COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
Commission Chairman, Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:29 a.m. on Friday, June 19, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.
MOTION: to approve the Law Enforcement Contract for Swan's Island. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Administrator Richardson requested a onetime waiver to reinstate laid off employee(s) medical benefits upon their return to full time status, effective August 1, 2015. Commissioner Brown questioned if the commissioners should do this now because they do not know what is going to happen with/at the jail. Jail Administrator Richardson stated that, in his opinion, jail management will need to bring the employees back prior to August 1st as current employees are burning out. Administrator Richardson explained that once the employees return to work, they are required to wait 30 days in order to receive their health insurance benefit, in other words, they would not receive health insurance coverage until September 1, 2015 and requested a one-time waiver in order to reinstate their health insurance upon their date of return (August 1, 2015). Commission Joy did not have issue with the request as long as it is viewed as a one-time waiver and not an accepted past practice, it will not constitute past practice and is a unique situation at this time. Administrator Richardson agreed with Commissioner Joy's statement and reiterated that this would be for one-time only, for these two people.
Commissioner Brown questioned how the Jail Administrator knew that the County could have the employee's return to work under the current financial situation. Administrator Richardson was certain that the employees could return to work, but added that it will take him 12 months to financially prove it. Commissioner Brown was concerned that the jail may not have the funds to allow the employees to return to work. Commissioner Joy clarified that the commissioners were being asked to approve the medical benefit, not bring them back.
Administrator Richardson explained that theses two employees volunteered for the layoff and have to return; should another layoff occur, employees other than these two would be affected. Commissioner Brown clarified that the question before the commissioners was to grant these employee's health insurance coverage immediately upon return to work. Commissioner Brown was concerned that if the commissioners agreed to the request and the employees did not return, the County would/may have to cover their health insurance beginning August 1st? Jail Administrator Richardson explained that these employees would have to come back August 1st; should there be a need for another lay-off, other employees would be affected due to the "last in, first out" policy, the employees currently out on layoff are not the “last in” people.
MOTION: to grant the request to approve a onetime waiver to reinstate laid off employee(s) medical benefits upon their return to full time status, effective August 1, 2015 and this will not constitute past practice. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy clarified that this will not constitute accepted past practice, this is a onetime situation. Jail Administrator Richardson questioned that if the employees came back prior to August 1st, could this be addressed at that point. Commissioner Joy stated that if it is not in the 14/15 budget (inaudible).
MOTION: to approve the hire of Eric McLaughlin of Hancock as a full time patrol deputy at Step 12C $18.44 per hour, effective July 4, 2015. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Deputy McLaughlin is a 10 year veteran, academy certified and there is no charge to the county to hire him. Deputy McLaughlin is currently a full-time officer with the Town of Bar Harbor and has been with them for the past 10-years. He has shown previous interest in working for the Sheriff's Office.
Jail Financial Update:
Sheriff Kane distributed an email from Jonathan LaBonté of the Governor’s Office of Policy & Management that denied the supplemental funding request ($45,000) to cover their current financial shortfall. The following quote from the email was read aloud: “Unfortunately, even though some counties have available dollars assigned in their fund balances for capital projects that could be unassigned and spent on general operations for the fiscal year, I lack the authority to afford them to release those.” To paraphrase, Sheriff Kane stated that he is telling us that some counties have money in the bank and they don’t have to use it and we have to figure out what we are going to do here and possibly use some of the funds that we have in the bank. Sheriff Kane voiced his disappointment with being led to believe that Hancock County could receive State funds to help cover the shortfall.
In looking at dollars and cents, the jail is down to approximately $130,000, including reserve accounts; $48,000 has been ear marked for the replacement control panel, which in Sheriff Kane’s opinion, the State should be paying for. Commissioner Brown questioned the amount of “cash on hand” and what is due for accounts payable. After further discussion it was agreed that more information was needed prior to making any decisions.
Commissioner Joy stated the payroll must be paid but warrant items can wait. Commissioner Blasi stated that the reserves of $84,000 should be enough to cover expenses; Commissioner Brown did not want to use reserves because they would not be repaid by the State and will create a cash flow deficit for the end of the year next year that could possibly keep rolling over. Currently there are enough funds to cover next week’s payroll, County Administrator (CA) Conlogue will provide an Accounts Payable (AP) list of invoices due. Commissioner Brown stated that he was not ready to make a decision today regarding using reserve accounts. Commissioner Joy stated that we would have to use FY 16 money to cover expenses and then recoup for the next year from the State for FY15. Commissioner Joy questioned how the reserve account has grown over the years; he also stated that if we have enough to cover payroll and food for the inmates, we do not have to use the reserves. Commissioner Brown preferred to know what we have for outstanding bills prior to making a decision. CA Conlogue stated that by the July 7th meeting we should know what bills are left to be paid and then we will know if we need to use the reserves. Sheriff Kane did not request permission to use the reserve funds to allow him to cover the year end payrolls and other expenses until July 1, 2015.
MOTION: to approve the Sheriff, Chief Deputy and Deputies Bonds. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to sign the Federal Grant Offer for AIP 40 (2014 Pavement Marking Project and 2015 Pavement Maintenance Project and PCN Analysis) (Joy/Blasi3-0, motion passed)
Manager Madeira requested a motion to sign the MDOT Agreement regarding the installation of two interpretive sign panels at the airport. Jim Fisher from the Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC) has requested installation of the signs in order to cater to the tourism population. Their locations will be near the terminal building and near the sea plane ramp. Airport personnel will be asked to wipe off/dust the signs occasionally. Commissioner Joy was concerned with replacement costs should the signs be stolen or vandalized. Manager Madeira will return at the July meeting with answers to his concern prior to the agreement being approved and/or signed.
Manager Madeira requested approval to overspend account E40-10-750 due to an unexpected equipment invoice for replacement of a time clock in the maintenance shop; the replacement cos was $3,800 and was filed as a claim with the Risk Pool. Manager Madeira requested to use the expense account as the reimbursement account in order to show that the airport spent $1,000 (amount of our deductible) rather than the actual cost. Commissioner Blasi asked what kind of expenses will come out of the Regular Equipment Maintenance Account; Manager. Madeira’s response was tires, blades and regular maintenance items for equipment.
MOTION: to approve the over expenditure of account E-40-10-400 in the amount of $3,800 for the replacement of the time clock. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Manager Madeira requested a motion to accept the bid from Bangor Neon to manufacture and install a new airport entrance sign. The bid came in at $56,450 but exceeded the budget. $10,000 was for the underground power; after checking with a local electrician he felt it could be accomplished for half of the quoted price. Upon further negation with Bangor Neon the new price was $48,593. Manager Madeira would see if the sign could be made smaller or the electrical could be done in a different way and added that it is a lot of money but it is the best way to advertise the airport and the services offered. Commissioner Blasi wanted to know if the Manager will have a keyboard on his desk to change the sign at anytime. Commissioner Joy asked if the airport can excavate for the new power line and questioned if we own the pole that the current sign is attached to. Commissioner Joy questioned what is charged to our current advertisers and if the airport pay for the power. Manager Madeira will research digging our own trench in order to save some of the new power line costs. Commission Blasi stated that Bangor Neon could manufacture the sign but not install the new power line (only the installation of the sign); he requested to see the specifications for the sign. Commissioner Joy suggested contacting Bangor Neon to tell them that we only have a certain amount of money for the sign, if they can do it within our budget, the job is theirs. Manager Madeira will provide more information at the July meeting. Commissioner Blasi asked about the insurance coverage for a much more expensive sign. His question will also be answered at the July CRM. The discussion was tabled until the July meeting.
Manager Madeira requested formal authorization to discontinue any additional efforts to gain FAA approval for the sea plane ramp project at the airport and authorization to request reimbursement of $20,000 in Community Benefit Funds from the Town of Trenton that was to be used toward the project. Commissioner Joy asked when Manager Madeira informed the Town of Trenton of their decision; notification was sent June 3, 2015 by email; Manager Madeira has not heard back from the Town of Trenton, at this time.
MOTION: to approve the airport manager’s request to discontinue any additional efforts to gain FAA approval for the sea plane ramp project at the airport (Brown/Joy 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed)
Office of Financial Affairs:
County Administrator (CA) Conlogue made a brief presentation regarding the 2014 County Audit and stated that he will present the issues and Auditor Tyson will answer question at the July meeting. In referencing Statement 3 on page 7 of the audit, the note in the first column showed a surplus (2014 Undesignated Fund Balance) of $24,599. Commissioner Blasi stated that this amount was significantly smaller than what the commissioners were previously told. Commissioner Brown stated that Capital Accounts were not committed because of the unknown Undesignated Fund Balance in March 2015.
Regarding Statement 4 on page 8 of the audit, the GAAP practices mandate that the County include reserve funds in the General Funds. What was budgeted and not budgeted accounts for the $222,696 decrease in the Fund balances. CA Conlogue suggested that we could adjust the way we do our budgets in the future. Commissioner Blasi stated that reserve accounts must be included in the General Fund and should be shown in the budget. Commissioner Joy stated that we should understand what we are doing with Capital Funds and not use reserve funds. Commissioner Brown stated that this is the way it has always been done but maybe we need to address some changes and that it is difficult to show what we don’t have until the audit is completed. Commissioner Joy stated that the BAC might say cut taxes and not allow anything else to be adjusted for Capital Funds and that we have to let the budget process show what we have recommended for expenses.
Regarding the Airport operations adjustment found on page 24, bottom right; $36,070 has ben moved from Fund 2 to Fund 5 which will close the issue.
Regarding the Statement of Revenues on Page 28, the General Fund shows a net change of $55,218 which accounts for the 2014 budget reserves and the GAAP basis of deficit which accounts for approved expenditures.
Commissioner Joy stated that he agreed with Blasi’s concerns in regards to over expending budgeted line items without commissioner approval adding that the commissioners need to have more control over over expenditures. CA Conlogue stated that some departments always overspend and some receive more in revenues. CA Conlogue stated that, in his opinion, Exhibit A is the most valuable exhibit in the audit.
The Management Letter contained three 3 concerns: 1) Preparation of the Financial Statements, it would be ideal if the books were closed and Journal Entries were completed prior to the audit, the auditors job is to monitor, not to do the work. According to GASB, the county does not have enough qualified/credentialed staff, such as a CPA. Commissioner Joy stated that this statement is a “CYA” for the auditor, Commissioner Blasi stated that it still does not explain the lack of internal control. Commissioner Brown clarified that it is up to the Commissioners to run the county, the auditors give suggestions. Commissioner Blasi stated that he has previously requested an analysis on how we can avoid a lack of internal controls. 2) The DA has a separate checking account (Restitution) that is maintained in the DA’s office. The auditor suggested that the account be handled by the OFA because there is a lack of control with no checks & balance system. Commissioner Brown stated that the DA’s Office should have the money to do with what its purpose is but it is handled by county employees, therefore the OFA should have control over it. Commissioner Joy stated that the funds are State money and the State should audit it as the County does not have control over it. CA Conlogue stated the he would again ask Auditor Tyson her opinion as to how she would like the account handled. On another note, CA Conlogue added that the State of Maine does not want the extradition account under their Fed ID# so this is another account issue that must be dealt with. 3) Other Comments in the Management Letter stated that the AR and AP issues are still not accurate but progress has been made in 2015. CA Conlogue will remind the Department Heads that all invoices must be entered into the system so that dates are accurate for encumbrances.
10:42 a.m.: Break
10:54 a.m.: Back in session.
CA Conlogue stated the A133 report had only two findings: 1) the 2013 Audit report was submitted late and 2) the Davis-Bacon wage rates must be followed on any federally funded projects. The Letter of Communication contained seven (7) adjusting journal entries which was a significant decrease from the thirty-three (33) entries last year. Commissioner Blasi requested to know what the 7 entries were for and the detail behind each entry as each entry had many sub entries.
CA Conlogue requested to table the scheduling of the Personal Policy workshops until the July 7th meeting.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(a), to seek council on a personnel matter. (Joy/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into regular session at 12:13 p.m. with nothing to report.
Commissioner Joy stated that according to the jail year end projections, they are short by approximately $44,000.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Pamela Linscott, Financial Asst/Clerk