Commission Chairman, Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 in the conference room of the County Courthouse located in Ellsworth, Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(D) to discuss labor contracts and proposals. Attendees include Commissioners Brown, Joy and Blasi, Clerk DePrenger and CFO Roy. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into regular session at 8:59 a.m., with nothing to report.


Proposed Revenues: $663,955

Proposed Expenditures: $745,501

Proposed revenue changes:

Acct 40-110 – Manager Madeira will adjust this down.

Acct 40-150, add $3,000

Acct 40-160, add $2,000

Acct 40-162, increase to $2,000

Acct 40-510, add $50

MOTION: barring clerical errors, move 2014 airport revenues in the amount of $669,880. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

10:07 a.m.: Break

10:11 a.m.: Back in Session

Acadia Benefits Presentation:

Scott McKee of Acadia Benefits presented the commissioners options for employee health insurance for 2014.  Commissioner Joy was concerned with the quoted 2013 run-out cost presented under the Meritain column, as it did not reflect the realistic cost but rather an inflated cost, in his opinion.

The following options were presented:

1)   Renew with Meritain Health.  Projected cost: Expected: $1,383,651, Maximum: $1,608,866.

2)   Move everyone to the Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust (MMEHT) Point of Service C plan.  Projected cost: $1,626,518.

3)   Move everyone to the Northern New England Benefit Trust (NNEBT) plan.  Projected cost: $1,281,403.  Retiree coverage with NNEBT is not as comprehensive as the Meritain or the MMEHT plans.

4)   Move non-union employees to the MMEHT Point of Service C plan and union employees to the NNEBT plan.  Projected cost: $1,326,350.

If the county participated in the Affordable Care Act in 2015, there would be limited strategies available for employee coverage, due to the union contract.

Commissioner Blasi supported the Hybrid option stating that the MMEHT has been locally endorsed by a significant commenter, the union has endorsed the NNEBT plan for the union employees and the record shows the concern by employees with their current coverage, there is less cost for medical with the Hybrid and there's equal cost/less total cost for the bottom line and the life insurance is considered equally comparable.

Commissioner Brown was concerned with the employee’s reaction to a change in health care insurance provider due to their previous reaction with the change from MMEHT to Meritain.  He stated that employees need to be on board with the Wellness Program as well.  He preferred to stay with Meritain rather than to make a change this year and then have to make another one next year due to the Affordable Care Act.  He encouraged employees to take care of their health as currently the county pays the cost of their health bills.  Employees are choosing their own destiny by not participating in the Wellness Program.  New health providers will be coming into Maine over the next year.

Currently, there is $1.4 million dollars budgeted for health insurance in the FY14 proposed budget.  The FY13 budget has just shy of $1.4 million budgeted for health insurance.  The Stop Loss total for FY14 is $1.1 million and does not include claims incurred in 2013 nor does it include vendor payments.

In 2017 Community Ratings will increase for employers with 100 employees or less.  The Cadillac Tax is a significant excise tax based on “very rich” benefit plans, that is scheduled to begin in 2018.  The expected 2013 run-out claims, in the amount of $231,000 is based on approximately 3.08 months’ worth of claims.  The county is currently in a claims spike.

Commissioner Joy stated that he was inclined to stay with Meritain for another year and revisit the process again next year.  He questioned if the county could explore a transition to an Affordable Care Act plan next year.  There are two different kinds of Stop Loss.  The Specific Stop Loss which covers the individual and Aggregate Stop Loss covers any claimant incurred in 2013 and any run out claims.  Commissioner Joy continued to be concerned with the quoted run-out cost.  MMEHT and NNEBT have seen increases of 6-9% each year for the past 5 or so years.  Commissioner Blasi stated "I would like to add to my comment, the levelness of the municipal providers of those pools, the ability to keep it steady."

MOTION: to stay with Meritain Health for 2014. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed. Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that health care is not going to go down, there is also an election next year and the Affordable Care Act will kick in next year as well.  The employee population needs to also embrace the Wellness Program.  Commissioner Joy questioned if NNEBT is affiliated with the union.  The answer was yes, in order to obtain the quote, it had to go through the union representative and the union as a body has to vote on the plan.  Commissioner Joy questioned if it would become a union benefit.  From a risk perspective the answer was no.  From the employer perspective, there was no obligation to stay with the program at the end of the year.

Airport budget proposal-continued:

A discussion ensued regarding the hire of a 6 month, 20 hour per week maintenance employee and the associated cost of unemployment.  Airport Manager Madeira was asked to work this out in his budget.

Proposed expenditure changes:

Acct 40-07-500 reduce to $50.

Acct 40-10-700 reduce to $4,000.  Commissioner Blasi requested a Maine Power Options quote for airport electricity, Commissioner Joy was in favor of the suggestion but it was left up to the Airport Manager for follow up or not.  With regard to electricity, Commissioner Joy suggested conservation measures.  The terminal building qualifies for medium use electricity rates.

Acct 40-15-002 reduce to $16,000. The conversion from fuel oil to propane was included in the terminal project.

Acct 40-20-100 reduce to $300.

Acct 40-20-450 reduce to $3,000

Acct 40-20-500 reduce to zero.

12:39 p.m.: Break for lunch

1:17 p.m.: Back in session

Acct 40-30-300 reduce to $4,300 to cover the general audit of the airport.

Commissioner Blasi stated that the FAA's Walsh letter of February 19, 2013 explained that several years ago, the FAA advised the County that the $15,000 annual administrative fee assessed to the airport account was not congruent with the County's federal obligations.  Adding that we have no information regarding whether the cost allocation plan (administration fee) is reconciled to actual audited costs.  The FAA concluded that there was a lack of support for the administrative charges to the airport.  Commissioner Blasi stated that, in his opinion, the account should be closed and to not have an administrative fee.

Commissioner Brown questioned if Commissioner Blasi was suggesting that the airport find their own accountant.  Commissioner Blasi stated that the Finance Office is currently managing the finances of the airport.  Commissioner Brown clarified that the airport is a separate entity with its own audit.  To which Commissioner Blasi responded "the salaries of the Finance Office are fixed" and that the airport is a department of the county and the OFA does the administrative activities for other departments that are not charged.  Commissioner Brown stated that the airport is the only entity of the county that runs a profit and loss statement.  CFO Roy clarified the difference in the airport and the UT, stating that tax dollars do not support the airport but do support the UT.  CFO Roy stated that the auditor verifies/justifies the “actual” cost of the administrative fee and that in the same letter read by Commissioner Blasi the FAA agreed to utilizing a formula in order to charge the administrative fee.  The actual number is computed in mid-December and then approved by the auditor.  Airport Manager Madeira stated "I do not necessarily have any issue with the administrative fee as long as the cost allocation methodology is being maintained, then I don't feel our grant money is at risk, as long as that's going on, I don't really have an issue with it."  Commissioner Blasi requested a breakdown of the cost allocation formula.  CFO Roy stated that the fee is based on a fair and measurable formula that has been approved by the FAA.  He will share how the cost is derived in mid-December.

CFO Roy projected that Airport Undesignated Funds should be approximately $700,000+.  Commissioner Brown suggested creating a reserve account for tractor replacement.

After making the suggested changes, suggested 2014 airport expenditures totaled $733,651.

County Budget:

Currently, the proposed budget is 2.54% above the FY13 approved budget; an additional $30,000 is needed to reduce it to below 1.9%.

Commissioner Brown recommended the following changes:

Acct 03-01-300, delete

Acct 05-01-300 reduce by $1,300

Acct 05-07-100 reduce by $250

Acct 05-07-600 reduce by $250

Acct 06-07-100 reduce by $150

Acct 06-07-600 reduce by $1,000

Acct 07-100 increase by $1,330.35, from 3 to 5%.

Acct 07-07-100 reduce by $520

Acct 10-07-100 reduce by $500

Acct 10-20-005 reduce by $2,000

Acct 10-70-300 reduce by $10,000 as revenues for trade-in's are never shown.

Flat line 3rd Party Donations.

Commissioner Joy stated that he preferred to send a lump sum back to the departments for reduction.

Commissioner Blasi made a plea that when we reach below the 2% line that the commissioners not approve an Overlay.  Commissioner Brown explained that some towns do not pay until late in the year and the Overlay can help in that sort of situation.  The differences between, Surplus, Undesignated Funds and Overlay was discussed.  CFO Roy stated that without an Overlay, a TAN would be needed.  The reserve accounts are what is used to operate the county budget.  Commissioner Brown stated that the Overlay does not come from taxation, if you don't use the Overlay, it runs back into Undesignated Funds.  You roll it out again the next year and put it back onto the budget.  It's an Undesignated Fund after a while. 

Commissioner Blasi suggested leaving the 2% increase in the proposed budget and not approving an Overlay.  He stated that having an Overlay and then moving it into transfers to reduce the budget is a circular game.  Commissioner Brown stated, again,  that the Overlay does not come from taxation.  Commissioner Blasi clarified that "the Overlay worksheet, shows where each town, according to valuation, got assessed that much more."

Commissioner Blasi suggested lengthening the time to include the Overlay to a later date.  Commissioner Blasi questioned why the commissioners wanted to reduce the percentage increase of the budget.  Commissioner Brown thought that keeping the budget below a 2% increase is good for the tax payers.  Commissioner Joy agreed.  Commissioner Brown commented on the frugality of the county budget when compared to towns within the League of Towns.

Commissioner Joy suggested that the budget be sent back to department heads and request reductions.  At minimum $10,000 is needed from a department.  A budget workshop was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on December 13, 2013.  Commissioner Brown requested to ear mark between $5,000 and $10,000 in Undesignated Funds for a project.

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



C. DePrenger

County Clerk

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