The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday August 18, 2020.    County Administrator Scott Adkins and Deputy County Administrator Rebekah Knowlton were also in attendance, as well as several Department Heads. 

Adjustments to / approval of agenda:   

MOTION: move Airport to right after Public Comment, then hear District Attorney’s budget (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment: none


MOTION: approve the contract with Sargent Corporation for $327,175.00 for the Chairman to sign when all documents are available (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Remove Trisha Cary from Temporary full time back to Part time status effective August 22, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: approve promotion of David McCarty to Temporary full time status at $14.00

per hour with accrual of sick and holiday pay, effective August 22, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: approve promotion of Jessica Cole to Temporary full time status at $14.00 per hour with accrual of sick and holiday pay, effective August 22, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: approve an extension of unpaid leave for Nancy Pelletier for another 30 days (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: approve extension to continue to work Rebecca Long out of classification (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: Remove Amanda Clemons from the County payroll, effective August 18, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

2021 Budget Workshop:

District Attorney –

Revenues: $ 20,000

Expenditures: $ 405,211

VWA Grant is a two year Grant and we are in year one.  Will not affect this year’s budget.  Funding through September 75% of budget which would be $20,625.00.  Two year expires September 30, 2021.  Shortfall by taking October through December we would be looking for $6875.00 as opposed to $28,000.00. 

Office Supplies and Postage:  Went on to County’s postage meter which has saved us quite a bit of money and we have reduced that by 20%. 

Equipment line: Cut this line by 50%.  We have not used this much in the last couple of years.

Liability insurance:  not much wiggle room.

Printing: we cut back by $50.  Statues went up and there is a built in 3% increase each year for statutes.  Out of our control.

Computer software: going to be drastically reduced by the middle of the next budget cycle.  Would have a surplus of $7000 by not renewing our current software. Moving to new system to integrate with Courts.  Significant savings.

CC Clark suggested they leave the Grant money in the budget for 2021 and revisit at a later date.

Tentative agreement is that we accept the numbers on the District Attorney’s Expenditure line that the Revenue line will be modified to put back in there the $27,500 VWA Grant and with a caveat that we will review that line and its entire account and look at other savings in other areas before making decision. 

CC Blasi is taking the position of freezing the County Budget.  I will participate to the point of voting and at that point I am not going to support the budget unless there is a freeze with the proper adjustments.

CC Clark said it is important that CC Blasi tell us where you think the Department Heads need to save/cut to meet that goal.

CA Adkins for budgeting purposes if you are talking about freezing that would kinda eliminate the whole process and what you would essentially do is start with last years budget or work off last years budget.  So I think the term you are looking for is to come in with a zero increase or minimal increase if that is what you are looking for. A freeze would be a zero increase.  CC Blasi said he would like to see the same amounts on the calculation sheet.


Discussion on New Grant Application Procedure:

CC Blasi said it has been an extended process with Rich Campbell my fellow Board member who sits next to me on Eastern Maine Development Corporation contacted me out of the blue about two and half weeks ago saying “I have this Grant opportunity.” I asked him how he had come across this Grant money.  Somehow his agency has written these types of Grants.  An email explanation was sent along with a list of the different entities that are eligible for this funding.  CC Clark said they received the email. County Government is at top of list among others.  I questioned Rich on what to do next. He would let me know to what steps can be taken.  On Monday at 4:30 I received and sent to all of you the latest.  It entails the County expressing their willingness to apply for this Grant.  Richard does the Grant writing with some assistance in the County Government, which I can volunteer to do. Environmental assistance type funding.  CC Clark questioned what we would do with that type of money. CC Blasi said the money would be used for things we think need this type of assistance.  We could use the money at the Airport to open the flats, west of the Seaplane ramp.  I want the flats open and Richard thinks this could have some results.  If you can think of things in your district that need assistance. 

CC Clark looks like a solution looking for a problem.  This guy owns an environmental company…this is a business venture to him. CC Wombacher feels he doesn’t know enough about it to really have much of a thought about it.  I did look at it yesterday but didn’t really understand the context of it.  I don’t want to necessarily dismiss it out of hand but I would have to see how the County could really benefit from it and if there are projects that could be applied to it.  Need to look at it a little closer.

CC Blasi feels it is like a TIF loan program.  The money is available.  CC Clark feels this is all backwards. CC Wombacher said we could do more research.  CC Wombacher said he did not think we should take any action on this at this meeting.  Ask Richard what time frame is for application.  CA Adkins if you had a project in your district we could ask questions. Questioned the flats and FAA approval.  You have to have a project and ask about applying.

County Administrator:

2021 Budget Workshop

Deeds –

Revenues: $730,300 or $5900 over last year

Expenditures: $325,511 down $2273

3% COLA applied to the top

Line 01130 which is down.  Long time employee will be retiring. 

FICA, retirement, workers comp are all based off percentage of payroll

Travel and mileage are down as a result of a continuance of ZOOM meetings and other options due to COVID

Bank fees, more credit cards coming through and a percentage of that is applied with a little increase

Printing is down a little bit. 

Copier maintenance is up

CC Clark said it would be up for final review later

Court Lease Agreement/Approval and Signature:

CA Adkins said there will be a .15 cent per square foot increase”

MOTION: Move for Chair to sign MOU with the State Court System regarding lease fees for the next rental agreement (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

Abatement Hearing – Colebank v. Town of Sullivan

CC Clark said to let the record reflect that the application was filed within the sixty day period having been processed the postmark April 14, 2020 and received on June 12, 2020 beginning the sixty day threshold.

Second item: Mr Colebank Statute provides that if the Commissioners’ do not hold a hearing within sixty days of receiving your application you can consider that a denial and handle that as if you had a hearing and you were denied your abatement request allowing you to appeal to the Superior Court.  The question this morning is do you want to consider because we failed to meet the 60 day threshold period for hearing do you want to consider that a denial and avoid the hearing today and go directly to Superior Court or continue the hearing before the Commissioners’.  Mr. Colebank wanted to continue with hearing.  CC Clark said the law provides you are supposed to waive that opportunity in writing.  Considering the situation we are in I think we can let the record reflect that you are in fact waiving your right to avoid this hearing and proceed to Superior Court.  Mr. Colebank stated yes. 

CC Clark looking at the the amount of Abatement that you requested is the difference between $237,100 that has been assessed and $119,000 you feel is appropriate with a difference of $118,100.  Is that correct.  Mr. Colebank stated yes.  So the amount of the Abatement that we are talking about today is a request by the Applicant is $118,100. The application did not say specifically the amount of the Abatement he is looking for.  We have to do the math.

Swearing in each witness who wishes to testify in this hearing.  Mr. Colebank stated his reason for wanting an Abatement. 

CC Clark swore in Mr. Gingrich.  He states that there is a little correction on the sales analysis.  The Sales Analysis is done by the State of Maine annually and the report that the Town has sent you are 16, 17, 18, 19 results of their Sales Analysis.  The people doing the Sales Analysis have been doing it for 42 years.  This is the way the State analyzing sales. 

Mr. Colbank asked who prepared the Assessment.  He was told it was Mike Rogers from the State of Maine.          

CC Clark we are going to deliberate this Appeal on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 and render our decision at that meeting.  Probably 10:00 a.m.  With that I am going to end this Abatement hearing.

MOTION: move to go into Executive Session before the 12:00 noon time.

(Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

MOTION: move to go into Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(D) to discuss the bargaining agreements with the dispatchers (Clark/Blasi 3-0)

Out of Executive Session and we are continuing to work with the Agent on negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the RCC.

Next meeting will be September 1, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. for our Regular meeting

Set 10:00 a.m. for information on the Colebank Abatement.

MOTION: to adjourn (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0)

Respectfully submitted,

Patrice Crossman


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