The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday June 18, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark and Wombacher in attendance.

Deputy Jeff McFarland was recognized for outstanding service.  Earlier this year Deputy McFarland effectively used his skills and experience to save the life of a man threatening suicide. 

Jail Administrator Tim Richardson was recognized for being selected as Maine Sheriffs’ Association Manager of the year.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: remove 4. Probate and replace with 4. Treasurer (a). Request approval for a transfer from the Unorganized Territories Department to the General Fund in the amount of $500,000 with an interest rate of 1.51% (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: remove 9(c) exec session (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move agenda item 6(a) to be placed after public comment (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment: none


MOTION: Employ David Witham as owner/representative on the RCC Expansion project at a rate of $55 per hour (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark said Witham was clerk of the works when the current jail was built and served the county well.  He will start immediately and will give regular reports.  Witham said he will provide a monthly summary and will attend any meetings that are required.  Facilities Director Walls and Witham will supervise the bid process and RFP. Witham will be working as the county’s advocate in reviewing documents and procedures. 


MOTION: Approve the employment Mariza Gionfriddo of Trenton as full time patrol deputy at step 12C, effective June 29, 2019; the $24,000 to be payed to County of Waldo will come from 07-600 training account (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Sheriff Kane said to cover the $24,000 cost he wanted to overspend line 07-600 training.  He said there is money in line 01-130 to cover that and he would like to keep the current amount of $6,821 in line 07-600 training for other trainings this year.

MOTION: Approve Patrol Deputies’ Bonds as requested by DA Matt Foster (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the Chief Deputy’s Bond as requested by DA Matt Foster (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the Sheriff’s Bond as requested by DA Matt Foster (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Approval to hire Amanda Clemons of Bar Harbor as part time on call as needed corrections officer, at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits, not to exceed 29 hours per week, effective June 8, 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approval to hire James Singletary of Ellsworth as part time on call as needed corrections officer at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits, not to exceed 29 hours per week, effective June 8, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approve the Solid Waste Agreement for T7 SD with the Town of Steuben (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve the Solid Waste Agreement for T10 with the Town of Cherryfield (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve the agreement between Hancock County and the City of Ellsworth for fire protection and emergency response services (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

This contract regards services provided to Fletcher’s Landing Township.  Commissioner Blasi said he was pleased to see this transpire and is looking forward to partnership in this regard with the city.

UT Supervisor Billings said he received correspondence from Greenway Equipment.  New Holland will not be able to deliver the tractor until the beginning of November. Billings called the second lowest bidder; the dealer said he would attempt to find a tractor and get back to Billings. 

UT Supervisor Billings submitted a draft RFP for the Myra Road project for review.

MOTION: accept the proposed sealed bid application/RFP for the Myra road improvement (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve Salisbury survey for improvements to Nicatous parking lot (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Billings said the estimate for the data collection and the mapping services is $2,340; the option for layout will be an additional cost of $1,355.

TIF Budget Update- UT Supervisor Billings explained this is a work in progress; the TIF needs to be tracked for 30 years, TRIO works only in the current year. 

The commissioners’ tour of the UT is scheduled for July 9.


IT Systems Administrator Chuck Carter updated the commission with the status of the County’s systems and proposed changes, listed as critical and high priority.  The county’s firewalls are listed as critical for updates.  Carter said an estimate for the firewall on the Sheriff’s Department side was around $3,000.  There was some discussion on funding.  Chief Deputy Kane said he would be able to find that in the Sheriff’s Department budget.  Carter said several PCs need to be upgraded as end of life for this software type is January of 2019.  Carter is also comprising a plan and seeking quotes for backup and recovery.


MOTION: Approval for loan from UT to GF in the amount of $500,000 with an interest rate of 1.51% (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Approval of contract with Town of Trenton (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Break 9:46 a.m.-10:00 am

10:00 a.m. Constantine v. Town of Dedham tax abatement appeal hearing:

Commissioner Blasi explained the process of today’s hearing and swore in both parties.  Appellant Tim Constantine addressed the commission.  Constantine submitted comparables that he said demonstrated other properties were assessed at fair market value but his property (91 Pine Trail) was assessed at a higher price than fair market value.  The present assessed value of the property is $201,400.  Constantine is seeking $40,000 abatement, putting the value at $161,000.   Constantine asked the commission to recognize the attempted-sales history as well as the sales history of the property, the professional appraisal done by Value Services LLC, and the similarities and differences as well as the sales history of the comparables presented.

Mr. Dickey, assessor for the Town of Dedham, asked a series of questions about the professional appraisal.  Commissioner Clark asked Constantine if he had met with the town’s assessor to work this out.  The commission agreed to take a recess to allow the parties to discuss the matter privately.  Both parties agreed to this.  Upon return Mr. Constantine said Mr. Dickey has indicated he is not interested in any compromise regarding this matter.  Dickey said the town’s position is that they are assessing properties on the lake on an equal basis.  He said land is the biggest value of them.  Dickey said he chose 6 properties to compare with the subject property, all with similar acreage.  The assessed land value of each is within $5,000 of the others.  Dickey explained the process used to assess the properties and said the appellant has not demonstrated that his was assessed differently.   Commissioner Clark said Mr. Constantine needs to demonstrate specifically what the error was, and that it appears that the town used the same process for all the properties.  Commissioner Wombacher questioned how the land value was assessed.  Dickey referenced an exponential curve and said that is the way values are calculated in their assessments.  He said regardless of what the formula is, it is the same formula for all properties. 

Commissioner Blasi informed the parties that deliberations are required within 60 days and if the parties are not satisfied with the outcome they could take the case to Superior Court.  Deliberations were set for July 2, 2019. 

County Administrator

Update on MPERS contribution rates- Deputy CA Knowlton reported that Maine PERS contribution rates will change July 1 to reflect two AC plans rather than one- Regular Plan AC Age 60 Plan and Regular Plan AC Age 65 Plan.  The Age 60 Plan includes members who joined the plan prior to July 1, 2014 and has an employee contribution rate of 8.1% for FY20; the Age 65 Plan includes members who joined the plan after July 1, 2014 and has an employee contribution rate of 7.35% for FY20.  The employer contribution rate remains the same at 10% for both.

U.S. Census New Construction Program- the commission reviewed the material and took no action on this item.

Non Exempt wage scale:

MOTION: accept CA Adkins’ recommendation for changing the scale as follows: step A is the old step B; in steps F-J the number of years has been reduced to 2 from 3; add step L at the end of the scale; Janitor/Custodian moves from 4 to 5; Probate Clerk moves from 5 to 6; Deputy Probate Registrar moves from 8 to 9; DA Legal Secretary III moves from 5 to 6, effective June 29, 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

These changes apply to the non-exempt courthouse, airport and non-union jail scales.  CA Adkins said this would increase the expense side of departmental budgets, but on analysis most of them would be able to absorb it.


MOTION: In light of the fact that TB Equipment could not deliver the tractor on time we accept the bid from Ingraham of $36,477 with the same accounting (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Appeal Request / Brooks vs. Town of Cranberry Isles- Commissioner Clark suggested CA Adkins contact the town to determine their response to the complaint.

MOTION: to adjourn 12:03 pm (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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