The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday June 4, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark and Wombacher in attendance.

RCC/911 Director Robert Conary was recognized for 10 years of service to the County of Hancock.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: Remove Recognition of Deputy Jeff McFarland (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  Add to Maintenance f. Approval to hire Becky Sutherland of Sullivan as full time janitor at step 4C $12.76 per hour, effective June 8, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment: none

Approval of minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the May 21, 2019 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Airport Manager Madeira reported that representatives from the airport, HCRCC, airlines, the Red Cross, and other Emergency First responders participated successfully in an emergency functional exercise on May 8.  Madeira reported that the liability insurance for the airport has been expanded and that recent claims and industry-wide increases in aviation insurance contributed to a higher premium.  The expanded coverage is for medical malpractice.  All ARFF employees are EMTs and could be working in that capacity, involving significant exposure to liability. New taxi permit options become available July 1.  Madeira explained that the airport’s standards for Taxi Operators have been upgraded.  Columbia air service will be switching fuel brands; this will have no significant impact on the airport. A local artist group has a new display in the terminal building; Jill Constantine worked with SevenArts to make this happen.  If artists are interested in a display in the terminal building they should contact airport Manager Madeira.  Drainage issues were discovered in the spring due to a break in the underdrain system along the runway.  It was repaired and is draining correctly.  KJ Dugas completed ditch work along Caruso drive and completed paving work outside of Gate 3.  There is no significant cost increase for the added areas.  Silver Airways seasonal Air Carrier service resumed on May 23; everything is going well.  The commission reviewed a transfer request form regarding the 2019 Airport Road Improvements project at the airport.

MOTION: airport manager be authorized to transfer from G 2-3010-20 a total amount of $129,790.00 into revenue account R 40-940 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to discuss retiree benefits (Blasi – motion fails for lack of second

All parties involved agreed that the discussion would be held in open session.  Both Tim Cote and Michelle Cote agreed to discuss the item without union representation present.

Michelle Cote and Timothy Cote requested clarification from the commission regarding their individual retiree health insurance benefits.  They wanted assurance that the benefit of health insurance upon retirement would not be applied differently to them because they were a married couple.  The commission agreed that both qualified for a single subscriber plan upon retirement and that a letter indicating this should be place in their personnel files.   

MOTION: sign document presented to us by Rebekah which articulates Tim Cote’s health insurance coverage upon retirement (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: sign document presented to us by Rebekah which articulates Michelle Cote’s health insurance coverage upon retirement (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


UT Supervisor Millard Billings reported that the roads have been unposted.  Billings will meet with the fire chief and city manager next Tuesday regarding the fire agreement with the city of Ellsworth.  Billings proposed some work on the Myra Road including cutting back the edge of the right of way and some work with ditching and culverts.  The Myra Road is within the Hancock Wind TIF district and the work could be funded through that; the project would require an RFP.

MOTION: UT Supervisor be permitted to go out to bid for a right of way ditching and culvert project on the Myra Road (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

UT Supervisor Billings proposed work to enlarge the Nicatous parking lot.  This would begin with the design and permitting, with construction occurring in the fall.  The Nicatous Road and a one acre parking lot are covered in the Bull Hill TIF agreement; the current parking lot is approximately half an acre.  Billings recommended expanding that to one acre so it is completely covered in the Bull Hill TIF.

MOTION: UT Supervisor be permitted to go out to bid for enlargement of the Nicatous parking lot (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

The Graham lake boat launch ramp project is ongoing.  The LUPC site law certificate was issued for Weaver Wind on April 2, 2019.  The town of Burlington signed the solid waste agreement and sent it to the town of Lowell for their selectmen to review and sign.  Billings has not yet heard from the Town of Steuben regarding their agreement.

MOTION: sign the Solid Waste Agreement for Eagle Island with the Town of Deer Isle (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: sign the Agreement between the Town of Sullivan and Hancock County to provide Solid Waste services to Tunk Lake area of T7SD (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: sign the Agreement between the Town of Franklin and Hancock County to provide Solid Waste services to the residents of T9 & T10 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

The commission discussed future budgeting for orthoimagery.  During budget season $18,000 had been approved in the UT budget to cover the UT portion.  The county portion had been approved using Community Benefit funds but the commission agreed they may reconsider the funding source. The issue will be revisited when more information about the invoicing becomes available.

Break 10:04 am – 10:14 am


MOTION: Enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to review a personnel matter (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approval for Jail Cook Natalie Walker to work out of classification for 30 days (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Walker will be moving to the head cook position with a 3% increase of regular her regular hourly wage.


MOTION: approve the warrants as shown on the Treasurer’s memo to the commission (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:

May GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #19-17, #19-18, #19-19, #19-20 and #19-21 in the aggregate amount of $434,196.40;

May GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #19-32, #19-33, #19-34, #19-35,  #19-36, #19-37, #19-38, #19-39, and #19-40 in the aggregate amount of $701,561.33;  

May UT Payroll Warrants #19-43, #19-44, #19-45, #19-46, and #19-47 in the aggregate of $1,750.00;

May UT Expense Warrants #19-21 and #19-22 in the aggregate of $6,512.38

MOTION: approve May health insurance expenses in the amount of $304,053.27 (Wombacher /Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


The commission reviewed a request for transfer of Escrow (G accounts) funds.

MOTION: Transfer from G 1-3011-00 $241,565.00 to revenue accounts R 06-901 through R 06-905 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Facilities Director Walls reported that he met with Dave Witham regarding construction administration of the RCC Expansion project.  Witham expressed interest and will submit a proposal including an hourly rate.  He had served as clerk of the works on previous major projects for the county.

Propane bid opening- one bid was received.  The bid was from Dead River Company and listed:

Standard bid: for base price per gallon as of April 30, 2019 $0.5175; additional charges per gallon $0.4250; total bid price per gallon $0.9425

Alternate bid method $1.0832

There was some discussion on the difference between the standard bid and the alternate bid.  Director Walls was directed to gain clarity on the difference and report that to the commission.

Foundation repairs cost update- after contacting several companies only KJ Dugas submitted a proposal.  The proposal included estimates for Drainage Improvements at a price of $11,825.00; Island Removal at a price of $4,300.00; and Sidewalk Replacement at a price of $4,550.00. Commissioner Clark questioned the necessity of removing the island (located in the parking lot of the DA’s offices).  The commission went together to view the proposed project.  After site review the commission agreed the project was necessary.

MOTION: approve the contract with KJ Dugas for the three projects not to exceed $20,675 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Screening Report- Walls submitted screening data received from Court Marshal Travis Oakes.  Over a period of 18 screening days 3,755 people were screened and 130 items were confiscated.  Walls reported that the door has arrived for the new employee entrance and he is still waiting for the contractor.  A building assessment paid for by the state will take place sometime later this year; part of this is to determine functional use of building space. 

MOTION: approve the transfer request from G 1-3011-00 Building account in the amount of $20,675 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION:  Approval to hire Becky Sutherland of Sullivan as full time janitor at step 4C effective June 8, 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

RCC Plan discussion- RCC Director Conary worked with Mike Sealander and developed a basic layout of the space. 


RCC Director Conary reported that two dispatchers received awards at the National Emergency Numbers Association Conference.  Conary met with the engineer regarding heating & cooling power requirements for RCC equipment.  Director Conary and EMA met with Brown’s Communications to discuss available funding to begin an improvement/replacement project for aging radio assets. 

Lunch 12:37 -12:56

Facilities Director Walls recommended the commission accept the standard bid offer for propane from Dead River.

MOTION: approve the 3 year bid from Dead River for propane with the additional .4250 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(D) for Union Contract negotiations-Corrections Officers (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) for exempt employee’s annual performance review (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

County Administrator:

Documents for the Health Reimbursement account through Group Dynamic, Inc. have not yet been received; they will be reviewed when submitted by GDI.

Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance for new hires- The commission agreed that the county would not pay the life insurance premium through Mutual of Omaha for new hires who were not receiving the benefit as of June 30, 2019; however, employees who have been receiving the benefit of life insurance through Mutual of Omaha would continue to have the premium paid by the county through the end of this calendar year.  The benefit of the Mutual of Omaha life insurance policy is 1x the annual salary.

MOTION: All new hires receive the life insurance benefit offered by Allegiant Care; those employees who were receiving life insurance coverage through Mutual of Omaha as of June 30, 2019 will be grandfathered to continue to receive the benefit through 12/31/2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

At the end of the year the county will terminate life insurance coverage through Mutual of Omaha and will cover the difference between the $25,000 policy through Allegiant Care and the amount of an employee’s salary if a claim was made.  The effect is that upon the death of an active employee, their beneficiary would receive a total of 1x that employee’s annual salary.  Official action regarding this will take place later in the year.

MOTION: to adjourn 2:30 p.m. (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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