COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
Commission Chairman Percy L. Brown Jr., called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, November 6, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Blasi and Joy in attendance.
Adjustments to the agenda:
MOTION: to add item 9F an update on the structural analysis of Mt. Waldo. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
VWA Jessica St. Germain was recognized for her 10 years of service to the citizens of Hancock County. The commissioners thanked Jessica for her service to the citizens of Hancock County and to the United States as an Army Reservist.
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the October 6, 2015 commissioners' regular meeting and October 14th, 16th, 21st and 28th 2015 Commissioner’s Special Meetings. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
CA Conlogue presented the Appointed/Exempt Policy for approval. Commissioner Joy asked who the policy affects and its impact, answers to his questions was distributed. Due to the untimeliness of the distribution, Commissioner Joy requested to table the discussion until the commissioners could read the document.
MOTION: to table the item or make it Old Business until the commissioners have time to read the memorandum. (Joy/Brown 2-0-1, motion passed, Blasi abstained)
County Administrator (CA) Conlogue requested establishment of a Capital Reserve Account for TIF Funds. Deputy Treasurer Atwater stated that the funds are in the UT expense and revenue accounts, and in their own checkbook.
MOTION: to establish a Capital Reserve Account for the TIF receipts. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: The account number will determined by the treasurer’s office. $299,000 has been received this year, $204,000 will be sent to Sun Edison and the difference of $95,000 is what the county has from year. Last year’s balance of $95,000 is shown in a separate checkbook under UT expenses and revenues, this would bring the county balance to $180,000. It was explained that once the account is established, the treasurer can move the funds.
CA Conlogue requested approval of the Information Technology RFP. It was determined that an Option A to include Spillman work and an Option B, without Spillman work would be included in the RFP.
MOTION: to accept the written request for proposal with the changes just discussed. (Information Technology RFP) (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Airport Manager Madeira requested that the chairman send a letter to the FAA requesting that they seek to have the Army Corps Permit in connection with the Acadia Sea Farms, LLC lease suspended.
MOTION: move that the commissioners sign the letter requesting suspension of the permit for Acadia Sea Farms aquaculture to the FAA. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy clarified that he wanted to err on the side of safety and stated that this is a process that has gone on since 2010; everybody has had their opportunity to speak and speak again on the subject. Manger Madeira voiced his concern that a thorough mitigation process has not yet been completed.
Manager Madeira requested approval to put Private Hanger Parcel P-16 out to bid. After clarification of several Articles in the Lease, the following motion was made.
MOTION: to accept the Land Lease as written and we will be notified of the change whether it’s Hancock or Penobscot. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown suggested moving forward with the café’ project.
MOTION: to approve October General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #15-39, #15-40, #15-41 , #15-42 and #15-43 in the aggregate of $269,053.08. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve October General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #15-46, #15-47, #15-48, #15-49 and #15-50 in the aggregate of $474,696.05. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that warrant #15-49 had checks included to municipalities and questioned how this is proceeding. Southwest Harbor has stated that they are going to return the checks along with a list of the people who are deserving of the funds. Amherst will be contacted tomorrow morning. The checks were pulled because the County will be reissuing the checks. The checks have been written but are being held. This involves the 2013 Veterans Exemptions/Community Benefit funds. The warrant will be adjusted in an upcoming meeting.
MOTION: to approve October Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #16-13, #16-14, #16-15, #16-16 and #16-17 in the aggregate of $117,554.47. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve October Jail and UT Expense Warrants #16-14, #16-15, #16-16 and #16-17 in the aggregate of $145,207.74. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi requested an update on the airplane excise tax; it has been billed and most of the payments have been received.
Treasurer Eldridge presented the financial reports and an update on the AR. Commissioner Blasi questioned the AR under the Maine Department of Corrections in the amount of $375. Once the agreement is signed under the Sheriff’s Department today, we will receive our funds. Commissioner Joy voiced his concern with several accounts that have been over drafted or are close to their funding balance. After further discussion it was agreed that departments should limit spending through the end of the year. Commissioner Brown stated that if departments have reached 100% of their line item budgets there should be no more spending.
Commissioner Brown questioned where the Trenton $20,000 was shown as in his opinion it should be put back into the Community Benefit Fund. $90,000 (in Community Benefit Funds) was applied to the FY15 budget. Commissioner Blasi asked when the $90,000 would be transferred into the budget. Commissioner Brown stated that the $24,000 left over from FY14 (in Undesignated Funds) should be designated at some point.
10:04 a.m.: Break - 10:14 a.m.: Back in session
Health Insurance Presentation – Scott McKee Acadia Benefits
Scott McKee of Acadia Benefits presented the Commissioners with a brief overview of 2015 county health care and renewal numbers from Meritain Health, Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust (MMEHT) and Anthem 250. Community Health Options (the Maine Co-Op under the ACA) did not provide a quote; they have not come out with competitive options for large groups yet.
- The Meritain Expected Plan Cost for 2016 was quoted at $1,414,824; the maximum cost quoted was $1,665,287.
- The MMEHT Expected Plan Cost and Maximum Plan Cost for 2016 were quoted at $1,642,174.
- The Anthem 250 Expected Plan Cost and Maximum Plan Cost for 2016 were quoted at $1,682,871.
- If we moved to another provider, the county would have to pay approximately $88,000 in run-out claims and $9,000 in administration run-out costs.
Prescription Drug costs has risen dramatically in 2015. PHI status is not required under MMEHT. Mr. McKee stated that under MMEHT or Anthem 250 the administrative burden on the County team would be much less, it is difficult to quantify but in running a self-funded plan the entity has compliance concerns, reporting concerns, protected health information concerns and banking concerns every month. It is much easier to run an Anthem or MMEHT fully insured program.
The underwriting under MMEHT does not have highs and lows. The Anthem program has a $250 deductable. Mr. McKee preferred that the County went to MMEHT rather than Anthem 250. MMEHT and Meritain both have merit.
Elected Officials coverage would not be a problem under MMEHT. Commissioner Blasi questioned the provider networks in Maine, prescription drug formularies may differ from vendors. Commissioner Joy questioned the Affordable Care Act option and asked if it would be an option to pay the penalty and have employees to go to the Exchange. It would save money for the county but cause problems with the employer/employee relationship which would cause employee recruitment/retention problems, it may also include opening the union contracts.
Mr. McKee stated that it was difficult to recommend moving to MMEHT due to possible savings with Meritain but Meritain also exposes the county to significant issues. Commissioner Blasi stated that the County would be saving on administration as well. Commissioner Joy stated that all insurance is costly, if we spend over their quoted amount, the insurance company will raise their rates in order to not lose money. Mr. McKee’s concern (with Meritain) was with the volatility and not being able to cover the volatility; we have come close to the situation in the past. A fully insured tact makes the volatility go away. Commissioner Joy was concerned with the prescription coverage. The Affordable Care Act taxed pharmaceutical companies in 2010; member’s out-of-pocket exposure is capped at $6,000 annually and you can’t exclude or carve out anything from that. This allows pharmaceutical companies to charge anything they want, government regulation in this process would take years.
The county is required to offer coverage to employees and their children; new enrollment would need to be finalized to a new vendor by December 10th in order to receive ID Cards before January 1st. The Meritain notification period is 30 days.
Meritain Health would need to be notified 30 days prior to changing providers and a decision would need to be made by mid November. Commissioner Joy requested full budget numbers for FY16 health insurance to include employee contributions and budgeted expenditures by next Tuesday. Mr. McKee was thanked for his presentation.
Inmates are not eligible for ACA/Exchange coverage. After 30 days incarceration, inmate health benefits cease with private companies with the exception of veteran’s benefits, after that the County is liable for inmate health costs.
10:55 a.m.: Break - 11:00 a.m.: Back in session
MOTION: to enter into Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 §406 6E meeting with legal counsel regarding a pending lawsuit. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into regular session at 11:32 a.m. with nothing to report.
Treasurer’s Office continued:
MOTION: to approve October expenditures in the health account in the amount of $111,842.27. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Treasurer Eldridge stated that there is $25,000 in the general jail account; the sweep account has $38,772.26 for a total $63,772.26. The jail health amount in yesterday’s check run was for $61,539.71; the jail transfer for health insurance has not been made and we are approximately 8 weeks behind financially. Commissioner Brown requested the exact amount that we are behind in jail funds. It was determined that the 1/12th December payment could be transferred immediately to the jail account.
Treasurer Eldridge distributed 2014 health insurance figures in the amount of $1,149,126.44 through October. Commissioner Joy clarified that he would like to know the total amount spent on health insurance to include buy-outs for FY14.
MOTION: to approve a request for Expenditure from Reserve account G2-3010-15 in the amount of $120.50 for the purchase of saw cut pavement at Caruso Drive for underground power installation to new Airport Entrance sign. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for Expenditure from Reserve account G2-3015-10 in the amount of $8,235 for conduit, trench work and re-paving for fiber service at the airport in accordance with EDIA agreement signed 8/5/14. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for Expenditure from Capital Reserve Account G1-3015-00 in the amount of $128 for Testing and repairs to County Fire South at RCC. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for Expenditure from Capital Reserve Account G1-3015-20 in the amount of $295 for filters for the breathing air compressor. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi asked the following questions:
- Does our Trial Balance balance as of September 30th? It does.
- Have all County checking account statements for the prior month been reconciled, without error? Yes.
- Are the due to/due from accounts in balance? They are.
- Do revenue and expense accounts reconcile to the control accounts? Yes.
12:00 p.m.: Break for lunch - 12:26 p.m.: Back in session
Jail roof discussion: The costs to replace the jail roof with a raised seam metal roof is approximately $100,000, there is no cost available for a shingled roof at this time but it could be approximately $65,000 or $300 a square. The building is roughly 200 ft x 100 ft or 20,000 sq ft. Leaking stacks will be addressed when the roof is replaced; staging on the back wall is the largest expense. An RFP will be discussed at the first of the year.
Director Walls stated that the small boiler could be converted to propane or to a high efficiency cascading unit. This would provide supplemental heating in the jail as well. The plan would be to convert the existing boiler to propane. Director Walls did not budget for this as he considered it a capital improvement. Water split is 60/40 (between the jail and the courthouse) for domestic hot water showers, bathrooms and utility lines. Eventually Director Walls would like to see a series of high efficiency gas boilers. An on demand system was suggested; small on demand electric units were also discussed.
MOTION: to approve the hire of Lorenzo Severance of Otis as a part-time, on call, as needed janitor at the rate of $12 per hour, no benefits, less than 29 hours per week. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Brown stated that the reason he asked for the jail discussion is because the jail is going to run out of money by April and the commissioners need to “get on the table and on record exactly what we are going to do for the jail.” Commissioner Joy questioned what would be done if the money runs out and asked if there was anything that “we” could spend money on that would reduce staffing. Another idea was to say we have no money, we can’t feed them so we can’t keep them. JA Richardson stated that three pods are needed in the jail, male, female and maximum. This would put more employees on shift. Commissioner Joy questioned the court load. JA Richardson suggested finding a business that provides pre booking individuals with a place to work, money wise he does not know how the jail is going to survive. Right now we are running as efficiently as we can; if we cut staff we would have an unsafe work environment. The BOC has a standard; if we cut down a side of the jail we would still have the same staff but would save money on food.
If the jail were to close, inmates would be sent to different facilities at a time cost to police departments. Oxford County is shutting its jail (a 72 hour hold facility) January 1st. JA Richardson will research shutting the jail and report his finding at a later date. Pre-trial services and video conferencing saves transport cost but does not speed the process. Commissioner Joy suggested introducing legislation that removed inmates from our jail at 6 month rather than 9 months. Removing the Operations Standards was an option; this would save money, currently we have 132 Standards that drives the budget. Commissioner Brown stated that if legislation is the problem, we are not going to see relief in 2016. Commissioner Joy stated that the current law does not allow us (the County) to raise money through taxation beyond 3%. JA Richardson stated that you can raise 3% or the LD1 Cap, whichever is least.
The supervisor of Stop Loss prevention for Hannaford was recently at a meeting attended by JA Richardson; he stated that if companies like Hannaford would hire a violator, that person will work off his/her debt to society and never really enter the court system. Currently, 50% (35 inmates) of Hancock County’s inmates are incarcerated on drug related charges. 35% of the inmates are probation violators. JA Richardson stated that an inmate cannot be rejected except under medical conditions. JA Richardson was thanked for his research and presentation.
Tax Appeal Deliberations:
- John A. Woodcock Family Trust vs. Town of Hancock
- Beverly N. Woodcock vs. Town of Hancock
After deliberation, the following motion was made:
MOTION: to deny the appeal for a tax abatement from the Woodcocks on 40 Post Office Road, I feel the same way about 94 Bay Avenue, I feel the same way and the same way about the appraisal, whether you use Fox Run, those are new houses with, and really what the tax payer talked about was the land so, my motion is to deny the appeal for a tax abatement to the Woodcocks on 40 Post Office Road and 94 Bay Avenue. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed) Either party may appeal from the decision of the county commissioners (within 60 days) to the Superior Court, in accordance with the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 80B.
Jail Administrator (JA) Timothy Richardson requested authorization from the commissioners to sign a Memorandum of Agreement for Use of County Jail from the Maine Department of Corrections. After further discussion, the contract was not signed and JA Richardson was directed to contact the DOC for the $300 payment.
JA Richardson requested approval to terminate the contract with Community Health and Counseling as they have increased their fee from $200 to $250; he believes the vendor will agree to terminate. Another vendor has been found who will perform the work for less than $200. Commissioner Blasi stated that the commissioners should agree that the contract is terminable. JA Richardson withdrew item b under the Sheriff’s department from the agenda.
JA Richardson requested approval to end the GLT month-to-month contract for inmate phone service, the contract expired in 2012 but the State moved forward on a month-to-month basis from that point. Securus is a new company that can provide the service at a lesser price. If Washington, Somerset and Hancock County sign the contracts each county will receive $50,000 in up-front money towards the Inmate Fund. Securus will install a kiosk in the lobby therefore employees will not handle inmate funds and the county will lose that liability. The current process was explained; this system would not involve writing checks.
MOTION: to allow the jail administrator to end the GTL month-to-month contract for inmate phone. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: a new company will take over the service with new technology and better record keeping.
Commissioner Blasi stated that the inmates must pay a fee for boarding that is assessed by the judge, he asked “what does this cover, what does the judge base that on.” JA Richardson did not know. Commissioner Blasi questioned why the fee did not cover phone calls; JA Richardson replied that we have a right to make a profit on the telephone; this is the only way that we can provide inmate programs like counseling, shoes to work outside, it is done by statute. Court ordered board has nothing to do with the Inmate Account. There is also a provision for electronic monitoring in which Securus will give the County up to $250 towards electronic monitoring on a monthly basis. The only negative is that if Somerset does not sign the contract Hancock and Washington County do not receive $50,000; this is a pre-paid commission for one year. Annual revenue was discussed; approximately $36,000 is made over the course of a year. JA Richardson stated that as of July 1st commission will go away. Once the $50,669 is gone there probably will not be any more commissions. JA Richardson stated that there was no commission pay back unless we back out prior to the $50,669 being made in commissions. Commissioner Joy would like to meet with a representative from Securus prior to signing the agreement. He was ready to approve the contract but would like to meet with the representative first.
MOTION: to table the Securus discussion. (Joy/Blasi 2-0-1, motion passed) Commissioner Brown recused himself as he owns stock in the company. Discussion: Washington County has already signed the contract. Commissioner Joy stated that he thought Hancock County would end up signing the contract.
MOTION: to promote Corporal Jonathan Merchant of Hancock to the position of Sergeant at Step 12F2 $20.15 per hour, effective November 7, 2015. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the hire of Michael Butters of Ellsworth and Benjamin Verrill of Dedham as part-time, on call, as needed corrections officers at the rate of $12 per hour effective November 7, 2015, no benefits, up to 29 hours per week. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Officer training was discussed.
MOTION: to administratively remove Kelley E. Tupper from the employment roll. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CA Conlogue requested authorization for the chair to sign a Managed Print Services Agreement with The Maine Group: BEU / TBT, this is a Transco affiliated business, it would include toner, labor. Commissioner Blasi questioned the status of the printer contract so far, CA Conlogue stated “right now it is pending your approval.” Commissioner Blasi questioned if there was no other contract in place, CA Conlogue replied “not for this stuff, no.” Commissioner Blasi questioned if there was some service contract for our printers, CA Conlogue replied “for the copiers yes, but not the printers.” Commissioner Blasi stated that “some of these printers aren’t covered, do we have any of those brands like Dell or so forth that they mentioned aren’t covered, CA Conlogue replied the there was a listing of the departments who are interested in the service, and their printers are compatible with what the agreement is going to service. Commissioner Blasi questioned if another department wanted to purchase a printer, we would have to make sure that it was a covered (brand) types. Commissioner Blasi questioned if we were already using the company, the answer was yes we are using it for copier service and maintenance. Their service has been good but Commissioner Blasi questioned if it would deteriorate because of the expansion, his question was not answered. After further discussion, the following motion was made.
MOTION: to enter into a one year contract with TBT services but not approve a 3 year contract. (Joy/Blasi 1-2 motion failed, Commissioners Brown and Blasi were opposed.)
CA Conlogue requested that the commissioners approve an updated Finance Assistant/General Clerk job description. Commissioner Blasi preferred to change the title to Clerk and stipulate that the Personnel Coordinator and the Treasurer each receive 20 hours per week of the Clerks time. CA Conlogue preferred not to specify hours for each department. Commissioner Joy disagreed due to budgeting purposes. Commissioner Blasi suggested an “hours are addressed in the budget” approach. Commissioner Blasi stated that he saw the position as a clerk position, the title of financial assistant gives the appearance that the person may have more expertise than they actually have.
MOTION: to approve the updated Finance Assistant / General Clerk job description. (Brown/Joy 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed)
CA Conlogue requested approval of the Personnel Coordinator job description.
MOTION: to adopt the Personnel Coordinator job description. (Blasi/Brown3-0, motion passed)
CA Conlogue presented the commissioners with a 3rd quarter financial update. A surplus of approximately $45,790 has been projected for the FY15 budget. Should a deficit develop, CA Conlogue advised the commissioners to utilize the Overlay and then Contingency or Community Benefit Funds. CA Conlogue suggested creating a capital account for the $24,000 FY14 Undesignated Funds; Commissioner Brown preferred apply it to the FY16 budget stating that Undesignated Funds should be designated to an account that we already have, we should not have an account entitled Undesignated Funds. Commissioner Joy preferred to move the $24,000 into the Contingent Account.
MOTION: to put it (the $24,000) in the Contingent Account now. (Joy/Brown a vote was not taken) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that it was needed as surplus but formal transfers will be needed each time due to overdrafts.
The commissioners agreed that Departments should be notified that all accounts, other than Works Comp, should not be overdrawn through the remainder of the year. Commissioner Joy requested that those developing the warrant check for over drafted accounts. Commissioner Brown stated that he would not sign a warrant with an over drafted item on it. Commissioner Blasi questioned the amount that is being added to the Contingent Account; it is the 2014 Undesignated Fund Balance. Commissioner Joy questioned if reserve funds are budgeted, they should be rolled into a Reserve Account at the beginning of the next year adding that if it was raised through taxation, it should go to the department that budgeted the funds.
CA Conlogue stated that the Mt. Waldo tower flunked the Structural Analysis test. The RFP opening was postponed for a week; the proposals for a possible new site will be opened on November 18th. There are a number of towers in the range. The Mt. Waldo tower structural analysis equipment is under revision F, if we go on the tower it goes to revision G. A cost to correct the issue will be submitted.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Blasi/Brown 2-0, motion passed)