The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday August 6, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark and Wombacher in attendance.

Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Conservation Program

Received initial communication from Gary Edwards of Sullivan and then we received a letter from Dick Fennelly of Lamoine.

A little historical background.  The State offers an opportunity for municipalities to have shellfish in their community to be involved in the management of that.  If a town or city decides they want to do that there is authorization and public law.  The town then has to adopt an ordinance to make it a shellfish program. One of the more important parts of that is you need to provide enforcement of the ordinance and the State laws.  Town of Sullivan many years ago tried to have its own ordinance and it lasted about two years. They couldn’t raise enough revenue in one small town to support the program.  Many communities around Frenchman Bay were experiencing the same issue and to the detriment of the clam harvesters and the clam shellfish resource in the region.  When most of the state is closed for Red Tide closures we were wide open but had no way to regulate who fished, who clammed and what they took. In a period of about four years we went from a healthy resource, good living for a bunch of diggers to virtually nothing.

Seven communities spent about a year developing the program and getting authorization and getting it up and going.  Most of the seven communities were very small and to try and take on the amount of work it takes to manage the program as far as selling licenses, tracking finances, Ellsworth was the logical option to take it on and they have been doing to ever since. We ended up with a full-time warden with benefits.

It has been ten years since we started this, more or less. The fact that there are no flats in Ellsworth and no harvest in Ellsworth the city began to worry about liability issues and decided it was time for them to give this up. It now puts it back on the municipalities.

The joint board and resource committee agreed that it might be better to have two part-time wardens with no arrest powers.

We are asking the County to take on the roll of employer.  Working with us to hire two somebodies and come up with a way to provide supervision.

Commissioner Clark asked about the lottery system.  The lottery system is just for non-residents.

No limit on resident licenses.

All commercial licenses are obtained through Ellsworth.  The town municipalities provide recreational licenses.

Commissioner Wombacher asked if there was an estimate on the cost of two part-time wardens.  They have not worked that up yet.

Commission Clark said next step should be a detailed process. Would like to form a small committee to study the elements and components of what the County is getting into.  Commissioner Clark is willing to serve on a committee along with Scott Adkins and Tammy Mote.

City Manager spoke on behalf of the City of Ellsworth

Chief Glen Moshier of the Ellsworth Police Department spoke on behalf of the law enforcement end.

Kathleen Rybarz, Lamoine Town Selectman spoke on this issue on behalf of the Town of Lamoine.

Commissioners are in agreement of forming a committee.

Adjustments to the Agenda: None.  Commissioner Clark did not have an adjustment but wanted to make a comment about Agenda.  Agenda Item #11b we are asked to consider a resolution of the Graham Lake Dam.  I am concerned that we are picking and choosing those people who get an agenda item as opposed to those people who we have said take your position to the three minute Public Comment section.

If we do not have regulatory authority over the issue and we are not statutorily I think these people should be directed to submit their comments in writing and bring to the Board under the Public Comment Section.

Public Comment: none

Approval of minutes:

MOTION: Approve corrections to the July 9, 2019 Commissioners’ Special Meeting minutes as amended (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi stated he made a few errors that Supervisor Billings picked up on.

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the July 16, 2019 Commissioners Special Meeting (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the July 18, 2019 Mediation Hearing (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


Bradley Madeira reconciled the 2018 County Administrative fee and as I reported the maximum approved formula that the County could have charged the Airport in 2018 was $20,012.71, you didn’t, you charged us $16,000, so thank you.

We have a septic/sewer issue on July 5th. When pumping out we found that we can only access the liquid side of the tank and not the solid side.  We are working towards talking to the FAA to put a riser in to access the tank. 

Got case loader back on July 12th.  Hope all the issues have been addressed.  No bill yet from Beauregard. In talking with them it appears CASE is going to participate in at least the labor. We believe this was a mechanical defect as far we are concerned.

Discovered a sink hole in approach area of Runway 22. Break in drainage pipe.   Talking to FAA about drainage system.

MOTION: Authorize the Chairman to sign the contract with JJ Cunningham LLC to complete the 2019 Crack Seal and Remark Airfield Pavement project for $177,768.00 in accordance with their bid that was opened on 4/16/19 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: authorize the UT Supervisor to proceed with the RFP for Snow Removal for Route 193 in T22MD and Back Road in T28MD (Clark/Blasi 3-0 motion passed)

If we don’t receive a bid it will be covered by another agency. Contract ran out June 30. The only perspective bidder is whoever gets the bid to receive the bid from Beddington.

MOTION: authorize the UT Supervisor to proceed with the RFP for the 2019 Nicatous Parking Lot Expansion Project in T3ND (Clark/Blasi 3-0 motion passed)

We received and paid Salsbury for the stakeout.

Hopefully get finished before the ground freezes

On June 18, 2019 Commissioners signed Agreement with City of Ellsworth for fire protection to cover Fletcher’s Landing. Didn’t get signed by City of Ellsworth.  Need to re-sign.

Housekeeping issues with where to store equipment.  Commissioner Clark suggested stacking equipment here on site.

Tractor should be stored at Millard Billings home.

Have a meeting about the Narraguagus Road so that we can get a fire truck through.

UT Supervisor requested approval to meet and investigate the possibility of partnering with Parks & Lands to make improvement to the Nicatous Boat Launch. Approval given.

Budget Questionnaire Review

Review submitted Third Party Requests – fewer than in past years

Commissioner Blasi would like to begin budgeting on the next meeting in two weeks. They needed to apply by July 31, 2019.  This is the process.

Commissioner Clark questioned status of Open Door and Commissioner Blasi thought they could give them a waiver to apply later.

Commissioner Wombacher believes deadline needs to be more defined. 

MOTION: to extend Budget Questionnaire submission deadline to September 1, 2019 is recorded. (Clark/Wombacher 2-1, Blasi opposed: motion passed)

Not ready to talk about budgets at this meeting


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:

July GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #19-26, #19-27, #19-28, #19-28A and 19-29 in the aggregate amount of $390,399.40;

July GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #19-52, #19-53, #19-54, #19-55, #19-56, #19-57, in the aggregate amount of $969,134.42;  

July UT Payroll Warrants #19-52, #20-1, #20-2, and #20-3 in the aggregate of $1,502.94;

July UT Expense Warrants #19-25 and #20-1 in the aggregate of $68,479.29 

MOTION: approve the Meritain expenditures in the Health Insurance Account in the amount of $93,777.76 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approval to administratively remove Paul Nichols and James Singletary from payroll effective August 10, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Jail Nurse position inside the Jail: Medical assisted treatment inside the facility is required by the Governor and there is funding out there available that we are still working on.  Looked at several options.  We need to have a nurse in the facility. Presented a draft job description to Commissioners. The nurse would be taking over duties that Sargent Merchant does at this time. Sheriff Kane said it involved liability with Sargent Merchant performing some of these duties.  Nurse would be under supervision of Chelsea Howard. There is $80,000 available for medical assistance inside the jail.  No time limit on these funds. Funds pay for nurse and medications.

Commissioner Clark would like to change title from job description to Nurse responsibilities.

Need to make case for this nurse.  Jail Admin will come back in September with full plan on position.


Updated on Open Door: New Board has been elected…seven people – meeting weekly. $20,000 debt is gone, paid by anonymous donors. Board met with DHHS and have support for reopening Hills House.  Open Door will reopen with same name and new license for one year and then review. Keeping two people on staff.  Rough assessment of Hill’s House has been done. Fire Marshall needs to inspect building.

MOTION: Submit to Open Door the $12,500 of the outstanding $25,000 in their CBA funds and look at giving them the remaining $12,500 when they are licensed. (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approve out of state travel for Director Andrew Sankey to Maynard, MA to the FEMA offices on September 26, 27, 28, 2019 to make a presentation (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) 

MOTION: approve out of state travel for Deputy Director Andrew Braley on September 24, 25, 2019 in Concord, NH for Pediatric Disaster Response Emergency Preparedness Course (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Andrew Braley thanked the Commissioners’ for allowing him to continue his training.


RCC Director Robert Conary on July 10th met with Brown’s Communications shortly after the last meeting. We have learned there is an alternative solution to the equipment. New equipment would be more compatible to the existing system. PC driven and can be updated. Internet based. Comparatively priced.  I may not purchase the ones that were approved by the Commission.

I have spoken with most of the stand alone chiefs with the exception of Bucksport.  None of them except for Ellsworth is interested in coming onboard with law enforcement protocols. 

On July 6th 3 Dispatchers were on duty.  Multiple 911 reports, major structure file in Lamoine and serious motor vehicle accident in Deer Isle.  They dispatched 16 fire departments for the fire.

On July 16th I went to the quarterly MECA meeting in Wiscasset. 

Annual audit.  They were very pleased with what they saw.  No major issues and it is a pleasure to come to Hancock County now.  They check record keeping, etc. 

July 24th met with Spillman.  Not enough information to report.   

MOTION: approval to administratively remove Jamie Denbow from payroll (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Update on the many projects we have going, some are complete, some are ongoing.  Commissioner Blasi questioned the invoice on the retainer wall. Large Granite wall. Tedious work. Dugas will be doing the drainage.

June’s screening numbers. They screened 16 days out of 20: screened 1,995 people, withheld 56 knives, 5 leathermens and 4 canisters of mace and had 15 turnarounds.

RCC plan discussion: Report from Mike Sealander.  Had mandatory walkthrough. Only one contractor showed up.  Making progress.

Bull Hill Update: Pour little generator is up there cranking away. Maintenance once a week.  Rough number from a solar contractor $31,000, all bells and whistles. Contacted our electrician, has experience with solar. He went up in and visited the site and he has put in a proposal for $11,550.00.  Will get solar system that will charge the bank of batteries that power the tower.  We could get a standby generator to make up the difference. At some point the generator we have will stop working. Get another bid. Buy the new generator and have it standing by.

Expanding Access Control: Already approved the whole system but we are doing it in stages.  Moving on to next stage which is nine more doors.  Quote from Cincinnati of Maine  

MOTION: Approve the request for a transfer from account G1-3000-11-00 in the amount totaling $55,000 to cover the continuing cost of Access Control and for the Cabling Project between the courthouse and the jail (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: agree to renew the Agreement with Sprinkler System Inspections Corporation which is an annual agreement that came due (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

County Administrator:

2019 MCCA Convention.  I think Rebekah has all the registration information.  Being held at Point Lookout.

Three Rivers Solar having an informational meeting in Eastbrook


Commissioners Cast written ballet.

Elected: Jim Fisher of Blue Hill and Steven Feite of Bucksport

Down East Salmon Federation Resolution:

Fisheries Biologist based in Washington and Hancock County spoke to the Commission. Non-profit group active in the relicensing of the two Hydro Electric Dams. Federal Government issues its recommendation for new license to these two Dams (Leonard Lake and Graham Lake). Asking if the Commissioners will support two key points in the relicensing: .1 to support a new draw down in Graham Lake which is operating as the main water storage reservoir here in town.   Has always legally been able to draw 11 vertical feet of water. The Feds requested that the new licensing requires elevation only move by 4.5 vertical feet.  We support this to enhance the water quality. .2 Statement in support of fishways.

Commissioner Clark inquired if you can install a fishway and preserve the Dam.  Answer is yes.  Brookfield is against this.

Ed Damm has had a house on Graham Lake for 17 years and involved in Friends of Graham Lake and support the resolution. I am between the desert and the mud. We lose somewhere between 200 & 300 square feet each year.

Commissioner Clark proposed a modification to the resolution.  We support a draw down on Graham Lake and leave it to the regulators as to what that level will be. Support fishways installation. Give support in generalities to support the land owners and Federation.

MOTION: support resolution as proposed (Blasi/ 1-2, motion failed)

MOTION: support a resolution as proposed in this Federation document with the changes in Item 1 that reads support the reduced draw down on Graham Lake that would eliminate the dramatic fluctuations as they presently exist.  Support all efforts to install fishways at the Hydro Electric System on the Union River. (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)   

Sign Settlement Agreement between County of Hancock and Hancock Wind, LLC: Commissioner Blasi stated this mediation settlement does not recoup payments to the County from Hancock Wind that is provided for in a Community Benefit Agreement.  We use community benefit agreements payments to fund various organizations and to offset taxes our constituents would otherwise owe.  Legal counsel indicated the chances of winning the lawsuit were 50%, a course which I preferred to attempt.  Under the settlement agreement before us today a portion of what the County would have received will now be paid to community contribution recipients.  How will this work? 

MOTION: to adjourn 12:26 p.m.  (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Patrice Crossman


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