The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

Adjustments to, approval of agenda:

MOTION: Add discussion of the capital improvement plan section of Dept 6 Maintenance (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add to agenda discussion on part time wages (Clark/Blasi motion withdrawn)

The Commission agreed to discuss the part time wage issue before any budgets were presented.

Commissioner Clark said considering the substantial amount of mandatory training the SO, RCC, and Jail employees are required to have, the part time wage should be the step A starting wage for that dept.  After looking at the 2018 wage scales, it was decided that this was too big a leap for now.  Commissioner Brown suggested developing a part time wage scale.  Commissioner Clark would like to see some kind of evaluation of the part time employee’s qualifications and experience, and award accordingly.  Chairperson Blasi recognized Register of Deeds Curtis. She said she was happy that the Commission was looking at wages, but doing it “one person at a time” was not good, that employees do not look upon it favorably.  Commissioner Clark said the Commission was avoiding doing exactly that.  Commissioner Brown said he was not ready to vote, and said to make it fair to all departments some sort of scale should be used.  He also wanted to know the impact on the 2018 budget before he votes.  Commissioner Clark suggested developing categories for part time positions.   CA Adkins will work on a policy reflecting these ideas.  Commissioner Brown would like to see a cost analysis regarding the 2018 budget.

Commissioners Budget Workshop:

Dept. 09- Deeds

Register Curtis explained the changes to the Commission.  A first look shows revenues are down 5.32%.  In discussion Register Curtis raised the surcharge line to $20,000 (an increase of $5,000)

Commissioner Clark suggested that the 3 reserve accounts (70-100 equipment 70-200 Technology 70-250 Copier Purchase) be lumped to one account.

Dept. 05- Treasurer

Treasurer Eldridge presented a first look at the budget.  Revenues are up by 23.77%.  This was largely due to a 51.17% increase to interest income.  Airplane excise tax was increased by 100%, due to the arrival of an expensive plane.  The PILT line had been posted to misc revenue in the past, but that has been moved to Dept. 51 town taxes. 

Expenditures- Commissioner Clark suggested that if the full time clerical position were approved, that it should be entirely financed by the dept. 4 budget.  Commissioner Brown was opposed to that.  Commissioner Blasi expressed that he would like a full time employee in that position, and as part of her job description the Administrator can bring her in to the Treasurer’s dept for work.  The audit line was significantly decreased, due to the lower price of the audit RFP that was accepted.

Dept. 02- Emergency Management Agency

Revenues: EMA Director Andrew Sankey explained that 50% of his budget is reimbursed by the State.  There was some discussion on the reserve transfers and whether that could be more than $1,500. 

Expenditures: the only increases are for personnel and related costs, otherwise the budget remains flat. 

Break 10:25

Back in session 10:32


Dept. 10 Sheriff

Sheriff Kane reviewed the revenues; they are down 59.16%. 

Expenditures- the director of standards and compliance line was down due to a retirement; Sheriff Kane said that was shifted to hire a new deputy.   The OT line was increased due to the base salary increase. There is a significant increase to the computer line; this includes $50,000 for Spillman IT and $10,000 for Ellsworth to host the Spillman server.  There was some discussion on moving the $50,000 and combining it with the line in the CC budget.

Dept.12 Town Contracts

Commissioner Clark said in his mind this should be 100% reimbursement.  He would like to see the revenues and expenditures balanced. 

Dept.13 Civil

Sheriff Kane said this was mostly flat, except for the increases on wages (per contract).  He referenced the civil process position, and that the amount of work justifies 40 hours per week for that position.

Dept. 46 Drug Task Force

Commissioner Clark suggested that the forfeitures line be increased by $50,000. Commissioner Brown suggested moving more to Dept 10 to reduce the increase.  Commissioner Clark was opposed to using DTF money for anything other than that dept. Commissioner Blasi asked if the private donor had contributed any more money toward the K9 program.  Sheriff Kane said he did not.  Commissioner Clark suggested taking some of the K9 line and transferring that to Dept 10.  Commissioner Blasi pointed out that the county is now covering the cost of the K9 program. 

Dept 11 Jail (CAP)

Jail Administrator Richardson said the Board of Prisoners- Federal revenue line was lowered, because what has been tracked for 2017 has been lower than projected.

Commissioner Blasi said he would like to explore going to 4% CAP.  Commissioner Brown said increasing that meant it goes to the taxpayers.  Commissioner Blasi said the jail’s expenses continue to rise, and we should show that.  Projected expenditures are $2,449,693.  There was some discussion on the accounts that are separated for the jail, but not other depts.  Commissioner Brown said this gives a true cost of the jail.  Jail Administrator Richardson said his dept was in desperate need of a van.  Discussion about buying a jail van will be on the Sept 12 agenda. Commissioner Blasi suggested raising the Building Structure line, rather than keep it the same.  JA Richardson will come back with a list of pressing repair projects. 

Break 12:34

Dept. 07- RCC

Revenues- a first look at the budget shows an increase of 23.92%, due to an increase in the contracts line.  Commissioner Clark suggested that RCC Director Wellman contact the agencies about the increase to their contracts.

Expenditures- Commissioner Blasi asked what we should pay a full time QA clerk, and if the job description should be changed to include supervisory duties?  Director Wellman suggested creating a 9th position which would cover admin, QA and dispatch, at $18.50 per hour, budget line of $38,500.  The uniforms/boots line was increased 150%; the purpose was to purchase new uniforms for the dispatchers.

COLA discussion-

The Commission agreed to a 4% cola at this point for non-union employees.


Dept. 4 Commissioners- The commission directed CA Adkins to add the entire full time position to the commissioners’ budget, removing half of it from treasurer dept.  There was some discussion on the proposed IT position. Commissioner Brown was concerned that one person would not be able to provide 24 hour coverage.  Commissioner Clark said he would like to have our own IT person who was Spillman trained; he would also like to see all the funding for computer support be in one budget, rather than separated among departments.

Dept. 16 Debt Service- there was some discussion on paying off the jail bond this year, using Community Benefit funds, and budgeting accordingly.  Commissioner Clark would like to hear more about that before a decision is made.  It will be discussed at the September 12, 2017 Commissioners’ regular meeting.

Dept. 20 Health Insurance- Commissioner Brown said he thought Scott McKee from Acadia Benefits should come in to present what numbers are projected before they are budgeted.  CA Adkins said we could make a start.

Review and revision of standing decision dated June 13, 2006 to adjust part time wages:

The Commission agreed to discuss the issue at the September 12, 2017 Commissioners’ regular meeting.

MOTION: to adjourn 2:33 pm (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Executive Assistant to the County Administrator

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