The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

Public Comment regarding Proposed LUPC Adjacency Rule Change:

Four members of the public- John Greenman of Orland, Patsy Shenkle of Surry, Melonie Zader of Surry, and David Weeda of Bucksport- addressed the commission regarding the proposed LUPC Adjacency rule change. They referenced concern for the impact this may have on water quality and wildlife.  All four encouraged the commission to consider holding a public hearing regarding the issue.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: agenda item 6d for 11:30 this morning (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown suggested discussing the subject of holding the public hearing immediately, rather than waiting.

MOTION: move item 6d to before Airport (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark said he was hesitant to establish a forum for the public to express themselves on an issue the commission has no authority over. Commissioner Brown said when the Bull Hill wind farm project was in development, a public hearing was held even though the commission had no authority to rule on it, but the commission took a position.  He said this allows a forum for the public to attempt to influence the commission and a position they may take.  Commissioner Blasi said 2 other county commissions have made resolutions to the LUPC, and he agrees with Commissioner Brown.  He advocated that the commission adopt the resolution.

MOTION: to hold a public hearing on LUPC 1-mile adjacency principle petition adoption and a separate hearing on the solar farm notice of filing of zoning petition (Brown/Blasi 2-1, Clark opposed, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark said he is opposed because the commission does not have the authority; he does not believe it’s proper to establish a forum where the public already has a forum with the agency that is going to make the decision. Commissioner Blasi said when a zoning plan change is planned in a municipality the issue is often brought before the select board, knowing that the decision is made at the town meeting. Commissioner Brown said the commission is the government for the unorganized territories.

Request for space to use as Lawyers’ Lounge

Local attorney Valerie Chiasson, representing a group of several attorneys, requested space on the 3rd floor of the courthouse for use as a lawyer’s lounge.  They plan to include seating, a desk, computer and a printer, as well as a dorm sized refrigerator and a coffee maker.  Commissioner Brown asked about ADA accessibility.  Chiasson said this would not be used as a public space, the bar association would be a “private club” and would not be subject to the ADA.  She suggested that, as part of the lease, if it becomes an issue that someone could not use it because of access, they would back off the use of it.  Commissioner Brown said he did not have a problem with it.  Commissioner Clark said the cleaning and storage issues had not been resolved; he was not prepared to take a position.  The commission took a break to tour the space requested. Commissioner Clark called the meeting back to session.  CA Adkins said there are a couple of issues- a conversation with the courts needs to take place to determine their position.  A secondary egress due to emergency needs to be addressed.  He recommended that the commission not vote today, but continue to look into it.  The commission agreed to do that.


Update Airport Maintenance related job descriptions to properly harmonize following OSHA check- Madeira reported that OSHA revealed no issues with amending the job descriptions.

MOTION: to approve the following job descriptions and for the chairman to sign them: Maintenance/ Aircraft Rescue Firefighter (ARFF) job description; Lead Aircraft Rescue Firefighter (ARFF) job description; Aircraft Rescue Firefighter (ARFF) job description (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

The motion received an amendment (Brown) and second (Clark) to include “for the chairman to sign”.

MOTION: approval of the Land Lease Agreement between County of Hancock, Maine and Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron, ME038 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

PenAir has ADA ramp on airport premises- Manager Madeira approached them about selling that to the airport. He recommended purchasing the ramp, at a $450 with FAA participation.

MOTION: to approve the purchase of the ADA ramp from PenAir following the termination of their service, at $450 for local share (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown asked why this was outside the assets considered in bankruptcy. PenAir assured Manager Madeira said this is outside of the bankruptcy process and they are free to sell it. 

Van Dusen v. Town of Brooksville deliberation

Commissioner Brown said from the testimony he heard, he felt that the appellant did not meet the burden of proof to overturn the town’s assessment.

Commissioner Clark said he was bothered because there were 2 appraisals done on this property and both show the fair market value to be 75% of the assessed value, and he did not see how this could be discounted out of hand. He is not considering the difference of opinion regarding the appropriateness of one or two base lots, because of how they assessed waterfront 1 and waterfront 2, and there is not a dramatic difference produces by the calculation.  Testimony by the applicant said they purchased the neighboring property, and built on it.  At any point they could reestablish the line and sell that separately.  In his calculations the number does not meet the standard that it is manifestly wrong.  The town used the same methodology when they assessed other properties in the town.  He referenced the Tax Neighborhood; if the property had been in a different tax neighborhood it would have placed the assessed value much closer to the appraised value that the appraiser came up with twice.  He is of the opinion there is a strong possibility that this property has been over-assessed. 

Commissioner Blasi said the town of Brooksville has a 96% rating of accuracy and the original abatement request did not question the assessment, the applicant did not question the 2 lot approach, and the schedule is approved by the select board.

MOTION: deny the Van Dusen abatement (Brown/Blasi 2-1, Clark opposed, motion passed)

The parties were informed they would receive a written statement and had the opportunity to appeal the decision to Superior Court.


Jail funding:

Commissioner Blasi read the following statement: I see keeping the jail operating as the most immediate focus of fiscal resources. However the time may arrive when we should determine if there is a limit on how much our constituents want to pay for jail operations.  This determination would need to include provision for jail employees.  I want to do everything to keep the jail open as my top spending priority. 

CA Adkins said if the state does not provide funding, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be at stake, and we’ll have to make decisions on where to spend money.

Commissioner Clark said the discussion would lead to the cap, and whether we comply with it. Commissioner Brown said he thought we should go over the cap if we have to in order to keep the jail open; Commissioner Blasi agreed. 

MOTION: approval to promote part-time corrections officer Travis Young to temporary full-time effective May 19, 2018, at the pay rate of $14.00 per hour, with accrual of sick time, comp time, and holiday benefits; temporary full time status will end June 23, 2018 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to accept the resignation of David Davis effective May 22, 2018 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to administratively remove Anthony Moore from payroll (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

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

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


Discussion of LMA Day Yard Contract Supplemental Agreement #3- Commissioner Clark recommended that we did not enter into any agreement regarding the additional wall and let Lewis & Malm know. It was agreed by consensus not to accept supplemental agreement #3.

Discussion of propane tank location change order-   Facilities Director Dennis Walls reported that this is a no cost change order.  

MOTION: approve the recommended change order for the propane tank location (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Evacuation Drill update- Facilities Director Walls informed the commission that a courthouse evacuation drill was held, with a new meeting location. The evacuation time had improved to less than 4 minutes.


MOTION: to approve the contract between Hancock County Regional Communications Center and town of Orland (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi asked RCC Director Robert Conary when it will be the time to expand the RCC. Director Conary said we can’t bring more folks on board before we have the product in place; we could pick up a couple volunteer fire departments with what we have in place now.  Commissioner Clark said it wasn’t the lack of facilities- he thinks there will be indicators that it is time to expand, and at that point we can show sincere interest.  Commissioner Blasi asked what this contract did to staffing; Director Conary said it would have no effect, but if another dispatch came on, staffing would have to increase.  Commissioner Blasi asked about the minutes regarding EFDs being dispersed, if that generated anything.  Director Conary said several fire departments expressed interest, but would have to go through their municipalities for that decision. 

County Administrator:

Discussion- health insurance- there was discussion on the high cost of health insurance, as it continues to rise. CA Adkins and Deputy CA Knowlton will meet with Scott McKee of Acadia Benefits to discuss strategies for future health insurance costs. 


Frenchman Bay Partners Annual Report- Commissioner Blasi spoke about the 610 Project to try to open closed flats. He referenced the area from our ramp to the Route 3 bridge, which has been closed to clamming and worming for a long time.  He was concerned that the closure may be due to our operations, or our tenants.  He wanted to petition Department of Marine Resources to give us an indication as to what we should do.  Commissioner Clark said if we are contributing to the flats being closed, he would like an independent study to determine that.

The commission agreed to support any efforts of the 610 committee to investigate why the area was closed between the ramp and the bridge.

There was some discussion on No Discharge Areas.

Revision of April 3, 2018 CRM minutes

MOTION: to revise the minutes of the April 3, 2018 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting to include “The $10,000 limit will be applied only to Director Sankey’s card” in the Treasurer section of the minutes(Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Community Benefit grant cycle discussion

Commissioners Blasi and Brown agreed that it was too soon to begin; there were concerns about the undetermined costs of health insurance and jail funding. Commissioner Clark expressed dismay regarding the decision; he said Community benefits are a benefit to the community. 

MOTION: postpone the community benefit grant cycle (Blasi/Brown 2-1, Clark opposed)

MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) for exempt employee evaluation (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to sign the County Administrator contract version #1 which takes us to December 31 of this year (Blasi/Brown 1-2, Brown and Clark opposed, motion fails)

MOTION: Sign the Employment Agreement (the highlighted version) in the meeting book, but remove 2a and 2b, insert the word “minimum” when talking about 2019 annual salary, and that this be effective until December 31, 2019, and to include a minimum of the annual salary in addition to the annual COLA (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed)

Clark amended the motion to include the minimum of the annual salary in addition to the annual COLA, Brown seconded the amendment. Commissioner Blasi said he wanted to sign a contract today and negotiate when they know more about the treasurer’s position.

MOTION: approve the side letter between county commissioners and Scott Adkins with regards to the one-time $7,500 stipend (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi said he opposed the motion for the same reason given in the meeting on May 1, 2018.

MOTION: to adjourn 1:30 pm (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,


Rebekah Knowlton,

Deputy County Administrator

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