The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday June 2, 2020.  The Commissioners attended remotely using a Zoom meeting.  County Administrator Scott Adkins and Deputy County Administrator Rebekah Knowlton were also in attendance, as well as several Department Heads.  The meeting link was made available to the public on the Hancock County EMA Facebook page; nine members of the public attended.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: move item 9 Staffing Discussion to right after Meeting Minutes (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: remove item 4(f) Review and approval of the Solid Waste Agreement for Township 10SD with the Town of Cherryfield (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment:

Leslie Ross said either she or a colleague, both representing the Reparations Board, would like to make a comment regarding the Third Party applications budget discussion.  Commissioner Clark said they were welcome to comment when that agenda item was discussed.

Meeting Minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the May 5, 2020 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion on courthouse reopening-

The Commission agreed to delay the discussion until the June 16 meeting.  Although the county offices are closed to the public, employees are working and services are being provided.  CA Adkins will develop recommendations about reopening and appropriate protocols for the June 16 discussion.


MOTION: approve Hertz Lease and Operating Rights Agreement (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Due to the Coronavirus and its effect on business, Hertz has asked that payments be deferred until the end of October.

MOTION: approve Land Lease Agreement between County of Hancock, Maine and Fly Buy, LLC (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

This is a renewal; the wording in the lease was modified per former Manager Madeira’s recommendation.

The District Court issued its final decision in the case with Genair.  The finding is that the statute does not apply because Mr. Genair is storing the aircraft rather than operating it.  There was some discussion on personal property tax being applied by the town. 

Essential Air Service- Airport Manager Muise reported that the proposals are in and briefly explained the process.  The board’s recommendation needs to be to the DOT by July 10. 

Security at the airport- Manager Muise said he has reached out several times to Securitas but has not received a reply.  Muise will follow up.


MOTION: Approve the Snow Removal Agreement for Martin’s Ridge Road in T9SD with the Town of Franklin (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the Snow Removal Agreement for Village Road and Bogus Meadow Road in T7SD with the Town of Steuben (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Authorize the UT Supervisor to consult with Mike Berry to see if he is willing to do a one year extension to the existing Snow Removal Agreement for Fletcher’s Landing Road in T8SD with no changes to the existing agreement, only the time extension (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, motion passed, Clark opposed)

Commissioner Clark expressed concern about not going out to bid. UT Supervisor Billings said we have used this process in the past.

MOTION: Approve the Solid Waste Agreement for Fletcher’s Landing Township with the City of Ellsworth (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the Solid Waste Agreement for Townships 10, 16, 22, 28, 32, 34, 35, 39, 40 & south half of 41 with the City of Ellsworth (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the Fire Suppression Agreement for the Tunk Lake section of Township 7SD with the Town of Sullivan (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Scholarship application-

MOTION: Award the scholarship for this year to Chelsea Lounder in an amount not to exceed $25,000 (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

UT Supervisor Billings reported that there were 7 applicants but only one- Chelsea Lounder- was a UT resident. 

UT Supervisor Billings reported that Burlington fire department is closing and is leasing their equipment to Howland. Billings said he hopes to have a contract with Howland ready for approval at the July meeting. 


MOTION: Extend the unpaid leave of absence for Dianne Arriesgado until July 7, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the transfer of $20,000 from G1-3011-00 to E 06-90-907, to acquire Access Control for camera and card readers for Ground floor and 1st floor (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve the change order for the RCC Expansion project to pay for Men’s Room Ceramic Tile in the amount of $2,631.30 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

This will come out of contingency; Walls said there should be a balance of about $15,000 left, with this change order included.

Discussion on the condition of the Old Jail- 

Commissioner Clark suggested having a quick assessment done by an engineer to give a sense of the imminent danger to that side of the building.  Bill Fogle, president of the Ellsworth Historical Society, referenced a two-pronged approach, for the immediate danger as well as long term plans.  Commissioner Blasi asked if the liability insurance inspector has visited the site in its current condition and questioned how the insurance company would cover the building in its current state.  Fogle said the building is covered, although he does not know when the last visit was.  Facilities Director Walls was directed to tape off the side facing the library to safeguard our business and employees from bricks that may be falling.  Walls said Engineer Hedefine would make a recommendation regarding what needs further study, and he may be able to make recommendations for immediate repair.  Commissioner Clark suggested the County bear the cost of an engineering study, as this would lead to recommendations to the historical society.  Commissioner Blasi questioned what is stopping the entire wall from falling and suggested the entire side be cordoned off.  Commissioner Clark said this is information that a professional would provide.  Fogle agreed to contact the insurance company to be sure there is proper coverage.  Commissioner Blasi did not support an evaluation; he thought the building should be removed. 

MOTION: Authorize Hedefine to do an analysis of the immediate threat of imminent danger to the south side of the old jail in a study not to exceed $2,500 (Clark/Wombacher 2-1, Blasi opposed)

Commissioner Blasi said he thought the county should abide by the terms of the quit claim deed and remand the property.

Break 10:30-10:45

There are reports that a rally is scheduled this afternoon near City Hall in Ellsworth.  Considering some of the events that have occurred in other places with similar rallies, Commissioner Clark suggested closing the offices at 2 pm to allow staff to exit prior to the event.  The Commissioners agreed to give the Department Heads the ability to close their offices at 2 p.m. today, depending on their workload. 

MOTION: close the county courthouse at 2 p.m. on June 2 to exercise good judgment concerning a demonstration that was posted for 3 p.m. in an adjacent location to the courthouse (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


RCC Director Conary gave his monthly report.  Commissioner Blasi asked how the workstation vendor Xybix’s delay would affect the construction.  Conary said he thought the construction would be done and the operation would not be significantly affected.  The staff is still working in the training room now. 


MOTION: approve and accept the June warrant memo as presented by the Treasurer (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:

May GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #20-18, #20-19, #20-20, and #20-21, in the aggregate amount of $356,740.97;

May GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #20-25, #20-26, #20-27, #20-28, #20-29, and #20-30 in the aggregate amount of $1,336,249.91;  

May UT Payroll Warrants #20-44, #20-45, #20-46, and #20-47 in the aggregate of $1,098.04;

May UT Expense Warrants #20-20 and #20-21 in the aggregate of $9,255.70

Treasurer Boucher reviewed the monthly financial reports with the Commission.  He said because of the TAN the account balances are looking well.  Commissioner Blasi expressed concern about municipal revenues. Treasurer Boucher said the effect of municipal revenues remains to be seen but he was confident that municipalities would pay the County taxes in a timely manner.  Commissioner Blasi said he was uneasy about this and he wanted to pay the TAN off as soon as possible.  Treasurer Boucher said that money in our bank means that we stay solvent, which is of the utmost priority.  Commissioner Blasi said he was only comfortable with this because of our ability to borrow from the UT.

2019 audit-

Treasurer Boucher said most of the documentation has been submitted to the auditor for a remote audit.  He said there were some delays due to COVID-19.

County Administrator:

2021 Budget Prep / Department 17- 3rd Party Requests notification and deadline-

The Commissioners agreed to a deadline of July 31 for applications.  There was some discussion about notifying existing recipients of the deadline and posting the application on the County website.  Commissioner Blasi did not want to post on the website; he said there is no sense in bringing in more applications than we can afford. 

MOTION: County Administrator be advised to put on the website that we are receiving applications for Department 17 grants that must be submitted no later than July 31, 2020 (Clark/Wombacher 2-0, motion passed, Blasi did not vote)

Commissioner Blasi said he would not vote because although he liked the concept of the hard deadline, he had other reservations.  Commissioner Wombacher said he was approving this because only notifying those who are already getting money perpetuates the idea of “the club”.

“Thank You” Banners-

The Commissioners wish to show the public that they appreciate Hancock County employees and want to recognize their service during this time.  The Commission agreed to purchase display banners with a statement recognizing all Hancock County employees.

Buy Out / Buy Down Rates- 

The Commissioners reviewed the buy out formula and the results when applied to the Allegiant Care premiums.  Applying the formula to the rates effective July 1, 2020 would reduce the amount of all but two of the buy-out categories.

MOTION: the Buy Out rates effective the next quarter be based on $3,600 per year (Clark/ motion withdrawn

MOTION: retain the present rates for all buy outs (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

The next meeting will be held June 16 at 8:30 am.

MOTION: to adjourn 11:56 a.m. (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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