The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday July 21, 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 website; 11 members of the public attended.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:

MOTION: delete item 2 A- I don’t request that statement to be in the written record (Blasi/motion fails for lack of second

MOTION: add agenda item 6 E- a discussion with regards to Dave Fowler’s request from Three Rivers Solar to meet with us on August 4  (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: add agenda item 6 F- a discussion with Rebekah with regards to process for us to handle our Budget Advisory Committee caucus (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Public comment: none

Meeting Minutes:

Discussion on inclusion of Commissioner Blasi’s statement in July 7, 2020 CRM minutes-

Commissioner Clark referenced a statement read by Commissioner Blasi during the July 7 meeting.  The statement held claims of inadequate protection from Coronavirus in the courthouse and unsafe working conditions for employees, leading to the need to hire a cleaning service to disinfect.  The statement referenced required facial coverings worn by vendors not being enforced and claimed that CA Adkins did not follow directives.  Commissioner Clark said this statement has caused anxiousness among staff and has resulted in having to consult with the County’s liability insurance carrier and attorney in an effort to reassure employees and the public that everything is being done to protect employees from the virus in the workplace.  Commissioner Clark said the statement is inappropriate and categorically untrue.  Commissioner Wombacher said from everything he’s seen we have been keeping the courthouse safe and following CDC guidelines, and he did not disagree with any of the Department Head’s comments regarding adequate safety.  He said although the masks have always been in question, he did not feel we have anything contradictory and he did not agree with Commissioner Blasi’s statement.  Commissioner Blasi said as of July 8 he does not contend that the courthouse is an unsafe working environment, referencing a memo issued that day requiring that employees working within less than 6 feet wear facial coverings.  He maintained that, based on the information he was receiving, he did not fully understand that additional cleaning was discussed as a preventive measure, and he had no assurance that the vendor was checked at the door for having a mask and he should have been informed when it happened and exactly what happened.  Commissioner Clark said an email did go out as soon as the facts could be gathered; it was a developing situation.  Commissioner Clark said we do not have an unsafe working environment, guidelines have been followed, and CA Adkins did not fail to follow directives.  Commissioner Blasi said he agreed that conditions are safe since the July 8 memo was published.  Commissioner Clark said this has always been the case; every effort is being made.

MOTION: based upon the review conducted by our staff it is determined that, despite contentions made on July 7 by Commissioner Blasi, we are in fact and always have been, taking every reasonable precaution to provide a safe work environment for employees (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi said he did not agree with the word “despite”. 

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the July 7, 2020 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Approve the hire of Dylan Hall of Bucksport as full time patrol deputy effective July 25, 2020 at step 12C (Wombacher/Clark 2-1, Blasi opposed)

Sheriff Kane said this hire is to fill the obligation of the contract signed at the last meeting.  Commissioner Blasi asked about the accounting for this- what account this will go into.  CA Adkins said this was still in the works; the revenues will go back into the account that the expenses are coming out of to offset.  Commissioner Blasi said he was going to oppose because his questions have gone unanswered; he made reference to the FAA having any authority in reviewing the terms and the 2013 Walsh letter.  He said he is wary of the airport purchasing property that will revert back to the Sheriff’s Department.  Sheriff Kane said that this contract is being treated like any other town contract. 


MOTION: Chair be permitted to sign a contract with Northeast Paving to do the apron repairs at the airport (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

The lowest acceptable bid was from Northeast Paving. 


Existing Bathroom in RCC-

Director Conary explained that the original plan was to replace the bathroom with a closet.  Historical backup issues with that bathroom have not been a problem since the new locker room has been installed.  Conary said there are limited bathrooms and the space is not needed as a closet.

MOTION: existing bathroom in the RCC remain as part of the expansion project (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)


Discussion on Coronavirus response-

Facilities Director Walls procured quotes from Penobscot Cleaning and C & R Carpet Cleaning for extra cleaning in the courthouse, if it becomes necessary.  The Commission agreed that Director Walls should have prior approval to engage a cleaning service as soon as possible if we experience an active virus case.

MOTION: give the Maintenance Director prior approval to call Penobscot Cleaning to come in and do a thorough cleaning in the event that a thorough cleaning needs to be done (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi said the Commissioners should hear immediately when something happens.  CA Adkins said these situations develop and agreed to inform the Commissioners as early as possible.

MOTION: Extend the existing policy of escorting the public in and out of the building, indefinitely (Wombacher/Blasi 2-1 Clark opposed)

Commissioner Clark is opposed only because he wants the staff to have the flexibility to develop processes that best serve the employees while addressing the virus appropriately in the Courthouse.  Commissioner Blasi would like the staff to keep a running list of any suggestions that they can offer to the Commissioners to amend/revise the Emergency Preparedness Plan-especially regarding the pandemic response section- and present them to the Commission.

Swan’s Island grant application for broadband-

MOTION: support the Swan’s Island Broadband Committee’s grant application with a letter containing support addressed to the committee (Blasi/ Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

2021 Budget Workshop:

There was some discussion about a 2021 COLA.  Commissioner Wombacher said at this point he is fine with 3% as this is simply a rough draft of the budget. Commissioner Clark agreed.  Commissioner Blasi said he was apprehensive about setting a COLA.  He said he was unsure about how the economy will look a year from now and suggested freezing or applying 1% for now. 


Revenues: $61,360- no change from the 2020 budget

Expenditures: $484,062

Line 15-400 showed a 15% decrease from the 2020 budget.  Facilities Director Walls said this was due to the installation of heat pumps and the move from propane to oil.  The overall expenditure budget shows an increase of 2.7%.

EMA- budget

Revenues: $116,294

Expenditures: $222,812

There is no increase from the 2020 budget.

There was a general consensus among the Commission to accept this initial budget proposal; they did not feel that a vote was required.

Abatement appeal – set date / Colebank v. Town of Sullivan

The Commissioners scheduled the hearing for August 18th at 10 a.m.

Dave Fowler of Three Rivers Solar has requested to address the Commission at a future meeting.  The Commissioners agreed to place this item on the August 4 meeting agenda.

MOTION: to adjourn 10:44 a.m. (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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