The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday August 20, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark and Wombacher in attendance.

RCC Expansion- approve recommendation to engage Penobscot Company as contractor

Architect Mike Sealander reported that two contractor proposals had been submitted.  After review, both Witham and Sealander agreed Penobscot Company would be a good fit.  References checked out and the fee proposal is in line with expectations. Witham and Sealander recommended that the commission approve Penobscot Company as contractor.  Sealander said as soon as a construction manager is on board, one of the preconstruction services is to provide a cost estimate based on the drawings.  A cost estimate is not part of the proposal- only a fee estimate.  Sealander expected that within 3 weeks the contractor would have a cost estimate. 

MOTION: contract with Penobscot Company as construction manager for the RCC Expansion project and authorize our architect to issue a notice to proceed (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

David Witham and Facilities Director Walls will represent the commission when negotiating the contract with the understanding that if it gets complex the commission would be involved. 

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: add 2 (b) approval to hire Nicole Matthes of Ellsworth as part time on call as needed corrections officer, effective August 24, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment: none

Approval of minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the August 6, 2019 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Blasi/Clark 3-0 motion passed)


Cruiser bid opening- two bids were submitted.  The results are as follows:

Darling’s Chevrolet: $18,456 after trade

Quirk Ford of Augusta: $21,157.00 after trade

Sheriff Kane recommended accepting the bid from Darling’s Chevrolet.

MOTION: approve the purchase of 2019 pickup from Darling’s Chevrolet in the amount of $18,456 with a trade in (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Sheriff Kane said he would take the amount in line 70-300 (currently $15,347.90) and the rest from SO Cruiser Purchases account G 3014-60, roughly $3,100.  The commission agreed to that accounting.

MOTION: approval to hire Nicole Mathes of Ellsworth as part time on call as needed corrections officer, effective August 24, 2019 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


Jail Meritain Expenses- Treasurer Boucher said the jail incurred Meritain expenses of $73,131.64, putting them well over budget.  He suggested the County absorb this expense.  CA Adkins suggested adding it to the County’s health insurance expenses, Dept. 20.  Commissioner Blasi asked if we expected any revenue from the state.  Treasurer Boucher said a supplemental could be submitted next year for the cost, but we would be in the same situation.

MOTION: authorize the Meritain bill in the amount $73,131.64 from the jail expenses to be paid from Dept. 20 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Boucher reported he met with Machias Savings Bank.  Sweep accounts do not serve the purpose they did, there is additional work to reconcile the accounts.  Machias Savings Bank will now offer a certificate of insurance.  The commission agreed that Treasurer Boucher and CA Adkins should initiate the certificate.

MOTION: abolish the sweep accounts with Machias Savings Bank (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


RCC Computer Replacement Plan- IT Administrator Carter performed a technology assessment in RCC and determined dispatch computers need to be upgraded. 

MOTION: authorize RCC director to purchase 4 computers at $1,475 each for a total of $5,900 to be taken from RCC Technical Equipment account # 3012-60 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: authorize RCC Director to purchase 2 laptops in the amount of $3,237.06 to be taken from RCC Technical Equipment account # 3012-60 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: authorize RCC Director to purchase Acorn Recording Server in the amount of $8,500 to be taken from account RCC Technical Equipment 3012-60 account (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Budget workshop:

District Attorney (03)

Revenues: $42,500

CC Clark suggested increasing line 103 revenues given that 2019 estimate is $25,000. 

Expenditures: $363,415

Commissioner Clark suggested applying a COLA to wages at this point in the budget cycle, rather than later.  CA Adkins suggested a 3% COLA as a minimum.  The commission agreed to apply 3% at this point, understanding that it may be reviewed.

Commissioner Clark questioned the training / registrations line.  The commission agreed to flatline it at $1,500 rather than $1,750.  The office supply line was increased from $11,000 to $12,500.  The postage line was reduced from $3,000 to $2,500.  The commission questioned the necessity of purchasing hard bound law books.

The changes made produced a net increase of $750.

Deeds (09)

Revenues: $716,200

The surcharge line was increased from $20,000 to $30,000.  Copy fees line was increased from $30,000 to $40,000.

Expenditures: $332,556

Manager line was changed to $51,500.  Registrar Curtis explained that the PT line needed to increase from 2019 because she needed to offer a PT employee regular year round hours in order to have them committed to working in the summer. 

Information Technology (14)

Personnel services line was created, drawing from the commissioners and SO budget, where it was split in 2019.  The department includes lines for telephone, internet, and cell phones.  This budget is preliminary, as CA Adkins and IT Administrator Carter have not had a chance to review.  Carter discussed his recommendations for upgrades to county systems.

RCC (07)

Revenues: $156,000

Expenditures: $817,195

The overtime line was reduced from $110,000 to $105,000.  There was some discussion on the 01-130 regular line and the possibility of establishing an additional dispatch position.  The amount was changed to $387,045. 

Lunch 11:34- 12:54

Maintenance (06)

Revenues: $61,360

Expenditures: $482,225

The commission changed line 01-100 Manager to $56,000.  Commissioner Clark wanted to add a line called PT regular for $10,800 and PT at $5,000.  The Yards/Grounds line was kept at the 2019 amount of $6,000.

Treasurer (05)

Revenues: $63,500

The commission discussed adding a revenue line to department 14 to account for UT, Airport, and EMA for IT services and leave the Treasurer numbers where they are.  Change Misc. revenues to $2,500.

Expenditures: $133,388

Commissioner Blasi suggested adding a line labeled “Bookkeeping duties of the County Treasurer”.  After lengthy discussion, the commission agreed to establish two lines to reflect the current 01-118 Regular line, although CA Adkins was opposed to doing that. 

Discussion- Planning Services Department- Commissioner Blasi said he placed this agenda item as a matter of public safety; right now, there is no planning in Hancock County.  He said he wanted to begin a discussion on county planning services.  Commissioner Blasi said his plan was not to hire a county planner but rather use the existing planning agency services and put them under a planning services department.   Commissioner Wombacher expressed concern about the size of the project and the time constraints of the developing budget. CA Adkins said it was not clear where HCPC sits now and it was communicated to him that the state is cautious about working with HCPC due to conditions.  Commissioner Blasi said this saddens him as a long-time planning commissioner.  Commissioner Clark said EMDC provides planning services now and he was not willing to give up on HCPC.  Commissioner Blasi said we would coordinate the services already available.  He said this could be where we budget for things like orthoimagery and a shellfish warden.  Commissioner Wombacher said he did agree there was a hole left from HCPC but it isn’t clear what role we want to play in it.  He said he did not support a separate planning services department at this point; more discussion would have to take place.   Commissioner Clark reasoned that if HCPC could become productive, he would be in favor of increasing support for them but at this point they have not had enough time to do that and he did not want to hinder their efforts. 


Name change request for Dutton Pond to Besherets Pond in Town of Amherst- Commissioner Blasi said he would like to see some resolution from the Amherst municipal officers.  CA Adkins said he has not heard from them.  The commission agreed to take no action but expressed interest in the action taken by the town of Amherst.

Review Community Benefit Grant progress reports- The commission reviewed the community benefit grant progress reports.  The following recipients submitted progress reports: Acadia Area ATVers; Beth Wright Cancer Center; Ellsworth Free Medical Clinic; Ellsworth Free Medical Clinic; Families First Community Center; Friends in Action; Healthy Acadia; and Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.  The commissioners were satisfied with the reports as submitted.

Shellfish warden- Commissioner Clark thought this could be handled on an operational level, and wanted to discuss with the Sheriff and Chief Deputy before deciding on any action.

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

MOTION: to adjourn 2:37 pm (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

 Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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