Commission Chairman, Percy L. Brown Jr., called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, October 16, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioner Joy in attendance.  Commissioner Blasi recused himself as he is a paid employee of the town of Hancock. 

Tax Appeal Hearing:
John a. Woodcock Family Trust vs. Town of Hancock
 Beverly N. Woodcock vs. Town of Hancock 

Participating parties included: Willard Sargent, appraiser, Tom Edwards Town of Hancock Assessor and Tim Woodcock Esq.  Commissioner Brown swore in the parties. 

A copy of the audio is available, upon request, in the Commissioner’s Office. 

11:23 p.m.: Break
11:29 p.m.: Back in session 

Commissioner Brown declared the hearing closed at 12:24 p.m.  Deliberation will be held in a public meeting and parties will be notified, within 60 days a written Order will be issued. 

Commissioner Blasi joined the meeting for the following discussion: 


Commissioner Joy previously asked the following questions:

  • If Detective Brown’s position was not filled, what would be the savings be for 6 months and monthly? 6-month savings $27,511.95, monthly savings $4,585.32. 

Sheriff Kane stated that he has to utilize Det. McFarland, who is on loan from the DA, through the end of the year.  The FY15 savings from Det. Brown’s wages has already been expended on the purchase of a cruiser in October 2015.  Sheriff Kane stated that if the DA is in need of the Detective, he has priority over the Sheriff’s Department. 

Commissioner Joy asked if it would create union issues by having the detective on loan in 2016, Sheriff Kane responded no, not if he is the DA’s employee.  A letter will be sent to applicants who have applied for the SO Detective position stating that the position is on hold and will open in July 2016.  Sheriff Kane did not see it becoming a union issue if the detective stayed in the DA budget; a unilateral move will cause union issues.  The detective will experience a 1.5% wage increase in the DA’s budget for 2015. 

Commissioner Brown stated that a part-time clerk may be added to the DA’s office at a cost of $13,475.25 for 20 hours per week and $16,844.19 for 25 hours per week. 

Leaving Det. Brown’s position unfilled and leaving McFarland in the DA’s office saves approximately $30,000 for the FY16 budget year.  On July 1, 2016 a new detective would be hired or a lateral switch would be made; the 20/25 hour clerk would also be hired.  In 2016 the SO will have one ½ year detective and McFarland will be fully funded in the DA’s Office.  The detective would come in at Step 14E $22.06 per hour for a total of $24,376.30 for 6 months; Brown’s wage was projected at $58,212 for FY16.  Alan Brown’s vehicle is currently being used as a patrol supervisor vehicle. 

DA Foster questioned recall rights.  Commissioner Joy clarified that Det. McFarland would be put back into the DA Budget on loan to the SO; a detective will be hired in July 2016.  Det. McFarland was used in prior years, more than occasionally, by the sheriff’s office.  Commissioner Joy clarified that the department previously had one detective in the SO, not two. 

Commissioner Joy stated that a detective position will now be added, a position was added last year, and one has got to go.  In terms of budget, the Sheriff’s department may have to pick up the cost of the part-time DA clerk.  Commissioner Joy would like to see the numbers prior to the next BAC meeting before making a decision and preferred to have the departments pay for their own staff. 

It was clarified that Det. McFarland is/will be on loan from the DA’s Office.  This may help solve the percentage increase in the Sheriff Office budget.  DA Foster stated that any additional help would be greatly appreciated and that in 2017 he would not be including a detective position in his budget, for now he can live with a 20 hour person and allow the County to retain Det. McFarland. 

Commissioner Blasi said that he has stated his position on the sheriff’s budget, when asked if he wanted to change, his response was “no,” when asked what he wanted to give him, Commissioner Blasi responded “his budget, this detective deal, so I don’t know why we are looking for $13,000.”  DA Foster stated that witness fees could be cut by $3,000 to $4,000 in order to come up with some of the funds, but not all.  Commissioner Joy stated that the budget is still not at the LD1 Cap, which has to be accomplished by the time the budget is finalized.  Commissioner Blasi stated that Community Benefit funds are still in the bank in the amount of $150,000 and hopefully $200,000 is coming.  Commissioner Brown stressed that that Community Benefit funds will be needed to pay the deficit from the FY15 budget.  Commissioner Blasi requested to be shown when all municipal revenues have been spent.  Commissioner Joy explained that $120,000 has been (over)spent (in the jail) but there are no funds to cover it, by the end of the year there will be nothing because the jail is spending 6 weeks ahead. 

A conversation ensued regarding the Undesignated Fund balance (or lack thereof).  Commissioner Blasi stated that he put $200,000 into revenues for the FY16 budget, Commissioner Joy stated that it may bring us close to the CAP but it may not, the jail is the variable in the equation.  The Undesignated Fund balance is very difficult to project; Commissioner Brown stated that there may not be any Undesignated Funds from FY15; Commissioner Blasi stated that they have not seen the final LD1 Cap. 

Final numbers will be discussed at 5:00 – 5:30 on Wednesday October 21, 2015. 

MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) 


C DePrenger
Personnel Coordinator

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