax if they could use the property more.

The Town of Dedham’s appraiser, RJD Appraisals, proved that their assessment was done consistently with all citizens in the town of similar properties and conditions.  No evidence was provided by the Appellant to the contrary.

 

MOTION: to deny the appeal of Heber vs. the Town of Dedham based on the Commissioners deliberations (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 

CC Brown informed the appellant, Mr. Albert Heber, that he had the right to appeal the Commission’s decision to Superior Court.  A formal written document of the decision will be available within 30 days of today’s date.

 

Hamel / 377 Lakeview Avenue vs. Town of Dedham

Commissioner Antonio Blasi, Chair, opened the deliberations portion of the Special Commissioner’s Meeting with recognizing the parties in the room and the direction of the Commission to make a decision on the case with the evidence presented at the hearing on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.

There are two distinct factual findings that the Commission is assigned to review.  First, under the Maine Constitutional Law, “the property must be assessed at its’ fair market value; and the assessed value must be equitable, the property must be assessed at a relatively uniform rate with the comparable property in the same district. 

CC Brown – Commented that the Appellant’s representative presented discussion regarding items that had been dumped into the area known as the “gravel pit”.  He suggested that the Appellant take a look at the soil test of the area.  No evidence was presented to show anything outside the normal assessing procedure.  The town used the same methodology as with other citizens when assessing the property.  The town had worked with the citizen on the original abatement and recognized the condition of the land.

CC Clark – The comps did not support and argued the comparative abilities of the comps as they were smaller lots. He agreed with CC Brown on his comments.

CC Clark – After questions from CC Blasi, he commented that the Appellant failed on all three points of proof of evidence.

 

MOTION: to deny the appeal of Hamel vs. the Town of Dedham (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 

Commissioner Brown informed the Appellant that they had the right to appeal the Commission’s decision to Superior Court.  A formal written document of the decision will be available within 30 days of today’s date.

 

SHERIFF:

Discussion of Jail inmate area roof:

Jail Administrator Tim Richardson brought the idea of constructing a roof over the jail inmate recreation area.  He said if a jail facility has more than 100 beds, the outside recreation area needs to be covered, if the facility has fewer than 100 beds, it does not need to be covered.  We currently have less than 100 beds.  Commissioner Brown said he is not interested in using general funds on the jail, but would be in favor of using inmate benefit funds for the project.  It was decided to explore the idea with Lewis and Malm, as they are developing an RFP for the retaining wall project.  This may address the drainage issue we have in that area. 

 

MOTION: to accept the resignation of Steven Hunt effective May 20, 2017 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

                                                                                        

MOTION: approve the request to advertise for patrol deputy (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 

AIRPORT:

MOTION:  approval to cancel the previously issued purchase order with Greenway Equipment Sales based on their inability to deliver the equipment within a reasonable amount of time, and to instead, approve the purchase of a Kubota M6-141 Tractor with boom mower attachment from Dorr’s Equipment of Bangor Maine (the next qualified low bidder who responded to the bid opening on 4/4/17) for a total purchase price for $96,500.00 to be funded from Capital Reserve account: G2-3010-30 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 

Commissioner Blasi asked Manager Madeira if the insurance certificate from HK Helicopters Tours had been received.  Madeira stated no, it had not.

 

RCC:

MOTION: To approve the hire of Katie Dakin of Searsport as part-time RCC dispatcher at $15.06 per hour with no benefits effective May 6, 2017 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

This is the starting pay for a full time dispatcher and the union has agreed to that.

 

MOTION: To approve the hire of Emily Finson of Winterport as part-time RCC dispatcher at $15.06 per hour with no benefits effective May 6, 2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

This is the starting pay for a full time dispatcher and the union has agreed to that.

 

Mt. Waldo building specs and funding:

Director Wellman gave the Commission a document with several options for a building.  Commissioner Brown would like to see an option for a wooden building, instead of concrete.   Commissioner Clark was opposed to that, he would rather see something weather tight, that would minimally meet our safety concerns. 

 

Discussion: PSAP consolidation

CA Adkins reported that he had a solid number from Penobscot.  He said this would not save hundreds of thousands, it may not save anything at all.  It will solidify our future with dispatching.  PSAP restricts us from providing quality service to Hancock County.  Part of the agreement is that Penobscot wants 6 months at a minimum before switching over.  Commissioner Brown thought if we keep PSAP we would have to expand the space we have, at a significant cost.  Commissioner Clark would like to set a work session in mid June for this issue, and to have a full scale assessment and evaluation, from schedule to supervisor.  June 20 there will be a workshop session.

 

10:56 am break

11:07 am back in session

 

Scott McKee from Acadia Benefits:

Scott McKee informed the Commission that the ER visits of Hancock County health plan participants have increased by 22% in 2016. The top diagnoses are preventable, and include diabetes, coronary artery disease, obesity and asthma.  We want to encourage employees to have a relationship with their Primary Care Provider, to engage employees in their health, and to be aware of their health status.  Over 50% of our health care costs are due to manageable conditions.   The wellness program presented includes four member requirements:

  • Complete an annual health risk assessment
  • Visit their PCP for a routine physical
  • Participate in a disease management program if identified with a chronic condition
  • Be tobacco free (members addicted to tobacco can also qualify by completing an annual tobacco-cessation course)

Upon completion of the four requirements, employees would receive a monetary incentive, reducing the cost of the employee’s health insurance contribution. 

 

MOTION: to inform Meritain that we would like to purchase Meritain’s Healthy Merits Jog level program (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 

COMMISSIONERS:

Old Jail decision:

MOTION: that the Ellsworth historical society be notified that if they do not remedy the safety issues of bricks falling from the old jail within the next 30 days the county is going to construct a paved parking lot on the old jail’s front lawn and we are going to restrict access to the old jail for a distance of 5 feet on the north and west sides of the old jail until the safety issue is addressed (Clark/ Blasi 3-0 motion passed)

 

MOTION: To enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(D) to discuss union contract negotiations (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Chairperson Blasi brought the meeting back to regular session, Commissioner Clark reported that we’re continuing to negotiate with the union and we have simply discussed our latest proposal.

 

MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(A) to discuss an employee matter involving health insurance and a personnel status report (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Chairperson Blasi brought the meeting back to regular session with nothing to report.

 

MOTION: to adjourn 1:59 pm (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Rebekah Knowlton

Executive Assistant to the County Administrator

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