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 20, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

Adjustments to agenda: none

8:30 a.m. EMDC Presentation

Kitty Barbee and Michael Aube from Eastern Maine Development Corporation presented to the Commission a proposal regarding economic development for Fletcher’s Landing Township through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) of the Bull Hill Wind Project.  Aube said it consists of a typical economic development process.  He said this is a work in progress, and would like to get the reaction and input of the Commission. Phase 1 of the project includes the following:

  • Development of advisory committee- a mix of real estate and legal people, public input, 6 people at the most
  • Real property inventory- current landowners, availability, infrastructure- what would be needed to trigger economic activity
  • Survey development and deployment- identify potential key stakeholders
  • Quiet Focus group- to get into more detail and depth
  • Stakeholder engagement- people who would be impacted by this- community, business
  • Other work as determined by Advisory Committee

Deliverables for Phase I include:

  • Identification of incentives for development initiatives
  • Identification of targeted market for development
  • Fact sheet creation

The expected total cost for Phase 1 is $25,000.

MOTION: to contract with EMDC for Phase 1 of the Fletchers Landing TIF proposal (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi asked about zoning being included in the proposal.  UT Supervisor Billings explained zoning in the UT was determined by the LUPC. Billings said the TIF district was a strip on the east side of route 179, and that the west side of Route 179 was all shoreland zoning so it wouldn’t be open to commercial development.   Commissioner Brown said one of the things spoken about in the beginning was medical supplies, something that has minimal impact.  Billings said it did not need to be all commercial; affordable housing was a potential option. 


Lewis & Malm report on jail wall

Charles Earley of Lewis & Malm Architecture gave the Commission a 50% Design Submission for the Hancock County Jail Day Yard Renovation Project of the jail retainer wall.  Currently the project is on schedule based on what was asked.  Earley said the target was to take it out to bid by the end of July or sooner.  The report included 3 alternate bids items (ABI). The base bid of $170,000 does not include the 3 ABIs.

  • ABI #1: Snow-melt system
  • ABI #2: Permeable paving
  • ABI #3: Concrete dowelling

Earley said due to over salting, the retaining wall has been deteriorating. There was some discussion on using salt in the yard and its impact on the deterioration of the wall.  Commissioner Brown would like to look at using solar as an energy source.  Facilities Director Dennis Walls was directed to look into the condition of the chiller currently in use.  According to the timeline, the chiller would be removed in September; this was not a time the jail would be able to be without a chiller. 

Earley would like to come back to the Commission the last week of July with an update.  He asked that the commission define how they would like to handle the alternates.

Break 9:53

Back in session 10:02 a.m.

Public comments and workshop on PSAP

NOTE: these comments are summarized; full audio is available upon request.

At this point Chairperson Blasi opened the meeting to public comment regarding the PSAP discussion. 

Jim Schatz, Blue Hill selectman and member of the County Budget Advisory Committee, said he was convinced there will not be money savings, it will be at the expense of timeliness and response time, and that efficiency would be affected in a very negative way. Commissioner Clark asked if anyone would like to speak on delays.  Rolly Means of Hancock County RCC gave the Commission a compilation of response times, referencing EMD protocols. Means spoke about cell phones and plotting, and the problems with the landscape and shortage of towers, particularly in Acadia National Park.  He said moving PSAP would not lessen workload, referencing response times, chances for calls to be dropped, and the advantage of having local knowledge.  He said he doesn’t believe this will be helpful in terms of staffing, and explained the process of adding a call to the system. 

David Kearns, Bar Harbor Police Dept, spoke about the financial investment that his organization had in Spillman, and would like to have a “voice at the table”.  Commissioner Brown asked Chad LaBree from Penobscot about Spillman.  LaBree said while Hancock and Penobscot counties both operate on a Spillman system, they are two totally independent servers; they don’t “talk” to each other.  He said this can be done; there is an interface that can be purchased so that information goes back and forth. 

Tom Morris, asst. fire chief town of Brooklin, said he also works in the insurance business.  Morris said there were a number of places that could not get insurance in the standard markets, because of rural areas, the extended response time could make this problem worse.  Commissioner Clark stressed that a decision has not yet been made.

Jeff Miller, Director of Peninsula Ambulance Corps in Blue Hill said he would like the Commission to consider that when the response is delayed, the public holds the responders responsible, and in a very public way. 

Peter Vogell, Selectman for the Town of Castine and asst fire chief, said he wanted to back up what the last two speakers said. 

Bill Wiegmann, President, Board of Trustees for Memorial Ambulance in Deer Isle, said he would like to back up what the other speakers said.  He said he thought that the idea of splitting PSAP from the rest of dispatch seems to be contrary to what has been state policy for years, and that this seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Glenn Moshier, Chief of police in Ellsworth said he wanted to clear up a misconception concerning their current dispatch.  He said about a year ago they contracted with Hancock County RCC for the midnight dispatch shift, and that it was out of necessity due to personnel.  He said some misinformation was printed in the newspaper regarding hiring.  He spoke about hiring and compensation as a deciding factor. He asked Chad LaBree of Penobscot what Penobscot’s plan was for staffing if PSAP should be relocated to Penobscot County.  LaBree said right now they are fully staffed and they would plan on bringing on additional personnel upon taking on Hancock County PSAP.

David Carter Fire Chief Town of Sedgwick said he hopes the Commissioners won’t make a hasty decision on this.  He thought that many others who could not be here today would like to have a voice.  He said we have great dispatchers in Hancock County, moving the PSAP would take one piece out of that picture. 

David Kearns of Bar Harbor Police Department said he has some concerns about who would bear the burden of fiscal responsibility, and they would like a voice and some consideration in what happens with the Spillman interface.  Fred Ehrlenbach, selectman Town of Trenton and Budget Advisory Committee member, questioned the goal of cost savings.  County Administrator Adkins said that has never been the goal, and it is not going to save any money.  Erlenbach asked why we are doing it.  Commissioner Brown said we didn’t want to get into that now, but the Commission wanted to hear what the public had to say.  He said if we don’t move PSAP we’ll have to build a new building, that’s one of the areas the commission has been looking at, and that it was the responsibility of the Commission to look ahead at things like consolidation.  Commissioner Clark said there are a number of issues right now in the RCC, and moving PSAP was an idea that was looked at to address the issues; a decision has not been made and there are several components to look at.  Sean Geagan, police Chief town of Bucksport, said that the Town of Bucksport bought into the records management system at a very difficult time for the town and that he does not think they will find a more efficient system for the citizens of Hancock County.

Richard Tupper, Chief of Ellsworth Fire Dept, expressed frustration at not having been informed about this discussion, and thought that more agencies should be able to add input.  Commissioner Blasi said that each municipal clerk gets all Commissioners’ meeting agendas.  Tupper said he wanted to support having our own PSAP in the area, with dispatchers who are familiar with our area and personnel.

Bob Conary, Hancock County RCC dispatcher and fire chief, Town of Orland- spoke about fire protocols. He wanted to know who would be responsible for the multi-level agency issues that we have, with call sharing, different ambulance services, and different fire departments all being dispatched by separate agencies. 

Vaughn Leach, Selectman of Blue Hill, thanked the commission for the opportunity to hear more about this, and wanted to echo what was already said.

Sheriff Kane said he wanted to thank everyone that came and to thank the Commissioners for listening.  He said he had gotten a lot of calls from concerned citizens. He referenced the Spillman user group.  

Chairperson Blasi closed the public comment session.

Commissioner Brown said he would like more information regarding the interfacing with Penobscot, to address the concerns of the police and fire depts.  Commissioner Clark thought we could have a round table discussion with the Commissioners and some of those who have technical expertise.

Lunch 11:36

MOTION: to approve the hire of Darren Nadeau of Winterport as part time janitor, at $12.00 per hour, effective June 24, 2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Unorganized Territory:

MOTION: to approve the 3 year fire protection agreement between Aurora Fire Department and the County of Hancock (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

UT Supervisor Billings recommended the CC approve the contract with Aurora.


Mount Waldo building quote review

Director Wellman presented the Commission with estimates for the Mt. Waldo Project from Sinclair Builders and Gary Taylor. Director Wellman was directed to get one more quote, including the hourly rate. There was some discussion on funds that may be needed to replace the console.


Discussion of funding of over-budget significant jail building expenses:

Richardson informed the Commission that the building maintenance line had been overdrawn, and we are halfway through the year.  He referenced several upcoming projects that will need funding.  The freezer door needs to be replaced, at an estimate of $2,500.  The Commission agreed that the door should be fixed now, and the account could be overdrawn.  JA Richardson reported that the in-house drug rehab program is doing well. 


MOTION: Approve an extension of 60 days of working out of classification for Corey Bagley (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


Register Coughlin informed the Commission that she completed the 6 month review for Juliette Wilbur.  She is requesting of the Commission to approve classification and pay rate change of Juliette Wilbur, upon 6 month review, to Grade/Step 5E $13.45 per hour, effective June 3, 2017

MOTION: elevate Juliette Wilbur to grade 5 step C effective June 3, 2017 and recognize that she be elevated to step D upon her annual employment date, provided she have continued satisfactory performance (Clark/Blasi 2-1, motion passed, Brown opposed)

Commissioner Clark said that upon hire, Wilbur could have started at grade 5 step C, and this action was giving her what she would have gotten if that had been the request of the department head upon her hire.


Old Jail decision

Commissioner Brown suggested that CA Adkins contact the city of Ellsworth to find out what permits we need for paving, get an estimate for paving, and find out where we’re going to find the money for the paving.  Contractors will be contacted for quotes to pave, and the historical society will be notified.  The quotes will be reviewed on July 11.

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

The July Commissioners’ Regular Meeting is scheduled for July 11, 2017

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

MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) personnel matter- County Administrator one year performance evaluation (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)


EMA Director Andrew Sankey gave a presentation to the Commission, illustrating how federal funding affected his department. 

MOTION: to adjourn 3:14 p.m.  (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Executive Asst. to the County Administrator

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