COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
Commission Chairman Percy L. Brown, Jr., called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.
Bid Opening: Airport Diesel Storage Tank.
No Frills Oil Co. - $4,399
Technology International Inc. - $3,315
Gordon’s Contracting Inc. - $11,816 per specifications.
Bids were turned over the Manager Madeira for review and recommendation.
Adjustments to the agenda:
Commissioner Blasi stated the following: “I agree with Commissioner Joy that it takes three commissioners to hold a payment check. The check to the Trenton Volunteer Fire Department should not have been withheld without three commissioner’s approval. I MOVE to deliberate the following policy language under New Business – payment checks may only be withheld with the approval of all commissioners.” (Blasi/ failed for lack of 2nd) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that he withheld the check so that it could come to the attention of the commissioners; it is his right as chairman to do so. Commissioner Blasi stated that he is looking for a more formal approach. Commissioner Brown restated that the commissioners already have language for this and that if any commissioner wants to pull a check from the warrant, they can do so.
MOTION: to approve item 4f, approval of a hand written check outside of the warrant process. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add item 7g, to send an amended Notice of Claim to the State. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add item 7h, approval of Transfer of Forfeited Asset in the case of the State of Maine vs. Andrew McChesney $512. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add item 3f, approval of a second agreement between the County and an employee for $1,396.22 at $26.85 a week. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the August 4, 2015 Commissioners' Regular meeting. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
The Woodcock(s) v. Town of Hancock Tax Appeal Hearings were rescheduled to October 16, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.
County Administrator (CA) Conlogue requested approval of an amendment to the Personnel Policy under Sick Leave. Commissioner Blasi wanted to reemphasize the normal workday is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The definition of the normal workday is stated in another section of the Personnel Policy. The “normal workday” language will be removed for the proposed Sick Time language.
MOTION: to accept the changes to the Sick Leave Policy in our Personnel Policy with the changes of taking the “normal workday” out. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown introduced Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris who presented her concerns as to why the District Attorney is not prosecuting Town shellfish cases. She questioned the role and responsibilities of the District Attorney and gave examples, statutory references and reasons as to why these cases should be prosecuted. Commissioner Blasi asked if there was a local Warden who could prosecute these cases in Small Claims Court. Ms. Billings-Pezaris stated that they have relied on the District Attorney’s Office to do this. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the Town or region ever had a Warden; the answer was yes. Commissioner Blasi asked “what does the State Commissioner (DMR Commissioner) say in response?” Ms. Billings-Pezaris stated that he is conversing with the Attorney General’s (AG) office but Title 12 states that, with regard to all marine resource violations, the DA is to prosecute these cases within his county.
District Attorney Matthew Foster stated if the DA’s office represented the City, they would not be able to represent the County and used the following example; in 1998, DA Bassano represented the County of Washington against the Town of Machiasport, therefore she cannot represent a town. This also opens up the possibility that anyone who perceives an ethics violation can bring a case against the DA’s office and its employees.
DA Foster clarified that there is a difference between a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) and a Shellfish Warden. The Shellfish Warden is exempted from the 100 hour course. Title 12 allows a LEO to represent the town in court; if a Shellfish Warden has completed the 100 hour course, he or she can be authorized, by the town, to represent the Town in court. DA Foster did not see this as a criminal violation but rather a civil violations. Currently, the AG’s office disagrees with his opinion.
Commissioner Brown stated that there is nothing that is going to alleviate this overnight other than a legislative change. He questioned how many of these cases the DA would have in a one month period and asked how long it would take to pursue them. All cases are now in the same court; it would not be any different or take a lesser amount of time from the regular court schedule. There are six (6) trial terms a year and the amount of court time would not add additional time to what the Shellfish Warden is already putting in; the change would be that the Shellfish Warden would keep track of the case, ask the questions and prosecute the case. The LEO would attend court with the Shellfish Warden, a Police Chief could also go to court on behalf of the town. If the “Clam Warden” is a certified LEO, they can be authorized to present the case for the town, if not, they cannot attend. DA Foster stated that he is not trying to derelict any of his duties, it just has not been brought to the forefront. In other counties this is a non-issue because the towns have representation. In District 7, there are twenty three (23) different ordinances. In many cases people were convicted of a criminal offense when it was a civil matter. Attorney Foster stated that previous District Attorneys prosecuted cases when they did not have the authority to do so. Current cases are being followed through; none have been dismissed. Attorney Foster stated that the DA’s Office represents the State of Maine in these cases. Sheriff Kane stated that he is willing to help with these cases but he needs to find out who needs the proper training and when classes are available.
Ms. Billings-Pezaris stated that Wardens do not go the Criminal Justice Academy because towns do not have the resources to have their own Police Departments. She would like to see all parties sit down and agree on the legislation.
Commissioner Brown stated that one of the discussions for use of Community Benefit funds was for Clam Wardens, etc. He suggested a county wide ordinance as a way to solve some of the issues. DA Foster suggested assigning one ADA to these cases to avoid any conflict of interest.
Old Business- continued:
Commissioners Budget Workshops were scheduled for Tuesday, September 15th at 8:30 a.m. and September 18th at 8:00 a.m. with a possibility of one more.
Regarding the inclusion of One Hancock and EPIC Maine as a Third Party in the budget process, Commissioner Blasi read the following: “I unsuccessfully requested an agenda item to discuss considering advertising for agencies to apply for funding as a 3rd Party under Department 17; my request included the use of Community Benefit funds for revenue. When I became aware the 3rd Party funding budget questionnaire application deadline one day before the submission deadline, I contacted three organizations. If we are going to continue funding these Department 17 requests we should be transparent by notifying the public regarding the budget questionnaire submission deadline. The agencies that receive yearly funding are accustomed to filing but others have no idea about the procedure. One Hancock filed in time but did not indicate their funding request; two others were unable to submit by the deadline. Please set up a message to send a reminder of the questionnaire filing deadline to the commissioners so that I can have more time to alert constituents.” Commissioner Blasi requested a motion to include One Hancock and Epic Maine to the Third Party Donation List, as we know it now.
Commissioner Brown questioned how Commissioner Blasi proposed to fund the request. Commissioner Blasi stated that he thought the commissioners would debate. Commissioner Brown stated that the commissioners would not have a say about it; the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) would. Commissioner Blasi stated that it was his intention to put it on the Manager’s budget before the BAC sees it and let it run its normal course.
MOTION: to include One Hancock and Epic Maine on the Third Party Donations list. (Blasi / motion failed due to lack of second). Discussion: Commissioner Joy questioned the process whereby other organizations can apply for 3rd Party Donation status. He stated that he is not looking to add another $100,000 in taxation but thought there should be a way to apply for said status. Commissioner Brown stated that when the Commissioners took applications for Community Benefit money, they did not realize that this year there is not going to be any Community Benefit money. Commissioner Blasi stated he was glad he had until September 15, 2015 to get back to his organization with answers. Commissioner Brown stated that the BAC usually adds to 3rd Party Donations as he has never seen them cut. Commissioner Joy stated that a Commissioner has never added funds to the 3rd Parties and the BAC approves them followed by the Commissioners giving final approval. Posting of the questionnaire to the website was suggested. A discussion should come in the future as to whether other organizations can apply.
Office of Financial Affairs:
MOTION: to approve August General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #15-31, #15-32, #15-33, and #15-34 in the aggregate of $220,111.64. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve August General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #15-37, #15-38, #15-39, and #15-41 in the aggregate of $326,155.96. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed) Commissioner Blasi stated that he was not going to sign Warrant #41 due to an overdraft in the amount of $63.16 in the Registry of Deeds that is over the budgeted amount from account E09-10-001.
MOTION: to approve August Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #16-05 -16-06, #16-07 and #16-08, in the aggregate of $90,183.45. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve August Jail and UT Fund Expense Warrants #15-66, #16-06, #16-07, #16-08, and #16-09 in the aggregate of $177,060.48. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown stated that the $1,500 check for the Town of Trenton is no longer an issue and should be allowed to go through the warrant and mailed today.
Treasurer Eldridge presented financial reports and update on AR. Commissioner Blasi requested to know which convention expenses were changed to account G3-3025-00. Commissioner Joy stated that the commissioners voted to authorize up to $2,000 towards conventions items. Lodging and meals are paid under departmental budgetary accounts. Commissioner Blasi stated that he did not recall budgeting for convention expenses in the 2015 budget.
Commissioner Blasi questioned if we had a UT Audit report. Drafts of the Jail and UT Audits have been received and CA Conlogue is responding to questions prior to issuance the final report. Commissioner Blasi asked about #74 MEMA, anything yet? Deputy Treasurer Atwater has not heard anything regarding that account yet.
MOTION: to approve expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $149,272.49. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy asked if we are reaching the cap (stop loss) with any of our individuals. Personnel Coordinator DePrenger was uncertain. Commissioner Joy stated that if $112,132.06 has been spent in FY15 for FY14, we have overspent our budget by approximately $60,000. He would like to know the answer by the next meeting.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure in the amount of $332 from capital reserve account #G1-3015-20 Cascade Reserve for the purchase of 4-test kits for the breathing air compressor. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed).
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign the Agreement between Crystal Hobbs and Hancock County in the terms that are stated in the agreement. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign an Agreement between the County of Hancock and Dana Austin for the Maine PERS payment. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi asked the following questions:
Does our Trial Balance, balance? Yes
Have all county checking account statements for the prior month been reconciled, without error? Yes
Are the due to/from accounts in balance? Yes
Do revenue and expense accounts reconcile to the control accounts? Yes
Commissioner Brown stated that he read an email from Treasurer Eldridge regarding missing funds and questioned which funds were missing. Treasurer Eldridge stated that the previous Treasurer told her about missing funds and that there was a discrepancy. Commissioner Blasi suggested a forensic audit. Treasurer Eldridge stated that she understood that it was in Reserve Accounts and that she tried on two different occasions to meet with Commissioner Brown regarding her concerns. These are possible missing monies from Reserve Accounts ending on 12/31/2010 but this amount has not come up in the last four audits. Treasurer Eldridge stated that Auditor Tyson has stated that it would have been hard to discover because money is coming in and going out all the time. The previous Treasurer did not bring this to the Auditor’s attention but Treasurer Eldridge had brought it to the attention of Commissioner Lawson, DA Bassano and Sheriff Clark. Commissioner Brown stated that missing funds need to be reported to all the commissioners and questioned whether there was any proof or if it was/is hearsay. No proof has ever been presented. Treasurer Eldridge stated that if she knew there were missing funds, it was her statutory duty to report it. Commissioner Brown stated that Treasurer Planchart should be asked where she thought the funds were missing from and how much money may be missing.
Manager Madeira gave a brief overview of the Airport Generator Enclosure Project. This will allow the Airport to fully function without power being supplied from the utility provider. Currently, the Airport does not have a generator for the terminal building. A Load Analysis can be conducted in order to match it with the correct size generator. A fixed generator on an automatic transfer switch could also be installed. Commissioner Blasi preferred to have the automatic option in order to protect the facility. A mobile generator will not require an engineer. Commissioner Brown stressed finding out what the generator load is first. The construction cost would be approximately $25,000 to $30,000. A generator to do what is needed would cost approximately $15,000. Commissioner Joy suggested pursuing hooking into propane for the next 30 days.
Manager Madeira requested approval to fund account G2-3011-06 with an additional $10K for professional services in connection with Air Service Development/Sixel Consulting. Currently $4,400 is remaining from the original $5,900. The Business Case Document is created by Sixel and is a sales tool to market the airport and air route to other air carriers. The work plan to implement the marketing plan is being worked on. The presentation has not yet been billed and there has been no conclusive feedback yet.
MOTION: to approve the transfer of $10,000 G2-3011-06 and take the money from the undesignated fund in the airport. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Manager Madeira requested a final determination regarding the release of checks in the amount of $74,016.12 to Hoyle, Tanner Associates in association with AIP37. (Terminal Building Expansion & Renovation Project) After further discussion, the following action was taken:
MOTION: to release or rewrite the check to Hoyle Tanner and sign the letter from them that says they will pay us $7,500. (Joy/Blasi 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: the prospect of a new engineer had no bearing on this decision.
Manager Madeira recommended the bid from Technology International Inc. in the amount of $3,315 for the Airport 1,000g diesel storage tank. A permit needs to be filed and an engineer needs to sign off of on it. Commissioner Brown suggested contacting Technology International Inc. to ask them to provide an engineer. The hook-up of the tank was not included in the bid but the No Frills Oil Co. bid included the hook-up with a total price of $4,399. Per the specs alone, Technology International Inc. passed the qualifications. No Frills Oil Co. will be asked if they can check the engineer box on the permit.
MOTION: to accept the bid from No Frills Oil Co., if they can fulfill the tank install certificate for the installation of the 1,000 gallon tank. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the bid appears to meet specifications.
Manager Madeira recommended Jacobs Engineering Group to be the Airport planning and engineering consultant for the next 5 years. There was a noticeable difference in the applicants and Jacobs comes highly recommended. Jacobs has extensive airport design, planning and construction throughout the Northeast; they have been providing diversified engineering consulting services for over 60 years and they have two thousand professionals across the United States. Our prospective project manager has over 13 years of project management experience in the aviation industry and has successfully completed several projects recently at the Bangor International Airport. He stated that the group especially liked that the Project Manager was the lead in nearly every facet of the project; from design, grant administration, bidding, construction management, resident engineering and closeout/billing. This was the noticeable difference in the applicants; it’s nice to know that the same person that designs a project is there during construction.
MOTION: to accept the committee’s recommendation to hire Jacobs Engineering Group as airport engineer. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: The General Consulting Agreement has a 5-year term per MDOT requirements. Commissioner Brown stated that he always tries to hire a Maine firm but if the board recommended the hiring of Jacobs, he would go along with it.
MOTION: to authorize a hand written check in the amount of $220.31 to Shell Oil Co. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
The ramp road repair project has not moved forward at this time but it should begin in the fall. The new sign will be installed after the permit from the Town of Trenton is reviewed and approved and hopefully installation will occur prior to winter. Commissioner Blasi questioned if there is any word on new hanger development; there is currently one site being considered.
MOTION: to approve new Agreements with the City of Ellsworth for use of the Ellsworth Transfer Station for Fletcher’s Landing, 10, 16, 22, 28, 32, 34, 35, 39, 40 and 41. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: UT Supervisor Billings is still working on Township 4.
MOTION: to award the bid for Back Road Reclamation Project to Lane Construction Corporation with a total bid price of $15,829. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Lane Construction has the necessary Workers Compensation and liability insurance.
MOTION: to extend the Snow Removal Agreement with R.F. Jordan & Sons Inc. for Fletchers Landing Township. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Barry Trucking has bid on Rt. 179 in the past but last year his bid was approximately $2,000 higher than Jordan’s.
MOTION: to extended the Snow Removal Agreement with Randy L. Perry for T22 and T28. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: paperwork is complete.
Commissioner Blasi sought clarification as to if the permit for Hancock Wind has been withdrawn or stayed by Sun Edison as reported in The Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News. According to UT Supervisor Billings, Hancock Wind is onsite and construction is moving forward but, the Weaver Wind permit application was withdrawn.
11:57 a.m.: Break for lunch Back at 12:25
MOTION: to accept the resignation of Elsa Trenholm effective October 1, 2015. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed). She will be moving to the Philippines to be with her family.
MOTION: to approve the hire of Diane Moon of Surry as a full-time janitor at Step 4C $11.85 hour, effective September 19, 2015. (Joy/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed) There were 6 applications received.
During a recent trip to Bull Hill, Director Walls found the generator not working due to a heater breaker trip. He stated that the use of an arc fault breaker was inadequate and is researching options. The battery has been replaced and a key box was added to the building. Monthly site visits were initiated in order to assess the situation. The EMA, RCC and the UT will share in the responsibility of checking the facility and there will be a maintenance schedule. Director Walls will check with the electrician to see why the breaker was not adequate in the first place. Each tower has an internet connection and we can possibly obtain access to the system that way, but we need a computer platform installed.
Director Walls needs to have the maintenance truck serviced; which currently is in need of over $3,000 work in the form of rust repairs, tires, shocks and transmission work in order pass inspection. Sheriff Kane has offered the use of the SO mechanic for some of the work. There is $10,000 left in the budget for these repairs or it may go towards purchasing another vehicle.
Commissioner Blasi asked how the heating/cooling efficiency has changed due to the installation of heat pumps; Director Walls remarked that everything is OK this summer.
Regarding the jail update: Funds may arrive by the end of October but the outlook from the State of Maine is uncertain at this time. Federal monies were going to be paid by “following the inmate” but there is language that says the monies will go to the Jail that sent the inmate.
Commissioner Blasi inquired as to the current balance of the Inmate Benefit account: it is approximately $34,808. He questioned if all the accounting is done thru the General Fund at this time? The answer was yes. Commissioner Blasi stated that the audit is done on the Jail by itself and questioned if it would be any less expensive to have it done as part of the General Fund.
MOTION: to remove administratively the following part-time, on-call, as needed correction officers from the employment roll: Dales Wells, Raymond C. Mitchell, Justin Backer, Jodi Bickford and Mary Ann Sheets. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to reaffirm the hire of Levi G. Soper of Ellsworth, Casey L. Meyers of Cherryfield and Christal Warren of Hampden as part-time, on call, as needed corrections officers at the rate of $12 per hour, effective August 22, 2015. (Joy/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the hire C. Lillian Charron of Saco as a part time corrections officer effective September 5, 2015 at $12.00 no benefits. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Cannot exceed 29 hours per week
MOTION: to approve the hire of Michael E. Southard of Dedham as a part time deputy effective September 5, 2015 at $12.50, no benefits. (Brown/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi questioned how many part timers could be hired. It is based on $7,500 as budgeted for this year. The Swan Island Officer’s health insurance is being paid by the Town of Swans Island Contract; Commissioner Blasi was very happy to see that.
MOTION: to approve the forfeited asset of the State of Maine vs. Andrew McChesney in the amount of $512. (Joy/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
The following cruiser bids were opened:
Darlings: 2016 Ford Interceptor $26,993 (no trade-in)
2016 Ford Interceptor $28,714 (no trade-in)
2015 Chevrolet Silverado $31,657 (no trade-in)
Quirk: 2016 Ford Interceptor $27,290 (no trade in)
2016 Chevrolet 1500 crew cab $32,393 (no trade-in)
Commissioner Blasi asked what kind of vehicle was needed; Sheriff Kane stated the budget would help to make that decision; he will discuss with CA Conlogue where the money would come from. Hopefully, the fuel account will be underspent this year and maybe there are some other accounts that can be “found.”
MOTION: to amend the Notice of Claim to State by $36,154 plus (Brown/Joy/n 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Attorney Hamer will be contacted regarding the Jail past due payments from the State of Maine under the law that was in effect at the time of the 2015 Budget.
Budget Workshop dates were scheduled September 15th and September 18th. The BAC sets its own schedule; they are usually held on a Wednesday evenings.
Commissioner Joy asked if CA Conlogue would please follow up with the Town of Eastbrook regarding wind tower project funds.
The Maine County Commissioners Association Annual Convention is scheduled for September 9, 10 and 11th with set up on Tuesday night.
Commissioner Blasi asked if there is any news from Eric Stumpfel Esq. regarding the depreciation schedule for the wind towers; hopefully Dave Fowler will have more information later in the month.
Currently, there are 51 cell phones in use by the County employees at a cost of approximately $3,000 per month. CA Conlogue will be investigating the possibility of some new plans.
MOTION: to adopt the Policy for Identifying Full-time Employees under the County’s Group Health Plan. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CA Conlogue requested approval of the updated Health Insurance Plan Document; upon further discussion he was asked to bring it back to the September 15th CSM for approval.
CA Conlogue requested permission to issue a Request for Proposal for the purchase and installation of a repeater on Mount Waldo. The cost of the Analysis Study will be approximately $2,000 to $3,000. When submitted to the Commissioners, an award can be voted upon. The equipment will allow synchronization with other equipment utilized throughout Hancock County. The money would come from RCC accounts that are designated for equipment and repairs/maintenance.
MOTION: to do a structural analysis to be paid from reserve account 07-70-100 for an amount up to $3000 (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to issue a RFP for the purchase and installation of a repeater on Mt Waldo (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
There has been no word from the Army Corp of Engineers regarding the oyster farm in Trenton.
Negotiations regarding the Treasurer Position with Treasurer Eldridge was discussed. The State of Maine Auditor has written that the Treasurer needs to have a more active role in Hancock County affairs. CA Conlogue has met with Treasurer Eldridge to discuss her duties. She would continue to perform the duties she currently oversees and after meeting with Auditor Tyson, she has added the reviewing Bank Statements, balancing the Due to/From accounts and balancing the budget to TRIO; she is willing to take training courses and in-office training.
Commissioner Joy asked Treasurer Eldridge if she would be willing to work full-time for the County, her response was “yes, I willing to do what is needed to get the job done.” Commissioner Brown is questioned if Treasurer Eldridge realized the number of hours needed to complete her duties. Treasurer Eldridge responded that she is willing to be a full-time Treasurer; she is willing to learn the duties and as a supervisor in a lawyer’s office, she has knowledge of how an office is run. The financial experience will come as she becomes familiar with TRIO and County practices. Commissioner Brown asked if Treasurer Eldridge thought that County government should have a financial person with a CPA in a supervisory position; her response was yes. Commissioner Brown asked about the Due To/From accounts; Treasurer Eldridge could not explain its meaning stating that she knows that the money goes into one account but really belongs to another Fund.
Commissioner Joy asked about MainePERS and stated that only full-time employees are eligible for the benefit under County Policy. Commissioner Brown asked if she would be willing to be paid hourly as she worked during the week. Commissioner Brown requested a few days to think about how this arrangement could be made amicable for everyone and briefly discussed his vision of combining the Admin/Finance office with CA Conlogue as the overall Supervisor. Commissioner Joy stated that the OFA has been in disarray since the departure of the CFO and it needs to be figured out as soon as possible. Treasurer Eldridge requested to have the phone answered as Treasurers’ Office instead of Office of Financial Affairs; the commissioners agreed with her request (a motion was not called for.) The salary and job duties discussion will be tabled until the September 15th CSM.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)