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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 2nd, 2017 #2136
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 45°
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the April 25th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Department update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton reported the jail is currently at 169 inmates comprising of 137 males, 32 females, and 27 boarded out (5 of which are at Cumberland County Jail). There are 62 in Maine Pre-Trial. Sheriff Morton noted that even though the inmate count is down compared to recent weeks, the jail is taking care of five very sick inmates which adds stress on the operation. Troy has been unsuccessful in getting two of the inmates transferred into the State Prison’s medical unit.
• Earlier in the week a gentleman was stabbed in downtown Bangor in the middle of the night. The man walked into the County Jail bleeding profusely and in need of medical attention. The Sheriff praised the Corrections Officer, Sargent, and Corporal who attended to the man until an ambulance arrived. Sheriff stated that their actions most likely saved the man’s life. Commissioner Baldacci commented that once the investigation concludes the Sheriff should notify the press to commend the actions of the Corrections Officers.
• Tomorrow Troy will be attending a legislative meeting in Augusta for Bill LD-1428. The bill requires that a probationer held without bail pending hearing after an initial appearance for a probation violation must be transferred to the custody of the Department of Corrections and within 7 days transported to a department facility. Sheriff Morton is bringing a snapshot of our county jail’s population which breaks down how many pretrial and probation violators that consist of the entire population.
The Sheriff selected a random week to analyze our population. The statistics of that week are as follows: 231 in house and boarded out, of that total 173 were Pre-Trial, and 26% of the Pre-Trial total were probation violators. Administrator Bill Collins and the Commissioners suggested to use actual population numbers in place of percentages. Troy and Bill commented that it is ironic that legislators against the bill are concerned that it will cost a considerable amount of money to transport and board probation violators in and out of correctional departments. Considering our county has been forced to pay these same costs with the recent overcrowding crisis. Troy also noted it was also ironic that a legislator commented that the State is not prepared for transporting the number of parole inmates in and out of jail even though the state is proposing a bill to take over all of the county’s Jail responsibilities via LD 1266.
• Commissioner Baldacci asked if the Sheriff had been monitoring the discussion to lift the 3% tax ceiling for County Jail’s portion of tax budget. Bill added that he and MCCA Executive Director Charlie Pray had been working on breaking down the dollar impact of fully funding the county’s jail deficits. Bill and Charlie looked at the property tax impact of Orrington and Millinocket residents respectively. Bill commented that while legislators are concerned of the percentage, the actual dollar amount impact to a local tax payer’s tax bill is miniscule. Troy commended Charlie Pray for the work he has done since becoming the interim Executive Director for the MCCA.
• The Sheriff commented that his deputies are investigating a fatal car crash in Hudson. The crash involved one vehicle and one fatality. Troy commented that it appears high speed was the contributing factor in the crash.
• Sheriff has been attempting for some time to update the cable service for the Jail. A technician from the vendor was able to survey and analyze the jail’s current equipment and set up. The jail’s cable lines are very outdated. The company is planning on running fiber lines from the county building and updating the connections of the jail’s coaxial lines. The Sheriff expressed that he would like to set up the cable to broadcast a local access channel. The channel could serve as an outlet to post pertinent information or educational material for inmates and correctional officers. The Cable company will present a figure on the costs of installing the local channel and the Sheriff will report back to the Commissioners.
• The Jail has a new digital display screen installed in the departments’ waiting room. The Sheriff has received a lot of positive feedback on the new TV. The setup of the TV allows the department to post information about outside services and rehab facilities that citizen can watch as they wait for bail, inmates, etc.
• Sheriff noted that next week is National Correction Officer Week. The following week is National Law Enforcement Officer Week.
• AARP recently funded a mass paper shredding and medication disposal event for the public at the Airport Mall in Bangor. The Sheriff was there to oversee the event. He commented that over 1,000 lbs. of pills/medication and over 19,400 lbs. of sensitive/personal documents were destroyed. The Sheriff plans on writing a letter of thanks to the owners of the Airport Mall for allowing them to hold the event on their premises. He added it was a great event and that over 500 cars came through and dropped off items to be destroyed.
• The Sheriff’s Department has a clerical position that they have been conducting interviews and screenings. There is also an open Correctional Officer Position that the Sheriff is looking to hire in house.
• Troy mentioned that Orono Police Captain Scripture recently passed away. He noted he plans on attending the funeral.
• Sheriff explained that a wall was recently installed in the Sheriff’s Office for $ 4,000. That project, along with some painting and installation of some molding have been completed as part of the inmate work program.
• The Sheriff invited the Commissioners to an Auction and Raffle benefiting Veteran Farmers. The event is hosted by former NFL players and Maine residents Mike DeVito and Matt Mulligan.
Prentiss Sand-Salt Shed Metal Roof Bid Opening-
• Commissioner Baldacci opened two bids for the metal roofing project at the Prentiss Shed. The first bid was from Larry Ham covering labor & materials for the project totaling $43,450. The second bid was from David Trask & Sons for $47,000 including liability insurance. Commissioner Davis asked if Larry Ham’s bid included liability insurance. Barbara answered that was not a stipulation of the bid. She felt comfortable not requiring it where Ham has done work for the County previously. Commissioner Baldacci asked if Barbara and Deputy Director George Buswell felt that the bids were accurate since there was no mention of specs in the bids. George and Barbara noted that both contractors were at the bid meeting and were comfortable with their respective understanding of the bid specs. Commissioner Davis motioned to award the bid to Larry Ham for $43,450. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. George reminded the Commissioners that the specs called for 2x6 strapping and that long screws be used to fasten the metal.
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Barbara presented a draft notice letter written to residents in Prentiss instructing them to clean up two separate junk yards that are protruding out near the main road. The Commissioners instructed Barbara to have the DA’s office sign the letter and put Barbara’s contact info in the letter to answer any questions regarding the notice. Barbara notated the letter will be served by certified mail.
• Barbara explained that old sand has recently been moved away from the back wall at the Grand Falls shed. George commented that small holes are present in the bottom section of the metal due to corrosion from the sand/salt mixture laying there untouched over time. George explained that the sides of the shed have a plywood barrier up against the metal to protect it from rusting out. George warned that if the plywood barriers aren’t capped sand could fall in between the plywood and metal causing some sand to be trapped up against the metal. The plywood currently on the sides of the shed are capped, it is just the back section that has had sand up against the metal for years has never had a barrier built. Commissioner Davis suggested to George either build a plywood barrier and cap it so no sand will seep down through, or cut the existing metal so a new sheet of exterior metal can be inserted onto the studs covering up the damaged section of the shed. George added he could spray a protective coating over the metal to protect it from corroding over time. Barbara and George stated that they would be able to ask one of the county’s plow contractors to help with the labor alongside George if needed. George didn’t think the materials would cost much more than $1,000 to complete the job but he would let the Commissioners know if it was otherwise. George felt it would make the most sense to cover the exiting metal with a new sheet. Commissioner Baldacci instructed George to do whatever he thought was best to complete the job. He didn’t need to report back to them what he decided unless more problems/costs arose.
• George has been working with a Nature Conservancy to build a fish-way project in Greenfield. George has been looking for funding to help cover the project. He noted that the Conservancy has agreed to pay for the engineering which will cost five to six thousand dollars. The total estimate for the job is around $60,000-65,000 dollars. George explained the UT has funding for half of the project. The remaining balance will be paid through grants that the Conservancy oversees. Commissioner Davis asked if the Conservancy has worked with Penobscot County Soil Conservation. George explained that the permits submitted have been a collective effort of both parties (George and the Conservancy). Commissioner Davis is concerned that small towns don’t have any expertise of fish-way projects and the culverts that will be effected. Commissioner Davis felt it would be an opportunity to educate local municipalities. George explained the Audubon and Forest Service provides educational classes on fish-way/culvert classes. George said he and Barbara could notify all of the UT municipalities so that these small towns can attend. George stated that construction of the project is planned in August/September when the water levels are low. Barbara added that the road will have to be closed a couple of days during the project.
• Barbara commented that every year they have problems with the road conditions on the Mattamiscontis Road. The edges and shoulders of both sides of the road curl up presenting a traveling hazard. Barbara and George would like to hire S.W. Cole to do some test borings to try to determine the best way to address the problem. The estimated costs associated with the drilling are $2,000. George noted a lot of ditching was done in the early 2000’s when the road was paved. Commissioner Davis felt the road wasn’t built correctly, and when new ditches are dug on poorly constructed roads they can have a tendency to sag. George and Barbara explained there are four – 1,000 foot sections of the road that are experiencing these issues. The Commissioners agree it would be best to drill first to discover what is causing the perpetual issue.
• Barbara stated that the Seboeis Stream ATV Club is requesting permission to use the UT’s portion of the Mattamiscontis Road to connect trails in Howland, Chester and points north. Chester has already granted permission and Howland will be holding a public hearing on the request for their respective boundaries of the road. Barbara explained the majority of houses on the road are located within the UT’s boundaries of the road (Mattamiscontis Twp.) Commissioner Davis commented that he is concerned that residents would be against having the road opened up for ATVs. Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson, who lives in a nearby town, explained that he believed the background for the request is that all of the residents who live along the Mattamiscontis road have no access to ATV trails without having to trailer to an access location. This is due that the road/residents are landlocked between the Penobscot River and Interstate 95. Thus there are no connecting ATV trails for the road’s residents to have immediate access to the main ATV trails in the surrounding municipalities. George added that there are no major safety concerns of visibility (sharp corners/steep hills) along the road. Commissioner Sanborn commented that she felt that some residents would be in support of making the road ATV accessible. Commissioner Baldacci suggested holding a hearing in the area to garner any public opinion before a decision is made. George and Barbara noted they would schedule a hearing and notify the Mattamiscontis Twp. residents.
• Barbara presented that the first meeting of the TIF Committee was held last week. The committee suggested a few edits to the draft application and discussed the need for the development and execution of the lending and/or grant documents. The Commissioners suggested going out to bid for the development and execution of the lending and grant documents. Barbara explained the process of developing an RFP for the project is complicated. She has reached out to Somerset for help developing the RFP. The Commissioners asked if other counties had done an RFP for this service. Barbara stated that Washington County used their economic development board for that process and did not go out to bid for it. She will let them know what Somerset has done when she hears back from them.
• Barbara and George recently attended the MRRA’s solid waste conference. They thanked the Commissioners for allowing them to attend and noted there were many great topics and speakers at the convention. George explained that there are many southern Maine municipalities making great strides in managing their waste.
• Barbara and George will be attending the Municipal Cost Component work session this afternoon.
Executive Session- Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a Legal matter at 10:00 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, County Attorney Ed Bearor, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:30 am with no votes taken.
• Administrator Bill Collins informed the Commissioners that former Senator George Mitchell will be coming to the Cross Center in Bangor June 20th. The Commissioners noted they would like to attend.
• Bill stated that he will be going to Augusta this Friday to attend a County Managers meeting
• Next Monday Bill will be attending a Finance meeting with Penquis Community Action Agency.
• As mentioned in the Sheriff’s Update Bill and MCCA Executive Director Charlie Pray have been working on breaking down the dollar amount impact of residents’ tax bills to fully fund the county’s jail deficit.
• Bill reminded the Commissioners that IT department head Cliff Warren hoped to renew the county’s current telephone/voice contract with OTT. Bill reviewed the expired contract and found no language exercising a contract extension or a reduction in the contract price. Bill believes the County must re-bid this service. The Commissioners agreed to re-bid the service.
• Bill then presented some updates on behalf of PRCC department head Chad LaBree who was unable to attend the meeting. Chad stated that he had not heard back from the Consulting firm in regards to the questions he posed. Chad will also be attending an upcoming NEMA conference this week.
• Finance Director Judy Alexander communicated to Bill the county’s current Cash Flow position. Judy noted that the county currently has $3.5 million dollars remaining in the county’s recent TAN account. As of this date last year the county’s previous year TAN balance was $3.6 million.
• Bill recently met with Dick Coffin of Rogan Memorials in regards to the vendor providing signage and plaques for the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioner Davis said to check with the
Guernsey’s on State Street for a quote as well.
• Bill mentioned to the Commissioners that the roof at the newly acquired 127 Hammond Street property is covered in pools of water. Commissioner Davis commented that he wonders if the drains are plugged or if the previous owners/contractors roofed over the old drains. The Commissioners suggested pumping off the standing water and inspecting what the possible causes are.
• Commissioner Baldacci then opened two bids for a XP 615 Treadmill that the County was auctioning. PRCC employee Chris Fox put in a bid for $25. EMA employee Denise Molinaro bid $25.25 for the treadmill. Commissioner Sanborn motioned to award the bid for the XP 615 Trainer to Denise Molinaro for $25.25. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 229,066.72
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 358,914.22
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 5,556.48
• Payroll change notice signed for: Melissa Boyle
• Compensation notice signed for: None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 am with no further business on the agenda.
Penobscot County Administrator
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner