COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
Commission Chairman Percy L. Brown Jr., called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:02 a.m. on Friday, September 18, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.
There were no adjustments to the agenda:
CA Conlogue stated that he suggested a salary to the treasurer which she thought was too low, Treasurer Eldridge proposed a salary of $37,000 annually with participation in Maine PERS. Commissioner Joy asked “can we do #1?” CA Conlogue stated that if the Treasurer is considered full-time, from that point going forward the answer would be yes but retroactive participation in Maine PERS will have to be discussed with the Maine PERS representative because she has been part-time up until whatever you decide currently.
Commissioner Joy stated that he agreed with #3; regarding #4, Commissioner Joy questioned if this was different from what is being done for anyone else / are we treating her differently from how we are treating any other elected official; the answer was yes and no; there are retired employees who are receiving supplemental funds to pay for their supplemental retiree insurance; there are currently no current employees or elected officials subscribing to this method of payment for a supplemental health insurance plan. Commissioner Blasi agreed with Commissioner Joy on numbers 1 through 4. Commissioner Brown disagreed and stated the only elected official in this building that is designated a full-time person is the Register of Deeds and that “we all as elected officials are full-time, and if this is the case and two commissioners want to pay for Maine PERS for the treasurer then the commissioners should be entitled to the same as the treasurer, he currently has 15 years with the county and whatever they would like to retroactive would be fine.
Commissioner Brown preferred to use an hourly basis for the treasurer and see that negotiated; he also stated that if the commissioners decided to pay the treasurer $37,000 for the position the tax payers should also expect the same kind of performance that was received from the former CFO of how he handled that office, in other words the presentation that the CFO gave to the commissioners would be the same. Commissioner Brown stated that the treasurer is going to have to say that she is going to do the same work that the former CFO before he will talk salary, he would much rather talk about per hour if this is not the case. Commissioner Joy stated one of his questions to Treasurer Eldridge was if she viewed this as a full-time job, her answer was yes. It was Commissioner Joy’s hope that if she can do the job and do it on a full-time basis; because he thinks it is a full-time job; if it is a full-time job, it deserves full-time pay. Commissioner Joy stated that there is a full-time expectation, it is a very important job within the whole system and “if you will give that kind of attention and work to it, I am going to compensate you for that.”
MOTION: that we accept and institute numbers 1-4 on the treasurer’s request dated Thursday, September 17, 2015. (Blasi/ Discussion: Commissioner Joy stated that he was not going to second the motion due to questions that can be answered on Monday; he could not say yes 1) because it had a dollar amount attached to it and 2) he questioned if from January 1, 2011 forward, some of the State Auditor’s letter reprimanded (in a way) that the treasurer was a part-time treasurer (Eldridge agreed), if that is true the question remains if Maine PERS will retro retirement benefits from four years ago, he was not sure that this could be done. Commissioner Joy was okay with numbers 2-4.
MOTION to accept 2, 3 and 4 of the treasurer’s proposition to us and that 1 is to be negotiated still. (Joy/Blasi 2-1, motion passed Brown opposed.) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that he thought it should be an hourly. Commissioner Joy stated that an effective date will be negotiated/coupled with #1.
CA Conlogue requested commissioner approval of updated health insurance documents for Active Employees/Retirees Under Age 65 and the Retirees Health Insurance Plan. Commissioner Joy stated he has not read the full document and asked the Personnel Coordinator is she was comfortable with its contents; she was.
MOTION: to sign the updated health insurance document and authorize the chairman to sign it on behalf of the three commissioners. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the title of the document is County of Hancock Health Plan (Active Employees and Retirees Under Age 65) Group No.: 14910 Plan Document and Summary Plan Description Meritain Health.
MOTION: authorize the chairman to sign the Plan Document and Summary Plan Description for County of Hancock Health Plan (Retiree Medical Benefits) (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioners Budget Workshop: The following proposed budgets will be discussed:
Treasurer’s Office - 05
Proposed Revenues: $48,000
Proposed Expenditures: $120,044
Regarding revenue; PILT (Payment in lieu of taxation) from Acadia National Park in the amount of $8,923 were included in the 2014 OFA/Treasurers Office revenues, Commissioner Joy preferred to see them shown Department 51 Town Taxes. Account R05-103 reflects $9,000 in PILT funds and $2,000 in Miscellaneous Revenue.
R 05-103 the majority of commissioners agreed that account R 5-103 would be reduced to $2,000 making the total for Department 5 $39,000.
Account 05-01-100 Manager can be removed, enter $37,000 account 05-01-115 Treasurer and populate FICA, Retirement and WC Lines.
Commissioner Blasi suggested, and it was agreed by the majority of the commissioners, to reduce account E 05-10-002 Postage to $1,250.
Commissioner Blasi suggested, and it was agreed to by the majority of the commissioners, to reduce account E05 10-500 Bank Checks/Charges to $100.
Commissioner Blasi suggested, and it was agreed to by the majority of the commissioners, to reduce account E 05-30-315 Payroll Services to $8,000.
Registry of Probate - 08
Proposed Revenues: $128,600
Proposed Expenditures: $193,800
Commissioner Joy questioned if the Register of Probate is going to finish her term. The answer was no, her resignation letter has been submitted to the Republican Committee and a note has been received by Commissioner Brown regarding her early retirement. Commissioner Joy would have appreciated a courtesy notice from the Register to the full board of commissioners. CA Conlogue was requested to find out where she is in the process.
Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing account R 08-100 Filing Fees by $10,000; the suggestion was withdrawn. Commissioner Joy suggested increasing account R 08-100 Filing Fees to $100,000. The agreed upon amount was $97,500.
Commissioner Joy stated that there are revenues in Probate that are not being charged. Miscellaneous cost of mailing was discussed, the cost of envelopes and paper could be charged. Register Curtis stated that the Registry of Probate spends a fortune in postage and the commissioners are correct in looking into revenues for this department.
Surcharge monies are set in Statute for Records Restoration; the cost is approximately $10. Commissioner Brown wanted to know what Copies include and questioned if more could be charged for these items. Commissioner Joy suggested increasing account R 08-105 to $2,500, the majority of commissioners agreed.
Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing account R 08-107 Records Restoration, his suggestion was withdrawn.
Commissioner Blasi suggested increasing account R 08-111 Attestation to $350; Commissioner Joy suggested an increase in account R 05-111 Attestation to $500, the majority of the commissioners agreed. The actual cost per document is $5.
Regarding the Icon website; revenues are not received as often as first promised. Registry of Deeds website revenue is set in legislation. Commissioner Joy suggested increasing the Registry of Probate website fees through legislation. Register Curtis stated that the Registry of Probate is at the mercy of their vendor. Commissioner Joy stated that cost should be passed on to clients, not through taxation.
The majority of the commissioners agreed to reduce account R 08-108 Internet Fees to $500.
Commissioner Joy stated his concerns with account R 08-107 Records Restoration. Different Fees and cost distribution was discussed. Commissioner Brown questioned if the county gets a financial break from the Ellsworth American and if not suggested sending our business to the Bangor Daily. There is no contract with the Ellsworth American.
Commissioner Joy questioned how mailing fees are charged; the cost of the envelope is included in the fee. Charges for Certified Mailings is/is not recouped within the Registry of Probate; it varies on the service provided or if a signature is required for the court date; this is a court decision, not a requirement.
Abstracts is a fee that is charged for the abstract that is recorded in the Registry of Deeds.
Commissioner Blasi questioned the reduction in Account E 08-01-300 Part-time; he questioned the actual staffing need based on the budget. This has to do with the lack of surcharge funds received therefore the part-time line has to be reduced.
Commissioner Joy questioned the increase in account E 08-01-110 Deputy Manager. The Deputy Manager does recording work every Tuesday, sometimes 4-5 times a day, in lieu of a stenographer. This is done by hand, not typing; court stenography would cost $250 per hearing. Commissioner Joy appreciated the savings. Commissioner Brown questioned if amount requested included the 1.5% COLA increase. CA Conlogue stood by this recommendation.
Commissioner Brown suggested reducing account 08-30-115 Stenographer to $100; Commissioner Joy suggested reducing account E 08-30-115 Stenographer to $250; this was agreed to by the majority of the commissioners. Commissioner Joy stated that the use of Deputy Register Jordan as a Recorder vs. a Stenographer is working, it was a good suggestion.
Commissioner Brown questioned account E 08-30-125 Copier Maintenance; he was concerned that the account was under funded. The terms of the Transco contract will be checked.
Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing account R 08-07-100 to $1,000.
Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing account E 08-07-500 Dues/Subscriptions to $600. Commissioner Brown suggested asking Register Cousins about this item.
Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing account 08-10-001 Office to $2,850 or even lower, his suggestion was withdrawn.
Commissioner Joy questioned account E 08-30-105 Statutes, this is for the purchase of four new books each year and pocket-packs for updates. Subscription (online) vs. hard copy and their content was discussed. The Register will be asked about this purchase.
A workstation computer has been requested from account E 08-35-200 Computer. Commissioner Joy suggested budgeting the cost of the computer under Revenue to make the purchase revenue neutral. Commissioner Brown would like to see a replacement plan for each department for computer replacement; CA Conlogue will survey the departments for their input. Commissioner Joy suggested purchasing the computer from account E 08-70-150. Register Curtis suggested having her ICON vendor spec out her computer need. Commissioner Brown/Joy preferred to show revenue from account G 3014-40 in the amount of $1,200 to make the computer purchase revenue neutral.
Registry of Deeds - 09
Proposed Revenues: $735,700
Proposed Expenditures: $267,540
Commissioner Joy stated that through legislation with the help of Register Curtis fee changes were made to help the Registry of Deeds make money. In 2014 the Registry not only made money for the County/Registry of Deeds, they exceeded their budget by $44,000. Commissioner Blasi thanked Register Curtis for “the work.”
Commissioner Blasi voiced his observations for accounts R 09-101 Transfer Tax, R 09-102 Fees and R 09-103 Copy Fees. As of yesterday $100,000 in transfer tax has been collected for the county. R 09-102 Fees was reduced due to low volume.
Commissioner Joy preferred to see Deeds revenue in total at $745,000; he left it up to the Register to change the account numbers. The commissioners agreed that account R 09-102 Fees should be increased to $500,000.
Commissioner Blasi questioned the addition of $2,500 in account E 09-20-200 for the purchase of a Heat Pump for the middle room. This has also been budgeted in the Maintenance Department. Account E 09-20-200 Equipment was reduced to $700.
Commissioner Blasi questioned account E 09-30-105 Statutes; these are shared with the Registry of Probate, Commissioners Office and the Treasurer’s Office.
Commissioner Brown questioned account E 09-01-110 Deputy Manager and E 09-01-130 Regular; they include Step increases. Retirement increased with the addition of an employee.
E 09-10-005 Bank Fees – is used for bank credit card processing fees; the Registry is now showing these fees as revenues to make the line revenue neutral.
E 09-30-500 Microfilming/Index – that is the amount that we pay our current vendor; the previous vendor was more expensive. This is a cushion that is utilized if recording machinery goes down and needs replacement.
Register Curtis stated that everyone would like to have a raise. Commissioner Brown stated that Register Curtis has done an excellent job with her budget. Without her revenues and her oversight “we would be in serious trouble.” Commissioner Joy stated that he would like to see Probate earn more revenue next year.
Break: 10:05 a.m. Back in Session: 10:10 a.m.
10 – Sheriff’s Department
Proposed Revenues: $9,500
Proposed Expenditures: $1,276,467
Commissioner Blasi questioned account R 10-116 Computer Revenue – This is for the purchase of Net Motion which is billed out to different LEO entities throughout the county.
Commissioner Joy questioned account R 10-100 Misc. Income – there were some abnormalities for insurance claims over the past few years that went into this account; grants for cruiser cameras were also shown in this line. Commissioner Joy questioned if the amount should be closer to $3,500 - $4,000. The amount is an unknown until received. Commissioner Joy suggested increasing account R 10-100 Misc. Income to $4,000, the majority of the commissioners agreed.
Commissioner Brown questioned if the sale of cruisers should be shown as a revenue in the departmental account; normally it is shown under a capital account. A Crown Victoria was sold for $1,038 in January/February last year. Commissioner Brown did not mind funds being put into a capital account as long as it is addressed. He was satisfied with putting cruiser sale revenue funds in the capital account. Commissioner Joy would like to see a vehicle line within the budget with an explanation that the funds are going into a capital account; Commissioners Blasi and Brown agreed. The capital expenditure spreadsheet will be updated with this revenue. Commissioner Blasi requested a Revenue number for vehicle sales.
Commissioner Brown stated that expenditures do not reflect any Union increases. Account 10-01-130 reflects a 1.5% increase and Step Increases.
Commissioner Joy stated that he was in favor of the position of account E 10-01-111 Director of Standards and Compliance – because, in the past, the previous sheriff was not fully open; Commissioner Joy stated that he will not support the position going forward, this is a budget decision and does not reflect on the employee. Sheriff Kane stated that Major Bishop is the only person in the state that performs school safety assessments and disagreed with Commissioner Joy’s assessment.
Commissioner Brown questioned where the DA Detective fits into the SO detective position. The DA has agreed to keep the DA Detective position in his budget for the next year; they do not know who will fill the position in the sheriff’s department as it has to be posted and advertised prior to selection. Sheriff Kane would like to have the SO and DA Detective positions filled. The DA would prefer to have a Clerk position rather than a detective. If the DA Detective position is lost the sheriff’s department will have to make a decision as to which cases to investigate. Commissioner Brown would like to see the DA Detective in the SO Detective position. It was made clear that the DA Detective position is in jeopardy. Sheriff Kane said that he could use a second detective position full-time. Sheriff Kane stated that if a full time detective investigates crimes full time; a part-time detective investigates crimes half of that time.
Sheriff Kane stated that they are woefully understaffed; the Major position created opportunities to use supervisors to investigate crimes. The SO has long range plans for the Major position. To remove the position is headed in the wrong direction. Commissioner Joy questioned why the Jail Administrator could not do the work that will be assigned to the Major (in the jail) in the coming year. Commissioner Blasi stated that another theory is that Major Bishop perform detective work. Sheriff Kane stated that he was needed in the office environment rather than in the field.
Commissioner Brown stated that the SO budget is at an 11.04% increase now; he suggested turning the budget back to the sheriff for changes.
Sheriff Kane stated that there are two missing items in the budget, account 10-07-500 Dues for $1,000 and account E 10-07-600 Training/Registrations should be budgeted at $10,000.
Commissioner Blasi questioned why Sheriff Kane wanted to give up a good deputy to MDEA. Sheriff Kane stated that to send a person with less experience to MDEA would not be wise, this is a reassignment of approximately 5 years then the person will be rotated out for another officer. Due to the retirement of Detective Brown, a fire arms instructor is needed at a cost of approximately $1,500. The State Academy is a combined academy of State, Municipal and County instructors and participants. 1,500 rounds of ammunition is needed to attend academy training; State funding is not eligible for this training. The cost of tuition for the academy is $2,500. Municipal reimbursement, up to $25,000, is set by State Law.
Overtime is being managed well.
E 10-30-325 Computer Support is for Spillman, Net Motion, and computer programs.
The cost of ammunition is covered under E10-10-012 Public Safety.
E 10-70-100 Equipment is intended for the purchase of cameras with matching grants through Public Safety it also includes bullet proof vests.
E 10-70-200 Technology is seed money for computer purchases and upgrades.
There are 3 vehicles budgeted in account E 10-70-300 Vehicles; the cost is roughly $25,000 a piece, fully equipped.
E 10-70 305 Fire Arm Reserve is for replacement of pistols that are between 11 to 20 years old.
Commissioner Joy questioned if a cruiser was going to be purchased from the contract account. The answer was no, this will be done in 2017. Commissioner Joy did not understand this. There is no one person assigned to Town Contracts; every officer works Town Contracts. Commissioner Joy questioned if that account could be utilized to purchase a cruiser. Revenues are supposed to be entered into this account monthly; they have not been added since April. $3,000 should be added to the $13,000 total.
Sheriff’s Forfeitures in the capital account are used to offset $25,000 in DTF revenue each year. If these funds were used for vehicle purchases we would fall short in DTF revenues. All funds for forfeitures over $25,000 are applied to the next year’s revenues.
Regarding the town contract cruiser account; $16,000 is in this account by the end of August, the commissioners would like to hear the funding formula for this account.
Commission Joy wanted to know how the jail budget is going to effect the sheriff’s budget.
Washington County currently has a DTF agent that they are paying; reimbursement of the officer by the Stated was discussed.
According to Sheriff Kane $12,000 in account E 10-10-100 Uniforms is not an extravagant price to pay for uniforms for all the deputies.
12 – Formal Town Contracts
Proposed Revenues: $276,396
Proposed Expenditures: $240,719
Commissioner Brown questioned the difference between revenues and expenses for Department 12; the Swan’s Island contract is included in the FY16 budget projection. Some of the monies that go into this account pay for vehicles; all surplus revenues from this account go into the town contract cruiser account. Commissioner Brown stated that all excess revenue should go to the Undesignated Fund. Equipment cost is included in the Contract Cruiser Account. The variable in this account is health insurance. A 1.5% wage increase is also included.
R 12-118 Swan’s Island includes retirement. There is no profit margin built into this account. The Swan’s Island contract is going very well.
R 12-315 Employee Health Insurance includes the cost of health insurance for the Swan’s Island contract. $21,000 for the cost of the health insurance was supplied by former CFO Roy; it appears that different numbers have been given to different departments. We do not have a number going forward. Commissioner Joy requested actual working numbers for health insurance plans.
The cost of the Swan’s Island Officer is $84,834; Commissioner Brown questioned the difference in the cost of the Swan’s Island Officer Expenditures vs. Revenues. A new contract will be signed in January 2016.
13 – Civil Process
Proposed Revenues: $125,360
Proposed Expenditures: $135,958
Commissioner Blasi requested an explanation of account R 13-300 RCC/Emp. Share of costs – these funds are part of the EMA Secretary’s wage for working (sharing of an employee) in the RCC. The RCC will reimburse the SO for this. There will be no overtime associated with the SO for this help. Any work over 40 hours is paid at overtime; Sheriff Kane stated that the SO will never pay overtime for this employee. All overtime is paid for work done in the RCC. While working in the RCC during her regular workweek, the employee is paid her regular wage through the RCC. When the agreement was made, the commissioners made it clear that overtime would not be incurred. Commissioner Joy asked if there were enough documents or was there a backlog that is being taken care of right now, that will not be created in FY16.
Commissioners Joy stated that the current budget is “right on” for FY15 but we are still not revenue neutral; he questioned if revenue neutral was attainable. They are at the mercy of whatever comes in. Patrol deputies are utilized to serve papers when applicable. The cost of papers served with discussed.
Commissioner Brown asked about the $1,185 in capital accounts for bullet proof vests; some of these funds can be utilized against the budget to offset the cost of the purchase of bullet proof vests. Commissioner Brown questioned why DARE is still funded; these are left over funds but DARE is still being taught in schools.
The Sheriff’s Forfeitures capital account in the amount of $500 was generated several years ago at the Blue Hill Fair.
Capital Account 3046-10 Sheriff Vehicle Purchases in the amount of $2,500 can be utilized to offset the budget. The capital account entitled Sherriff Equipment Technology could be utilized to offset the budget.
Sheriff Kane stated that they have a copier that is “circling the drain” Transco will not work on it anymore.
Commissioner Blasi asked if the commissioners were agreeing to show these capital accounts as revenues in the budget; the sheriff will rework his budget to possibly include the suggestion.
Cost of fees and legislative increases were discussed.
Commissioner Brown questioned if account 01-120 Administrative Assistant was moved to the RCC for two days a week, what affect would it have on the SO budget.
46 – Drug Task Force
Proposed Revenues: $129,062
Proposed Expenditures: $254,816
Commissioner Brown questioned the increase in the DTF budget; it is due to the reimbursement of the MDI officer’s health insurance. Commissioner Joy questioned why we are paying someone else when we can use our own employees. CD Kane stated that the DTF was set up geographically. Commissioner Joy preferred to have our people on the DTF that way we can control costs. Commissioner Brown requested the Sheriff research the DTF agreement; it was stated that Percy L. Brown, Jr. was an original signer of the agreement. Participation on the DTF from Washington County was discussed. The state will fund 4 DTF’s; 2 in southern Maine and 2 in northern Maine. Commissioner Joy stated that if we said we didn’t want to do this anymore but we will always fill the places, what would happen. Sheriff Kane stated that it will start a firestorm among/in participating towns. A discussion followed regarding filling vacancies of DTF Agents and the use of a town officer vs. sheriff’s deputies. The MDEA contract is a year to year contract.
Fund 8 revenues and expenditures were included in the commissioners’ books for transparency purposes; these items do not affect taxation. Commissioner Blasi stated that Fund 8 is good; the commissioners agreed.
Sheriff Kane stated that on December 5th Wreaths Across America will be in Hancock County for a ceremony; they will also be making presentations in schools regarding their endeavor.
Commissioner Joy asked if an answer has been received regarding converting the jail budget to a calendar year; the answer was no.
RCC – 07
Proposed Revenues: $103,683
Proposed Expenditures: $666,083
The RCC was not discussed. Commissioner Blasi stressed the importance of getting through the entire budget prior to meeting again. Commissioner Brown did not want to discuss the RCC budget without the director being present.
A Special Meeting was scheduled for September 25th at 8:00 a.m. with Dave Fowler, budget workshops will also be conducted. Commissioner Joy was not willing to leave the jail out of this budget cycle/book.
It was stated that the treasurer was noticeably absent from the meeting.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Brown 2-0-1 motion passed, Blasi abstained)