COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
Commissioner Chairman Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 in the conference room at the County Courthouse in Ellsworth, Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.
Adjustments to the agenda: add to Airport: 3f& 3g will be in Executive Session; add to Jail: 9e discussion re: Temp Head Cook; add to County Admin 11c: discussion re: Community Benefit Funds; strike from Maintenance 7b & 7c as no longer needed
MOTION: to add the requested adjustments to the Agenda (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Bid Openings for the IT RFP: the only bid submitted was from Sierra Communications. It was turned over to CA Conlogue to review and he will get back to the Commissioners. It will be discussed at the January meeting.
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the November 6, 2015 Commissioners' Regular Meeting, the November 18, 2015 Informational Meeting and the November 24, 2015 Commissioner’s Special Meeting. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the updated Appointed/Exempt Employee Policy (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion tabled) Discussion: Commissioner Joy asked if the information from employees who had been previously polled had been discussed and no, it has not been added to any communications. Commissioner Joy also stated that years ago employees were paid for what they worked and if they were out sick, they were not paid. As years have gone by, employees have been paid for their sick time and now, there is a policy to pay employees a benefit of unused sick time when they leave our employment. Unionized employees have this benefit and the non union employees (hourly) can be paid a portion of their unused sick time but at this time, the Exempt & Appointed employees cannot. Commissioner Joy wants to know why an Exempt employee should be treated any differently. What makes their job so good that they would be willing to give up this benefit that all others have? CA Conlogue stated the new policy will allow them to keep what they have accrued so far in this year 2015 and add it into what will be accrued for next year 2016. CA Conlogue is trying to scale back the benefits already in place. A salaried employee is expected to work 40 plus hours per week in order to get the work done and if they work many hours over each week, how are they compensated? What is the mechanism for “being on call for 24 hours”; how are they benefiting if we take away this sick time buy out? Commissioner Brown suggested that the Department Heads (Exempt & Appointed employees) should be asked to clock in and out so the actual number of hour worked each week totaled. Are they working a realistic number of hours that are “on call” and what benefit are they missing out from. Commissioner Joy would like to approve all of the Appointed/Exempt Employee Policy through #3 and continue the remaining issues to be discussed later. Commissioner Brown wanted to table the entire policy again, but the 30 days sick leave will be honored. No motion was made – it will be tabled until the next meeting in January.
Commissioner Blasi read the following MOTION: to change the name of the October 12 paid holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day, “Chapter 403 of Maine Public Law--the teaching of Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine's schools--needs to be expanded. The Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report recommends ways to enlarge understanding of bias, privilege, and genocidal practices in the greater community. 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the Great Dying, when 90% of the Native population was eradicated by a Plague. Constituents agree that Hancock County should no longer perpetuate the myth of Columbus, who began the genocide more than one hundred years earlier. We should not dedicate a paid holiday in his honor for our employees. Let us join other Maine governments in changing the name of the October 12th paid holiday to Indigenous People's Day.” (Motion failed for lack of a 2nd)
MOTION: to approve Department 51 account for 2% Overlay revenues. (Motion failed for lack of a 2nd) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi would like to have the additional 2% overlay Municipal assessments is accounted for. Commissioner Joy stated that the 2% overlay is already in the tax assessment- why does there need to be a separate category. Commissioner Blasi would like to see it separated so that the Revenue accounts for the taxes and the overlay. The tax bills sent to the Towns includes the 2% overlay and that is included in the total that the towns pay us. Deputy Atwater printed and showed the Commissioners the tax worksheet and an actual tax bill that is sent to a town. Commissioner Blasi is still questioning why the Budget amount does not show the correct total and Deputy Atwater stated that an incorrect amount was entered by the previous CFO. The expense report shows the total Budget amount as well as the amount that has come in from the Towns. The uncollected balance shows that tax amount still outstanding.
Discussion: CA Conlogue wants to select a person from Hancock County for the LUPC which has an open seat for one of the nine on a Board which consists of counties that have unorganized territories involved with tree growth. This person can be appointed by the Commissioners for a term that will end in July 2016 as the current person in this seat has moved over to another County seat. The Senate will have to approve this selection and this term will go through July 9th, 2016. At that time, another candidate could be appointed (after a selection process of advertising for resumes and interviews), or the same candidate could be selected to continue for the next term which would end in 2020. Commissioner Brown would like to appoint someone now from the unorganized territory section of Hancock County. Commissioner Joy would like to appoint UT Supervisor Millard Billings for the 8 month period now in session and then go on for the official appointing after doing some further investigation. Commissioner Blasi wants to advertise for resumes soon for after July 2016 and have the time to make a decision. Commissioner Joy would like to have the criteria for the selection before we proceed, but he realizes that Millard Billing is a good short term candidate.
MOTION: to approve the DRAFT letter to the State of Maine re: Jail Funding (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy attended a meeting last week that did not give optimistic outcomes – do we ask for what we need for the shortfall in funds or do we ask what is owed to the Jail. Commissioner Joy also stated that we should ask for what we need and then tell the State of Maine that we will not be back to ask for more. The MCCA is stating that the Jail costs are getting out of hand but unfortunately, that is what is happening to all the Jails in the State of Maine. The ability of the money to travel with the inmate and the funds that we need to keep our Jail open is what we need to take care of right now. The DRAFT letter composed is requested by Commissioner Blasi and he is ready to sign it if the other Commissioners agreed. Commissioner Joy stated the 2nd paragraph needed to be amended to not reflect the “LD1 cap”. It was suggested by Commissioner Joy this letter be sent to all Legislators and not just our delegation. Commissioner Joy suggested our meager dollar amount would not be as impressive as they are lower than Penobscot County. He suggested this letter should go to our delegation but another letter should be sent along with other Counties to the entire Legislature. Commission Blasi asked if the timeline of the letter should be before the next meeting in January but CA Conlogue stated that a new draft could be ready in a few days for the Commissioners to approve and sign.
MOTION: to approve the Monthly Report (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the Airport is starting with a carryover of $885,040, projects in 2016 total $441,290 with projects in 2017 totaling $150,490 and for the same amount for 2018, 2019, and 2020. The only project in the foreseeable future is to replace the drainage pond. The total number of enplanements is down for 2015 with the winter and spring as the main cause. The FAA AIP projects are all closed and money will still be coming in through early 2016. Manager Brad Madeira is working hard to close out AIPs quickly upon completion so that the money will be coming in quickly. The Cash Management Report shows the Airport is fairly healthy in Reserved Funds. The new sign is almost ready to go – the IT person has yet to get the communication board up & going. The sign should be lifted up higher on posts as the communication board is too close to the ground and there is concern about snow removal around the bottom of the sign. The terminal drinking water fountain does not contain an arsenic filter and it failed the State of ME water drinking test. The Airport will have to remedy that problem. There is now fiber optic service at the Airport terminal but there has been an internet issue as 5MB service is not enough for all the smartphones and computers. There is again DSL to boost up the service. Commissioner Joy asked would Fairpoint “come good” for an upgrade as their package was not adequate for the amount of usage. Manager Madeira said that he would check with the account rep. The current air carrier’s contract with Cape Air Airlines expires in April 2016 and the new RFP will go out in Jan 2016. Unfortunately, it is all done by the US DOT and not through our office at the Airport.
MOTION: to approve the purchases of equipment for the County roads: rock rake $400, brush chipper $200 and 16” trailer $850 (motion tabled) Discussion: Commissioner Brown thought this equipment was already owned by the (County) Airport and in years past, the equipment was used to do work on the County roads by Airport personnel and the UT reimbursed the Airport. Manager Madeira will do some more investigating on the inventory. UT Supervisor Billings was not aware that any of this equipment ever belonged to the UT. This will be tabled until the next meeting.
MOTION: to approve the contract modification to the current Hoyle, Tanner Associates Contract (Joy/ Blasi 2-1, motion passed) Discussion: The contract for the current AIP only wants to shift $6000 from the Construction Admin line to the Resident Engineering line. There is a $0 change to the total contract price.
MOTION: to amend and resend the letter to the FAA to Secretary Foxx (motion failed for lack of a 2nd) Discussion: Manager Madeira stated that another letter was sent to Secretary Foxx from a Trenton resident (Mark Nadell) and has been cc: Pres Obama. Commissioner Blasi wanted to revise the letter that was sent last month by the Commissioners and send it to the Secretary Foxx as well.
Break 11:15AM - Back in session 11:21AM
MOTION: to enter into Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 Section 405 6c regarding Columbia Air Sublease Agreements and the Morris Yachts Lease Assignment (Blasi /Joy 2-0, motion passed) at 11:25AM.
Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into regular session at 12:12PM with nothing to report.
Lunch 12:13PM - Back in session 12:36PM
MOTION: to approve November General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #15-44, #15-45, #15-46, and #15-47 in the aggregate of $209,985.74. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve November General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #15-51, #15-52, #15-53, #15-54 and #15-55 in the aggregate of $401,491.20. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Comm Blasi stated that account# E30-05-500 Reserves–Emp Costs Group Benefits will overdraft soon but Commissioner Brown stated there is no way of knowing who will be laid off and be eligible to collect unemployment.
MOTION: to approve November Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #16-18, #16-19, #16-20 and #16-21 in the aggregate of $89,802.99. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve November Jail and UT Expense Warrants #16-18, #16-19, #16-20 and #16-21 in the aggregate of $335,970.10. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Comm Blasi wanted to know what the Jail revenues for this month are. Treasurer Eldridge stated that we will have to transfer funds before the end of December.
Treasurer Eldridge presented the financial reports and stated the TRIO accounting program problem has been corrected. She also presented an update on the AR listing. The MDOT and the FAA funds will come soon and the other ARs are promised in the near future. The Maine State agreement regarding the DOC invoice for $375 had not been signed by the Commissioners at a previous meeting in order for the payment to be remitted by the State. At this time, there was no action taken.
MOTION: to approve November expenditures in the health account in the amount of $211,485.56. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy asked if the Jail line is overspent by almost $125,000 at this time, how is this going to impact their Budget. Hopefully, there is enough left in the Budget to make the three check runs for December.
MOTION: to approve a request for Expenditure from Capital Reserve Account #G2-3010-20 in the amount of $11,180.00, G2-3010-15 in the amount of $500 and G2-3010-15 in the amount of $2,355.00. (Joy /Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to retain the firm of Rudman, Kersteen and Ouellette as auditor for FY2015 in 2016. (Blasi / Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Treasurer Eldridge stated the accountant can be available at the end of February to begin the Audit process but Deputy Atwater is uncertain if she will have all the paperwork ready. A letter will be coming from RKO (Parker Madden) to state when he can be here to start the Audit. Deputy Atwater stated reports could be ready by the end of March or the first of April. Commissioner Brown is concerned that the Jail will be out of money by then and we need to know where it can be coming from.
Treasurer Eldridge stated that we have had some Veteran’s refund checks returned- can they be voided and reissued to the widows? Commissioner Brown replied “Yes, and make sure the letter goes back with the check”. The replacement checks will be processed in the next warrant.
MOTION: to approve the UT 16/17 Proposed Budget Fiscal Administrator spreadsheets. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: In regards to the UT budget, the TIF funds will be included and audited correctly. It was not understood why the entire 30yr TIF amount has been added to 2016 budget and that it should be split out over 30years. UT Supervisor Billings will speak with Marcia McInnis as to why this was presented in this manner.
Commissioner Blasi asked if we knew what the status of Blue Skies, LLC negotiations was in regards to TIF revenues. Commissioner Joy said at this time there is no agreement in writing. First Wind (Sun Edison) had sent the formula for the depreciation to the committee but it has not progressed any further.
UT Supervisor Billings has spoken with Jeff Curran of the Maine Forestry Service and they will supply fire suppression service for the offshore islands during daylight hours and weather permitting. Emergency services will be provided to the UT by County Ambulance (T7, T9, T10, T16 & Fletcher’s Landing) and Capital Ambulance (Rte 9 corridor, T22 & T28) and each person receiving service will be invoiced individually.The USCG will respond to the outer islands. The only townships with no EMR coverage are #32, 34, 35, 39, 40, 41 and 3 & 4 but LifeFlight is available. The RCC has all this information. Jeff Nevins from FairPoint has sent an email to UT Supervisor Billings stating which UT residents will not be receiving DSL service and he is questioning why some of these are not going to be hooked up as they are directly across from the green station. He will be checking in with Jeff to get some answers.
REGISTRY OF DEEDS:
MOTION: to approve a request for out of state travel in February 2016 to attend the PRIA (Property Records Industry Association) meeting. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Registrar Curtis stated this trip would cost approximately $1500 which includes the meeting registration, hotel, meals & airfare. She is concerned about new upcoming rules & regulations that may include FLAT FEES for recording documents and would really appreciate the opportunity to attend the meeting. Commissioner Joy stated the funds will be used from the 2015 & 2016 line E09-07-100 and not from any reserve accounts.
MOTION: to approve the Forfeited assets of State of Maine vs. David Spoffard in the amount of $6,820.10. (Joy/ Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the Forfeited assets of State of Maine vs. Marc Thervill in the amount of $201.00. (Joy /Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: To promote part time correction officer Christal Warren to temporary full time with a pay rate of $13.50 including sick & holiday pay benefits effective December 5, 2015. (Joy/ Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Deputy Admin Shepard said there is a vacancy in the shift right now and she is filling in all the openings. She can apply for the full time position when it is advertised.
MOTION: To hire Elijah Moreshead as a part time correctional officer with a pay rate of $12.00 with no benefits and not to exceed 29 hours per week effective December 5, 2015 (Joy / Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: To change Sgt. Heather Sullivan to the rank of Cpl. per written request from Sgt. Sullivan with the rate of pay to be determined effective December 5, 2015. (Joy/ Brown 2-0, Blasi abstained, motion passed) Discussion: Deputy Admin Shepard stated she has requested this change as she no longer wants the entire shift responsibility. She should be reduced from a level 12 to a level 10 at the time of demotion but this will be determined by CA Conlogue & Deputy Admin Shepard. This could be a 10% reduction in pay.
MOTION: To approve the Medical Services Contract with MDI Hospital (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the rates for the previous medical service contract was increasing to a rate that was not feasible. A new provider has been agreed upon. He will be coming in for inmate psychological evaluations and medication changes by a certified physician. The contract will be changed to be signed by a Commissioner, not Sheriff Scott Kane.
MOTION: to approve the status of Natalie Walker to Temp Head Cook while the current Head Cook is out on sick leave with an “Out of Classification” rate increase. (Joy/ Brown, 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: Deputy Admin Shepard stated Natalie Walker has been filling in for almost 20 days and per the Union contract, she is entitled to the 3% rate increase. She is ordering the food, planning the menus and cooking the meals. Her hourly rate will go up to $15.59 and while last week she worked over 69 hours, there needs to be another part time cook hired (an interview had been scheduled for today).
RCC: Director Wellman updated the Commissioners on the Communications RFP. She presented a spreadsheet for all three phases. The first phase covers the cost to purchase the radios and equipment for the new tower site. Director Wellman suggested that RCM (Option 2) be eliminated as there are too many changes needed to be compatible with the equipment we already use. Even though Brown’s bid is the highest in price overall at $288,843, the equipment is the most compatible with our current systems. The tower at Mt Waldo did not pass the structural analysis and it would be $50,000 to $60,000 do the repairs. After Director Wellman was informed that Waldo County had taken their radios off a nearby tower on Mt. Ephraim, she contacted the owner and was advised there is no space available for rent. The Director is looking into other options at this time and she suggested that we table the RFP until we have a site location. Commissioner Joy stated that if Waldo County has a new tower they are using, can we find out what it cost? Commissioner Joy asked if the owner of the Mt. Waldo tower is willing to do the repairs so we could use that tower for our equipment. Commissioner Brown suggested that maybe the county radio committee meet again in order to figure out what the next step is going to be. Commissioner Joy suggested that maybe an outer island in the UT could be used to “shoot the radio waves” onto the mainland into the area we need for coverage. A tower can be built to hold radios and cell phone communications so we certainly can build a tower to support all of the RCCs equipment. Commissioner Brown and Director Wellman would like to table this RFP until we have more information about a tower on which to install the new equipment.
MOTION: to approve the 2016 Buy-Out/Buy-Down Policy. (Joy/ Blasi 2-1, motion passed) Discussion: CA Conlogue stated that these are the same figures that have been paid to employees for the past 6-7 years. This benefit is a much cheaper way to make sure our employee has insurance coverage. The County does not have to provide the coverage at a much higher rate. Commissioner Joy stated he did not understand the reason that insurance was paid back to employees who take insurance elsewhere. CA Conlogue stated it costs the County about $27,000 for family coverage but the family buy-out is only $4,109.04 per year. This is a much cheaper option. Commissioner Brown wanted to know if there was any way we could reduce the amount of the insurance buyout. CA Conlogue stated the only thing that could be adjusted would be the actual “PLAN” stipend that would be allowed to be reimbursed (ie: only allowing single coverage). Commissioner Brown was not comfortable approving this policy without some further investigation.
MOTION: to approve the 2016 Holiday Schedule. (Joy/Brown, 2-1, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi opposed due to October 12th being called Columbus Day.
MOTION: to enter into Executive Session under MRSA Title 1 Section 405(6a) regarding a personnel issue (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) at 2:49PM.
Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into regular session at 3:20PM with nothing to report.
Commissioner Brown discussed the 2016 Budget process and that he said he would not under any circumstance sign this BAC approved budget. Commissioner Joy stated that the process is far from over because #1, the Worker’s Comp numbers need to corrected this year and are we allowed to submit a budget that is over the Cap? CA Conlogue stated we could but it would take a vote of the Commissioners to exceed the LD1 Cap. Commissioner Blasi questioned why the maximum amount of Community Benefits Funds could not be used to cover the deficit. Commissioner Brown wanted to keep the taxation amount as low as possible and at this time, the overall budget is too high. Commissioner Brown said he would allow a withdrawal from some of the Capital Accounts in order to offset some of the deficit. There are also Capital Accounts for employee benefits that can be used. Any one of these accounts could be used to supplement what is needed to make this budget fit what the Commissioners want to present to the public. Commissioner Brown stated that a project like what the RCC presented today is something that is really going to stretch the next year’s budget. The TIF money should be used for people who live in the UT and we have not served them well in this manner.
The next meeting to begin the Budget review process will be 8:30am Friday December 11, 2015. Commissioner Brown would like CA Conlogue to check the statutes and with the auditor to see what would happen if we did not sign the Budget by December 15, 2015.
MOTION: to adjourn (Joy /Blasi 3-0, motion passed) at 3:56PM.
Pamela J. Linscott