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, June 6, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

8:30 a.m. Employee recognition

Chairperson Blasi recognized the following employees for their service to the County of Hancock:

Registry of Deeds- Deborah Burns, currently Deeds Clerk- 30 years of service

District Attorney’s office:

Eleanor Truesdale, currently Legal Secretary I -15 years of service

Terry Campbell, currently DA Administrative Assistant - 10 years of service

Sheriff’s office:

Stephen McFarland, currently Detective - 15 years, in total 35+ years of service


Megan Kelley, currently Dispatcher - 10 years of service


Todd Daley, currently Airport Firefighter - 15 years of service


Heather Sullivan, currently Corrections Officer -15 years of service

Chris Brown, currently Corrections Officer -10 years of service


Percy (Joe) Brown, Commissioner 10 consecutive years


Andrew Sankey, currently EMA Director - 5 years of service


Dennis Walls, currently Facilities Director - 5 years of service

Adjustments to/approval of agenda:

MOTION: add to agenda item 2D Executive session MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to review an employee evaluation (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Take Aurora FD item out of order - move 3D to 1D (Aurora contract only) (Brown/Clark, 3-0 motion passed)

Public Comment:

Neil Salisbury was allowed to speak for 3 minutes, per the public comment policy.  He spoke about jurisdiction and the court of record.  He said he believes there have been some constitutional violations, and that he is being held in involuntary servitude.   



MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 2, 2017 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Brown/ Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 16, 2017 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Brown/ Clark, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the minutes of the May 30, 2017 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Aurora Fire Department contract- the draft contract has been signed by the Aurora Fire Department; this contracts reflects and increase- $1,000 per township to $1,200 per township.  C Commissioner Blasi was concerned that this would put us over budget.  The current contract runs out June 30. UT Supervisor Millard Billings said that $1,000 has been the standard we use with townships.  Commissioner Clark would like to see a 3 year contract, and he would like the fire fighters rates increases specified in years 2 and 3 of the contract.

MOTION: the UT director will go back with the fire chief and create a new 3 year contract- $1,200/year per township,  with a 2% increase in the Fire Fighter hourly rate  effective the 2nd  year and another 2% increase effective the 3rd year (Clark/Blasi 2-1 Brown opposed)


Airport Manager Brad Madeira gave his monthly report.  MacQuinn’s has done some work on the catch basin on TWC.  Manager Madeira reported they had completed an FAA required full scale exercise on May 20, 2017.  He reported that one of the volunteers involved may have suffered an injury and an insurance claim may be filed.  There was an incident on Friday June 2 involving an airplane leaving the runway, there were no injuries.  The airport was closed temporarily due to the incident.  It appears that there was a mechanical issue with the aircraft. 

Madeira informed the Commission of the significant changes to the airport minimum standards.  One is an addition of a new category: section 17, category 12 Standards and Procedures for FBO- category XII- Sport pilot flight instruction and LSA (light sport aircraft) rental. Another is E. NON-TENANT AERONAUTICAL OPERATORS- TEMPORARY PERMITS.  This allows the County to issue temporary permits for a fee.  Manager Madeira recommended that the Commission approve the changes.  The minimum standards have been revised twice, in 1994 and 2010.  Commissioner Blasi asked how the master plan relates to the minimum standards- Madeira answered that that is difficult to answer, but there needs to be an understanding of the two.

MOTION:  Approval of changes to the airport minimum standards policy in accordance with recommendation of the Airport Advisory Committee at their meeting on May 10, 2017 (Brown/Cark, 3-0 motion passed)

The motion today will support the change; there is no signature line on the document.

MOTION:  Approval of Lease agreement between County of Hancock, Maine and Biplane Rides over Atlanta, Inc. (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

They have requested to lease more office space; the original operating rights agreement was not amended because of the significant timing difference between the operating rights agreement and the lease.  If the primary operating rights agreement is void, the lease also becomes void.

MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to review Appointed/Exempt employee evaluation (Brown/ Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Break 9:56 am

Back in session 10:07 am


UT Supervisor Billings informed the commission of some potential permitting changes to the Land Used Planning Commission adjacency policy.  Billings reported that the solid waste pickup will continue in Fletchers Landing at the same price. 

MOTION: to approve the fire suppression agreement between Hancock County and Town of Burlington (Brown/Clark 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the fire protection agreement between the Municipality of Sullivan and the County of Hancock (Brown/ Clark 3-0 motion passed)

UT Supervisor Billings was directed to continue to negotiate with Franklin Volunteer Fire Department for coverage.  He was also directed to pursue the idea of an opt-out clause for Township 16 in the contract with Aurora, if coverage was available through the Franklin contract.

Supervisor Billings presented a letter addressed to the Tax Incentives Program Officer regarding TIF expenditures for Public Safety Improvements dated May 3, 2017.  He had hoped to present more information at this meeting but has not yet had a response from the letter.

Supervisor Billings presented the Commission with a draft proposal from EMDC regarding furthering the efforts of Hancock County for development of Fletcher’s Landing Township through the use of Tax Increment Financing of the Bull Hill Wind Project.  The Commission would like to have a workshop with EMDC to discuss the proposal in greater detail; the workshop will be held on June 20.


MOTION:  Approval to work Deputy Corey Bagley out of classification for 30 days with the corresponding pay increase per union contract (Brown/Clark, 3-0, motion passed) Sheriff Kane said it may go beyond 30 days, in that event he will communicate further with the Commission.

MOTION: Approval to accept transfer of forfeited assets as follows: State of Maine vs. Kenneth Gray in the amount of $4,160.00; State of Maine vs. Barry Glover in the amount of $8,519.00; State of Maine vs. Joshua Colson in the amount of $1,028.00 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  Approval to hire Cory Scribner of Bangor and Elizabeth Gilman of Franklin as part time corrections officers, on call as needed, at the rate of $12.00 per hour with no benefits, not to exceed 29 hours per week, effective June 3, 2017 (Brown/Clark, motion passed)

MOTION:  Approval to accept the resignation of Patty Smith effective May 6, 2017 (Brown/Clark, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION:  Approval to demote Heather Sullivan from the rank of Jail Corporal to the rank of corrections officer, from step 10-I-2 to 9-I-2, effective June 3, 2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

This is per Ms. Sullivan’s request; it is not a disciplinary action.

 MOTION:  Approval to promote Shaine Gross from the rank of corrections officer to the rank of Jail Corporal; from step 9-F-1 to 10-F-1, effective June 3, 2017.  (Brown/Clark, 3-0 motion passed) Officer Gross is currently working out of classification at the rank of Corporal

MOTION: to allow part time corrections officers to work more than 29 hours/week through September (Blasi/Clark 2-1 Brown opposed)

MOTION: Approval for a one time exception for Travis Frost to be allowed to go over on his vacation time (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Deputy Frost has been in K9 training for 14 weeks and unable to take any time off which caused him as of 6/2/17 to be at 172.172 hours with a max. allowed of 170 hours. He is scheduled for vacation the week of July 14. The next 5 weeks he will accrue an additional 12.360 hours, bringing his total to 184.532. Sheriff Kane will contact the Union to make sure there is not an issue. 


MOTION:  to approve the May GF, Airport, and Jail payroll Warrants #17-17, #17-18, #17-19 and #17-20 in the aggregate amount of $304,488.27 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  to approve May Courthouse, Airport and Jail expense Warrants #17-34, #17-35, #17-36, #17-37, #17-38, and #17-39, in the aggregate amount of $483,381.70 (Brown/Clark 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION:  to approve the May UT payroll Warrants #17-44, #17-45, #17-46, #17-47 in the aggregate of $1,359.10 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the May UT expense warrants #17-20, #17-21 in the aggregate of $12,538.70 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  to approve the May expenses in the health account of $177,814.25 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

There are no capital reserve account requests.

Discussion of MainePERS and Voya employer/employees contribution rates effective July 1, 2017: the new MainePERS and Voya employer contribution amount is 9.6%, the employee contribution rates remain at 8%.

Jail funding discussion:

There was some discussion on funding the jail; CA Adkins said we will not go over the cap for the calendar year, but that will certainly be an issue for the fiscal year.


David Linnell gave the monthly report.  He spoke about building security; he said there are too many entrance points in the building.  One solution is to limit some of those to employees.  Commissioner Blasi requested that the department include courthouse security expenses in the 2018 budget.

Discussion on retainer wall project: Lewis & Malm will attend the June 20, 2017 CSM to update the Commission on progress.

MOTION:  Approval to accept the resignation of custodian Maria Howard, effective May 27, 2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


RCC Director Renee Wellman gave her monthly report.  Director Wellman, CA Adkins, and Chief Deputy Pat Kane visited Mt. Waldo. Wellman submitted a document for a communications building with electrical specifications. The Commission agreed a wooden building would be most appropriate.  Wellman said the building would likely be placed within 5 feet of the tower.  Commissioner Clark thought the building would need protection from ice. Director Wellman was directed to contact Brown’s Equipment to order the equipment for the tower- she said it would take 6-8 weeks. Director Wellman will be running a help-wanted ad in the Ellsworth American for 2 weeks.

MOTION:  to accept the resignation of Jennifer Bolshaw as part time RCC Dispatcher, effective May 27, 2017 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  to accept the resignation of Karyn McCarty as full time RCC Dispatcher, effective May 21, 2017 (Brown/Clark3-0, motion passed)


Welch vs. Town of Brooksville tax appeal abatement deliberation:

Commissioner Clark referenced that the assessing agent Bane said appraisals could be sought for more than one purpose.  He felt the assessment was proper and fair, and that the appellant failed to show an impropriety and didn’t meet their burden of proof for granting an appeal.  Commissioner Clark also referenced the fact that the assessment was never changed for the prior owner. 

Commissioner Brown said the appellant had no signed appraisal from anyone.  He said anyone can do an appraisal, and the methodology used in that appraisal was not explained.  The appellant showed no comps in the same town, whereas the Town of Brooksville listed several comps and the methodology used in those comps was the same applied to the Welch parcel.  Commissioner Brown said the appellant didn’t point out why the appraisal was wrong, and he didn’t meet the burden of proof to say that the assessment was manifestly wrong.  Commissioner Brown said he could not find a flaw in the methodology used by the Town, and that it is problematic to use out of town sales.

MOTION: to deny the appeal of Welch, Paul & Elizabeth vs. Town of Brooksville

Based on the finding that the appellant failed to prove that the town overvalued the property of the appellant which caused an injustice (Clark/Brown 3-0 motion passed)

Old Jail decision- Associated Builders has been contacted by the historical society regarding an estimate to put netting on the old jail to reduce the risk of bricks falling.  CA Adkins informed the board that historical society requested financial assistance.

Commissioner Clark suggested we offer $2,500 from Community Benefit funds. Commissioner Brown said this was not fair as we did not open an application process to others. 

PSAP discussion- Some points were discussed regarding the County’s potential consolidation of PSAP.  Commissioner Blasi presented the following points for review:

  1. Our labor situation, space requirements, State plans, and Ellsworth/Trenton service needs are causing us to need a strategy that will allow us to continue to serve the interest of public safety. “State plans” references potential state consolidation.

      2. If we decrease the PSAP workload, why would we have space constrictions? The Commission agreed that if we did not have PSAP, our current space would be adequate.

  1. We are asking the public to endorse our release of PSAP responsibilities. Commissioner Brown said it was our responsibility to do the right thing for the public. Commissioner Clark agreed, saying it would be nice if the public understood the position of the Commission.

      4. We are asking the public to endorse our expanded dispatching capability, as shown in the Ellsworth situation. The Commission agreed that the word “recognize” would be better than “endorse”.

      5. We are interested in dispatch expansion without knowing how many customers we will have, but anticipate they will request our dispatch services. The Commission agreed that they are interested in expanding services, but are unsure of  how many customers to anticipate.

     6. To account for this uncertainty, we would charge all new customers an impact fee. Commissioner Blasi explained that this would be a “start-up” fee.  CA Adkins said this was in reference to the possibility that our facility would expand. Commissioner Brown said if we had all the towns come to us requesting dispatch services he would be in favor of putting this on taxation, but not if we were providing dispatch for some and not others. Commissioner Clark agreed, saying that unless we were providing dispatch services for the majority of Hancock County he would not want to see this on the tax rolls.

    7. Existing PSAP/Dispatch customers would continue to pay the same amount they have been, but it would cost us (more/less) to provide their current services. Commissioner Clark stated that first we need to reevaluate what we are charging, and establish some kind of criteriaThe Commission made a point to say that in their prior discussion it was not said that once we get rid of dispatch that we could pay our dispatchers less.  Any savings will not come from pay reduction. 

  1. Any surplus RCC revenues under #7 would go into reserve (but probably not for long). Commissioner Clark questioned this point, saying that there would not be a surplus.

June 20 there will be and a workshop held, with public comment open to those who have concerns. CA Adkins said it may be inevitable for the State to mandate consolidation.  There was some discussion on the difficulty of finding qualified personnel.  Commissioner Blasi referenced the line in CA Adkins report that local Police Chiefs and others had been calling to express concerns about the proposed PSAP change.  CA Adkins said he had been in communication with Chief Willis, and will meet with him.  Commissioner Clark said that our goal is to improve the status of RCC.  He proposed that the public comments on June 20 should open with informing the public that the Commission is looking at a plan to use move PSAP to Penobscot.

MOTION: Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to review Appointed/Exempt employee evaluations (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to discuss a personnel issue (Clark/Brown 3-0 motion passed)


County Administrator Adkins gave his monthly report.  


In the interest of time EMA Director Andrew Sankey was asked to give his presentation at another time.

MOTION: motion to adjourn 3:42 pm (Brown/ Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Executive Assistant to the County Administrator

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