The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday July 2, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark and Wombacher in attendance.

The commission recognized Assistant Jail Cook Natalie Walker for ten years of service to the County.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: remove item 7. Probate from agenda (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: remove item 5(d) and replace with accept the resignation of Daniel Cox, effective July 6, 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move item 5(c) promotion of Natalie Walker to just ahead of 8:35 a.m. RCC Expansion discussion (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add item 8(h) review of Treasurer Agreement (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add to Maintenance (d) Bull Hill Generator discussion (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add to Commissioners (f) approval of Corrections Officers Union Contract (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: remove EMA from agenda (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi said he wanted this report sooner rather than later.

MOTION: approval to promote Natalie Walker to Head Cook effective July 6, 2019; rate of pay will change from $16.38 6-H-1 to $18.20 8-H-1 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

RCC Expansion Planning Discussion-

Architect Mike Sealander reported that he met with Owner’s Rep. Dave Witham and Facilities Director Walls to discuss procurement methods and whether to use a competitive bid process or construction manager.  Sealander explained that this is a complex project in that it is an existing building that is occupied and requires sequencing to minimize interruptions to ongoing work.  Because of this a construction manager would be beneficial.  He suggested that the commissioners allow them to procure the project using a construction manager.  Commissioner Clark questioned the process and the cost.  Sealander explained there are factors that protect the owner.  The construction manager guarantees the maximum price; one of his duties is to ensure the cost is never exceeded.  Commissioner Clark asked Witham how many times he has seen this arrangement.  Witham said it was not as common as bid projects, but there are advantages; he said his experiences with construction managers have generally worked out well. Witham said the county would select a construction manager who would be able to provide the service and the insights and would be able to make this project successful.  Sealander said they would be finishing the design and selecting the construction manager around the first week of August.  Commissioner Blasi said the agreement with Witham involved reviewing bids and questioned why this wasn’t the work of the owner’s rep.  Facilities Director Walls said Witham would still act as the county’s advocate.  Commissioner Clark expressed concern about determining the price of the project.  Sealander said prior to hiring, the construction manager would provide a price; if it’s a competitive bid process it’s difficult to reduce scope.  He said the contract is not signed before the project and budget are acceptable.  Commissioner Clark questioned the short timeline and its effect on the ability to attract a competent contractor.  Commissioner Blasi said he did not understand why we still need another entity.  Sealander said the only team member not in place is the contractor; we end up with a contractor either way- with the bid process or a construction manager at risk process- we are not adding another layer of administration.  Commissioner Clark said he would accept the construction manager process as a better alternative.  Commissioner Clark considered whether we should get this project going with an April 1 start date, as that may attract more people who are interested.  Sealander agreed.  Commissioner Clark asked the commission to consider allowing Sealander to seek this type of contractor, get a price agreeable to us, then have this discussion again with the idea of when this is going to start.   Commissioner Blasi suggested the second bullet point on the agreement be removed; he questioned where the term “construction manager” was referenced.  Commissioner Clark said both the commission and Witham understood what the owner’s rep would do.  Sealander said the intent of the language in the agreement would be the same if the word “bid” was replaced with “proposal” or “selection process” and the term “general contractor” with “construction manager”.   The amendments were made to the agreement.

MOTION: allow our architect to seek proposals from qualified contractors under a construction manager risk arrangement (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: accept the draft owner’s representative agreement with the changes to replace bid with proposal and to add the language of construction manager (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Approval of minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the June 4, 2019 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the June 18, 2019 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Monthly Report- Airport Manager Brad Madeira updated the commission on the status of AIP 41, AIP 42, AIP 43, and AIP 44; they should be closed out soon.  The loader has been repaired and arrangements are being made for transport back to the airport.  All the paving work associated with the 2019 Roadway Improvements Project has been completed.  The only remaining work is line marking on Caruso Drive and Ramp Road.

MOTION: approval for the Chairman to sign FAA grant offer for AIP Project No. 3-23-0006-046-2019 (’19 Crack Seal & Remark Airfield Pavements) (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval for the Chairman to sign FAA grant offer for AIP Project No. 3-23-0006-047-2019 (EA for easement acquisition and future obstruction (tree) removal) (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval to transfer $12,860.00 from Account G2-3040-00 (AIP Undesignated) to account G2-3040-46 (AIP Local Share) in order to fund the local share for AIP 46 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval to transfer $12,248.00 from account G2-3040-00 (AIP Undesignated) to account G2-3040-47 (AIP 47 Local Share) in order to fund the local share for AIP 47 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval of Lease Agreement II (renewal) with Biplane Rides over Atlanta, Inc. (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval for the Chairman to sign the MOU between County of Hancock and TVFD re: automatic response for aircraft incidents or accidents within the Town of Trenton (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approve the agreement between the Towns of Burlington and Lowell transfer station and the County of Hancock for Solid Waste services for Unorganized Territories for T3 ND, T4 ND and T41 MD north of Gassabias Stream (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve transfer of $10,000 from account E60-70-70-0100 Road Reserve to G05-3200-00 Road Reserve; transfer $500.00 from E60-70-70-0200 ENV Clean Up to G05-3405-00 ENV Clean Up; and transfer $2,500 from E60-70-70-0300 E9-1-1 to G05-3400-00 E9-1-1  (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve transfer between accounts as recommended by UT Supervisor Billings in a transfer report dated July 2, 2019 totaling $43,874.78 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the fire protection and emergency response agreement between Aurora Volunteer Fire Department and the County of Hancock for service in the townships of  22 and 28 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Billings said there is an increase because we are merging fire and EMS.

Supervisor Billings reported that he picked up the tractor attachments from Greenway Equipment; he will pick up the tractor today.

Break 9:56 a.m.-10:16 a.m.


Badge Request- Sheriff Kane said he would like to purchase a special edition badge for deputies to wear next year and would allow employees to keep them at the end of the year.  He would like to purchase 25.  He made reference to using a reserve account from an old drug case which has about $1,000.  Sheriff Kane said he was looking for an assurance that the commission would approve spending this from his budget or that the commission would contribute.  Commissioner Clark said he did not know how we could justify spending $2,800 in what equates to a gift for employees.  He would prefer that the deputies would continue to wear the badges.  Commissioner Blasi said he would support it but wanted to see an itemization of the accounts.  Commissioner Clark said the sheriff did not need approval for the badges.  Sheriff Kane said he would need to ask for approval to overspend a line.  The commission was not in favor of giving the badges to the deputies at the end of the year as a personal gift, although they agreed it was a nice gesture when one retired.  Commissioner Clark suggested having the anniversary year on the badge and the deputies would continue to wear them.  Commissioner Blasi said he was not supportive of supplementing the purchase with funds outside of the sheriff’s department.  Sheriff Kane said he thought he would have plenty of funds for the purchase in other lines.

Drug Testing- Sheriff Kane said it was prudent to begin looking at pre-employment drug testing and the possibility of random drug testing.  Sheriff Kane said it should be looked at county-wide for pre-employment.  Commissioner Clark said because there is a technical difference between law enforcement/corrections and non-law enforcement/corrections, they should be looked at differently.  Commissioner Clark suggested the sheriff look at polices for law enforcement and corrections but at some point the commission, along with HR and the County Administrator, would address this for other employees.  Commissioner Blasi said he expected at some point the sheriff would bring a draft policy for commission review.


MOTION: approval to hire Scott A. Jackson of Cherryfield 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 July 6, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approval to hire Garrett Giroux of Bangor 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 July 6, 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: accept resignation of Daniel Cox effective July 6, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


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

The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:

June GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #19-22, #19-23, #19-24, and #19-25 in the aggregate amount of $356,750.31;

June GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #19-41, #19-42, #19-43, #19-44,  #19-45, #19-46, #19-47, #19-48, #19-49,  #19-50, and #19-51 in the aggregate amount of $858,273.85;  

June UT Payroll Warrants #19-48, #19-49, #19-50, and #19-51 in the aggregate of $1,118.62;

June UT Expense Warrants #19-23 and #19-24 in the aggregate of $49,398.78

MOTION: approve June health insurance expenses in the amount of $191,022.07 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Amend the motion of June 18, 2019 with regards to the $24,000 buyout payable to Waldo County and establish an account entitled E 10-70-275 / Officer Buyout and the $24,000 buyout is spent from this newly established account (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

CA Adkins reported that the county audit contained an adverse opinion because we did not have the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) report.  The cost for the report would be $3,000 and must be done every 2 years.  Commissioner Clark suggested we make it a goal in two years to update the OPEB actuarial report.  Commissioner Blasi asked about a potential penalty; CA Adkins said he is not aware of any penalty beyond an adverse opinion.  The commission agreed to defer this task to next year and accept the adverse opinion for this audit.

MOTION: enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(E) to consult with our attorney regarding ongoing litigation (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Commissioners enter into mediation with all three Commissioners present in the matter of Hancock County vs. Hancock Wind, LLC (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1 Clark opposed)

Lunch 11:48-12:10

Treasurer’s agreement- 

CA Adkins presented an agreement he and Treasurer Boucher had discussed and both were in agreement with.  Commissioner Blasi questioned budgeting for this in two lines and said this is not two separate positions.  He said he could go along with the arrangement for the balance of the year but on January 1 would like to designate Boucher as full time treasurer and use this model again if needed.  Commissioner Clark said this represents a stipend for the Treasurer position and allows for additional compensation for bringing financial talent or a willingness to learn.  Commissioner Blasi said he liked this model but if a Treasurer did not want to follow this model they would be at odds again.

MOTION: increase Treasurer Boucher’s stipend from $100/wk to $200/wk effective the first pay week in July for the balance of 2019 (Clark/Blasi 2-0-1, Blasi abstains)


RCC Director Conary reported there is a loss of electrical power to the East Tower on Bull Hill due to transmission failure.  Conary spoke with the current operations manager.  He reported they are having difficulty locating a turbine.  Right now the site is being powered by a generator with battery backup for about 24 hours.  The generator is adequate for a couple of days; it is not designed to run continuously.

Director Conary met with Brown’s Communications to discuss mobile communications to continue 911 services.  This would allow on-site coverage for large incidents that require additional attention as well as added capability for continuity of operations.  Conary said we would use what we have as long as we can and start budgeting for a new system.

Brown’s Communications informed Director Conary that Motorola would cease lifetime support of our dispatch radio consoles at the end of 2021.  Any additional consoles must be ordered prior to October 2019.  Conary said the ability to expand our new system will be difficult due to lack of compatibility with newer equipment.  The equipment is required for the expansion project.

MOTION: recognize Brown’s as sole-source provider for the additional console we need (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: authorize RCC Director to purchase the 4th console from Brown’s Communications in the amount of $27,571 before October 2019 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Conary said Brown’s would continue to service as long as parts are available.


Facilities Director Dennis Walls said he has been occupied with ongoing projects.

Commissioners’ Meeting Room flooring proposal- Director Walls presented a quote from the Family Floor Store containing two options.  Walls said another available option would be to install vinyl composition tiles on the floor and carpet on the commissioners’ platform.  The commission agreed that they wanted a quote for the third option. 

MOTION: approve Family Floor Store as sole source provider for floor surfaces in the Commissioners’ meeting room based upon our past working relationship (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

The Family Floor store has successfully and satisfactorily completed several projects in the courthouse. 

MOTION: contract with Family Floor Store for floor covering for the Commissioners’ conference room to consist of vinyl composite tile in the gallery and Venture Galapagos carpeting tile on the raised platform in an amount not to exceed $4,500 (Clark/Blasi- motion and second withdrawn

Bull Hill- Assistant Facilities Director Dave Linnell visited the site with a technician.  The generator is now running but damage has occurred.  Director Walls will order the repair to be made.  Walls suggested installing a small solar array; he will verify that it will accommodate the required voltage. 


Community Benefits Awards Progress Reports- The commission agreed that the grant recipients should be reminded that a progress report should be submitted to the commissioners.

Brooks v. Cranberry Isles- CA Adkins said there is some indication that the parties are attempting to resolve the matter.  The commission agreed there is no action to take at this point.

Constantine v. Town of Dedham Tax Abatement Appeal deliberations-

Commissioner Blasi said the appeal is denied because the latest Maine Revenue Services annual report shows Dedham assesses within 98% of the sales value of waterfront properties.  Constantine property was assessed at less per square foot than the comparable properties contained in their appeal application. The Constantine property is considered as having less replacement value than those comparable properties.  Dedham is directed to correct the square footage area on the appellant’s property data/tax card, and to reply to assessment appeal requests in the required statutory timeframe.

Commissioner Clark said it appeared to him that there was no substantial disagreement on the value of the structures; most of the disagreement was on the land value.  He said the underlying problem is that the town has an objective assessment process while the property owners use a subjective process.   Commissioner Clark said Mr. Constantine used a bank appraisal, which is not always an indication of true value; the purpose is simply to assure the lender that the property is worth at least the amount of money to be borrowed.  He said this discredited some of Mr. Constantine’s arguments regarding the appraisal because it was done for a bank.  The sale prices of the comparables are done in a subjective manner, and no comp can be identical because some features would increase the sale price even though the town would treat them the same.  Commissioner Clark said the most common basis for an abatement request is an assessment error that results in over-valuation.  Dedham used the same process with this property as with every other property in Dedham.  Mr. Constantine may have shown the inequities involved in the objective process the town uses with everybody and the subjective process he uses for his specific property.  Commissioner Clark said for that reason he would not vote not to give Mr. Constantine an abatement.

Commissioner Wombacher said he agrees with both Commissioners Blasi and Clark.  He did not see any evidence that there was a different assessment done on the Constantine property compared to the other properties assessed in the Town of Dedham.  There was nothing improper or that did not fit the same guidelines used on other properties.  Commissioner Wombacher said part of the confusion and frustration is the fact that the land assessment is based on a formula that is not easily recognizable to the public.  He said he does not see any errors on the town’s part in their evaluation and is not in favor of changing the assessment or granting an abatement.

MOTION: the Hancock County Commissioners find the applicant failed to prove that the town overvalued their property which caused an injustice (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

HCPC appointment of Delegates to the Executive Committee-

MOTION: appoint Ian Schwartz and Philip Polk as delegates to the County Planning Commission Executive Committee (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, Clark opposed)

Commissioner Clark said he does not like the process that was just used.

Commissioner Blasi said Schwartz is from of Mt. Desert; Polk is from Township 32.

Commissioners Caucuses discussion- the commission reviewed the annual caucus requirements to elect members to the Budget Advisory Committee.  Caucuses will be held later in the summer or early fall. 

MOTION: approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the County of Hancock and the Corrections Division of Hancock County Jail retroactive to January 1, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to adjourn 2:04 pm (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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