The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday December 1, 2020.    Commissioner Wombacher, Commissioner Blasi, County Administrator Scott Adkins and Deputy County Administrator Rebekah Knowlton were also in attendance, as well as several Department Heads.  Commissioner-elect Paradis was also in attendance.  Due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements, the meeting was held via Zoom.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda: none

Public Comment: none                                                                                             

Meeting Minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the November 17, 2020 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: approval to promote part time Corrections Officer Trisha Cary to full time status effective 12/12/2020; starting rate of pay will be 9-C with full benefits (Wombacher/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


Monthly report: Airport Manager Muise updated the Commission with his monthly report.   Muise said because the airport contains too much wetland, the solar project is not an option.  He referenced Renewable Energy in Liberty and said they determined it would not work and that he has sent the information to the people down on the island, but had not heard back yet.

MOTION: approve the Lease and Operating Rights Agreement between Hancock County and Hyannis Air Service, Inc. dba Cape Air (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve the Project Contract for New L-8902A High Intensity Airport Rotating Beacon with Jacob’s Engineering and approval for Chairman to sign (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Muise explained this is an AIP fundable project to be completed in 2021.  The beacon will be on a pole with a green and white light that rotates; it’s made to fold down for maintenance.  It will be located adjacent to the ARFF building.

MOTION: accept the resignation of Thomas Canavan, effective December 7, 2020 and transfer to part time status (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Airport Manager Muise said he was looking at hiring others or engaging existing part time employees for snow removal. 


COVID-19 update:

EMA Director Andrew Sankey gave an update on the impact of Covid-19 in Hancock County.  Currently there are 77 active cases but Director Sankey anticipates this number will increase with the next CDC report.  Sankey said his efforts have shifted to planning and preparation for mass immunization programs.  Deputy EMA Director Andrew Braley said part of his responsibility has been the logistical component of supporting local resource requests for PPE and affiliated items and working with the state and CDC to make sure that organizations are prepared and able to respond appropriately.  Organizing fit testing for N95 masks has also been a priority.  Braley reported that they have been working with hospitals and health care clinics to prepare for potential medical surge issues.  Commissioner Blasi asked if there have been preparations for a field hospital.  Sankey said this has been discussed extensively and if there was an established need for that they would make the request on behalf of area hospitals.  Braley said Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital has an alternate care site plan in place. 


Facilities Director Dennis Walls updated the Commission with his monthly report.  The new electrostatic sprayer cleaning machine has been purchased and used several times.  Director Walls plans on using this to clean the courtrooms on a regular basis. 


RCC Director Robert Conary updated the Commission with his monthly report.  The recent audit by State of Maine Access Integrity Unit for our National Crime Information Center entries went well.  The RCC was found to be in state and federal compliance for queries and entries.  Conary reported that radio repeaters on Bull Hill at the East Tower site continue to be an issue and were not working on November 2.  It was discovered that a pre-amp/combiner unit with a bad power supply caused the problem.  It appears that the existing solar panels are not sufficient.  Facilities Director Walls explained that the consultation with the electrician revealed that the power collected by the solar collectors is stored in the batteries; once the batteries are being drawn off of in a high use situation, the collectors do not keep up, so four additional panels were recommended.  There are eight panels there now.  UT Supervisor Billings said the tower, generators, and propane are funded through the UT TIF.  The Commissioners agreed that the appropriate technical professionals should be addressing this issue and it should be taken care of appropriately.  Conary was directed to report progress in a month.  


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

Because the Commissioners did not receive the financial reports in a timely manner, there was no discussion on financial matters beyond this action.

The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:

November GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #20-44, #20-45, #20-46, and #20-47 in the aggregate amount of $403,641.54;

November GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #20-61, #20-62, #20-63, #20-64, #20-65, and #20-66 in the aggregate amount of $801,653.65;  

November UT Payroll Warrants #21-18, #21-19, #21-20, and #21-21- in the aggregate of $960.79;

November UT Expense Warrants #21-9 and #21-10 in the aggregate of $475,959.63


Meisel v. Town of Eastbrook property tax abatement appeal- CA Adkins reported that it appears that the Town is working with the applicant to settle the matter.

Spirit of America-

Eight individuals in Hancock County received Spirit of America awards for 2020.  The Commissioners agreed to recognize the recipients with certificates and mail them.

Covid-19 update-

CA Adkins said we continue to be on high alert.  Commissioner Wombacher said everyone needs to take precautions, regardless of which areas are getting press coverage, because Covid is everywhere.

Earned Paid Leave-

DCA Knowlton explained that a new law effective January 1 requires us to offer 40 hours of earned paid leave to all employees, not simply full time.  She has been working with an attorney to amend the personnel policy to come into compliance with the Earned Paid Leave law.  This item will be on the next agenda for approval.

Wellness Program Update-

DCA Knowlton reported that she is working with Allegiant Care regarding existing programs similar to the ones we have considered.  If we can get adequate reporting through Cigna, we may be able to use the existing programs, rather than engaging an outside vendor to build another.

Public Hearing on Regulating the Adult Use of Marijuana in the Unorganized Territory of Hancock County:

Commissioner Clark said this is an opportunity to hear from the public on whether we want to opt-in for retail marijuana.  UT Supervisor Billings said marijuana laws are complicated and described them as 4 legs of a chair: adult use, medical use, personal use, and the fourth for caregivers.  Personal use and caregivers do not apply to the County Commissioners at all.  For medical use and adult use, Billings said the commissioners have to opt in.  For adult use there are the options of a retail store, cultivation, processing, and testing.  When opting in, each of these must be handled separately, and the same for medical use.  Billings recommended that, after taking information from the public at this hearing, schedule a meeting with the LUPC staff to explain the process.  Steve Bacher of township 22 owns the Airline Snack Bar along with his family and said he thought opting in for marijuana sales would be a benefit to the UT because it will increase travel throughout the area, which will bring more people to local businesses.  It would also create jobs and give more residents access to care.  Bacher is interested in retail sales for medical.  Jean Kaye of Beddington agreed with Bacher; she said there is a need for medical marijuana and a need for residents to not have to travel far to get it.  Adam Smith, resident of Beddington, supported the need for medical marijuana for the sake of travel convenience and for the revenue.  Rebecca Wentworth of Blue Hill said she wanted to speak for the agricultural community regarding concerns about regulations.  She hoped action taken would not increase a barrier to growing, selling and processing on a farmer’s property.  She said if fees are too high a small farmer would be pushed out of the industry. 

The public session ended at 10:29 a.m.  The Commission agreed to schedule this at a future meeting with LUPC professionals and others who may be able to answer questions. 

The next meeting will be December 15 at 8:30 a.m.

MOTION: Adjourn 10:31 a.m. (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator

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