The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

Adjustments to agenda:

MOTION: Take item 3 out of order (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Move item 6 to 7a (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment: none

Employee recognition:

Deputy Sheriff Travis Frost was recognized by the Commission for 5 years of service to Hancock County.

Major Richard Bishop was also recognized and presented with a plaque for his 30+  years of service to Hancock County.


MOTION: approval of the 3 year Tremont contract (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark wanted the record to reflect there is a $1.50 per hour increase in each subsequent year.


MOTION: approval to hire Jeremy LeClair from Bucksport, ME as Part-Time Lead Aircraft Rescue Firefighter (LARFF) for up to 24 hours per week effective on October 30, 2017 at $12.50 per hour to be later increased to Step 9A of the Airport / Non Union Jail County wage scale as of the first payroll for the year 2018 in accordance with the Part Time Wages Policy that was approved on 10/3/2017 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  approval for the Airport Manager to travel out of State on 10/31 for an FAA conference in the Boston area (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Reserve accounts review:

The following accounts were discussed because it was unclear why the accounts were established to begin with; to determine if there was some purpose intended for the money. 

3011-01 Technology- Commissioner Brown said he believed this was used to purchase computers for all departments.   There was some discussion about using this to pay for computers and technology, or using it for an IT position. There has been recent activity in this account.

3014-10 Finance Tech- there has been no action in this account since 2013.  Commissioner Clark would like to close out the account and move the funds to the computer technology account.  Commissioner Brown wanted to know more about the account before action was taken.  The item will be placed on the agenda again; the Commission will consider taking action when there is a clear understanding of the original intent of this account.

 The remainder of the accounts in question will be considered on future agendas as time permits.

Acadia Benefits presentation

Scott McKee from Acadia Benefits gave the Commission a first draft of 2018 cost projection.The 2017 average cost per employee, per month, is similar to that of 2016.  McKee reported that since 2006 it is clear medical inflation is affecting the plan, and that should be addressed.  The new wellness program will help to address that. McKee recommended that Hancock County budget for an increase next year.  The wellness program will change this over the next several years.  There has not been much change to enrollment; we have approximately 80 covered employees.  McKee explained we have two types of reinsurance- one for each individual on the plan, one for the entire plan.  There will be an 8% increase to the administration fees, which are fixed costs. 

McKee briefly described the new wellness program. The Meritain team will be administering the program, and the employees will interact with Meritain.  Commissioner Clark expressed concern that the materials do not indicate that this is an ongoing program.  He wanted to make it clear that this is an annual payment- not a monthly one. McKee said he would communicate with Meritain to make that clear in the materials.  Commissioner Brown referenced the buy-out policy, and that it should state that this wellness program is not available to those participating in the buy-out. 

10 a.m. Tax abatement appeal hearing- Croce vs. Town of Dedham

Audio recording available upon request.

Robert Croce and his wife Jill were in attendance.  Herb Dickey, assessor’s agent for the board of assessors for the Town of Dedham was also in attendance.  Commissioner Blasi administered the oath to all parties. 

Commissioner Clark questioned the 60 day requirement.  CA Adkins said the Commission has traditionally allowed for mailing days.  Commissioners Brown and Blasi were satisfied that the requirement had been met. 

Robert Croce referenced a meeting with RJD Appraisals, and said that he asked the Town numerous times for any reports that they had from his meeting with RJD. He said he had no idea what his assessment was based on, and he had no contact with Mr. Dickey or with anyone in the town office after that until 8 months later when he received the letter from the town denying the abatement.  He presented several examples of what he considered comparable properties to his own.  Commissioner Clark said the land value of the 4 comps submitted by Croce were very similar to the subject  property.  Croce said the other comps were submitted to show that the town allowed abatement requests on those properties.  Commissioner Brown asked if an independent appraiser had valued Mr. Croce’s property. Croce said that did not happen.  He said similar properties were allowed abatement requests, and his was denied.  Mr. Dickey did not have questions for the appellant.

Mr. Dickey said the Dedham Board acted on the appeal of Mr. Croce on October 6, 2016, but the letter of response did not go out until June of 2017.  He said the abatement application given by Mr. Croce did not include any comparisons to other properties.  Dickey’s recommendation was to deny the appeal based on the absence of evidence.  Dickey said he would strongly consider reducing the amount of valuation if Mr. Croce had produced the evidence in his application of appeal.  The Commission questioned the parties regarding a way to work this out so it would be agreeable to both parties, rather than continue the hearing.  Commissioner Brown said it was important for the parties to understand that once the Commission makes a decision, the only way to overturn that was to go through Superior Court.  Commissioner Blasi said the Commission has 30 days to deliberate, and would notify the parties of progress.  He then closed the hearing.


MOTION: to approve the probationary employee agreement regarding separation of service between Hancock County and Rebecca Wilber effective October 13, 2017 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

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

Commissioners have come to a tentative agreement with the RCC regarding a union contract.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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