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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 23rd, 2017 #2139
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 60°
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Department Head Barbara Veilleux and Deputy Director George Buswell presented the 2017 UT’s road projects estimates. Barbara and George communicated plans for culvert replacements in Grand Falls, Summit, T6 R7, Mattamiscontis, and Greenfield all together totaling $11,400. They also plan to begin road repair projects in Greenfield, Summit, T6 R7, and Grand Falls totaling $22,300. Barbara noted these projects are included in the UT’s current budget which has set aside funds for $50,200 for culvert replacements & road projects.
• George described a paving project in Greenfield that he and Barbara have estimated to cost $174,300. He feels we will get a much better quote for the paving than the estimate. Commissioner Davis suggested to bid on the project in the near future to try and secure the best price available. The Commissioners also suggested that if the paving bid is cheap enough to consider expanding the paving job to add additional improvements to the road. George noted they will report back to the Commissioners once they receive the paving bid back. The total funds allocated for Paving Projects in the UT’s budget is $189,689.
• George explained their plan to pave portions of the Mattamiscontis road in 2018. However due to the poor conditions of the road, he and Barbara feel major reconstruction is needed before paving. They are awaiting the results of test borings to determine the existing base material before they plan the reconstruction project. Commissioner Baldacci asked how much traffic the road experiences. Barbara and George felt the road receives a fair amount of traffic since the vast majority of houses are located along the route. The only other capital project the UT has planned is to replace a fish passage culvert in Greenfield. The Nature Conservancy has been assisting with the project and will pay for the engineering and permitting. The Conservancy has also offered to pay for one-half of the construction costs estimated at just over $60,000. George and Barbara estimate the UT’s portion of the Greenfield project to cost $35,000 and will report back at a later date the Mattamiscontis cost figure. The UT currently has $294,710 available for Capital Construction Projects. Commissioner Davis asked if any other towns will be watching the installation process of these fish passage culverts. George replied that he would be there to oversee the project, but was unsure if members of other towns would be there to watch. Commissioner Sanborn commented that the Town of Milford recently installed a fish passage culvert and the Town of Alton has plans to install one as well.
• Barbara presented that the public hearing on the Seboeis Stream ATV Club’s request to travel on the Mattamiscontis Road was well attended. She noted the majority of the attendees were in favor of the request but there was some opposition. One resident in favor of the granting the access had asked if the speed limit could be posted at 10 mph. The resident has since sent an email requesting the speed limit to be raised to 20mph if the Commissioners were to approve the trail. George noted that in other areas where the UT has granted ATV access the speed limits have always been posted at 15mph. The Commissioners commented that it is important to be consistent with the other speed limit postings. Local area Game Warden Mike Boyer had contacted Barbara asking if the Commissioners wished to restrict the operating hours so that ATV’s could only use the road during reasonable hours such as 8am-8pm. Barbara commented that this would possibly create an enforcement issue and hoped that ATV clubs would keep their riders in check with only operating at reasonable hours of the day. Commissioner Davis made a motion to allow ATV access on the UT’s portion of the Mattamiscontis Road on 1-year trial basis and post the speed limit at 15mph. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Barbara stated she would notify the ATV club.
• Barbara explained that she received all of the salt quantities from the towns that wish to buy in bulk. Barbara stated that the southern and northern regions of the county’s towns requested 4,952 and 2,250 tons respectively, for a total of 7,202 tons. Barbara will send out the bid to salt vendors this week. Commissioner Davis asked if there was any way the bid could specify that the county could possibly purchase more salt if others towns wished to participate at a later date. Barbara responded that she felt that would hurt the county’s bid price due to the inability to narrow down a specific salt quantity. George and Barbara explained that the contract with the participating towns currently reads that they must purchase 75% of their estimated bid tonnage, and the price is guaranteed up to 110% of the bid quote. Barbara noted that some of the towns were unhappy with the coarseness and color of the salt last year even though it met all of the specs in the bid. One town elected not to participate this year due to last year’s salt quality. George and Barbara noted that last winter was a very bad season for ice conditions regardless of the type of salt that was used.
• Commissioner Davis asked if the UT had a right-a-way on any roads to post signage for the new National Monument. Barbara stated that only road in the region that the UT had a right-a-way to post signage on was the Millinocket Lake Road. She commented that she didn’t believe that the Monument could be accessed through that road though. She would check and let the Commissioners know if it was.
• Department Head Chad LaBree presented that he and two dispatchers participated in a mass causality incident located in the East Millinocket. The incident was staged as an accident where a tractor trailer carrying hazardous materials collided with a group of bicyclist near a stream. Chad had the department’s dispatchers carrying out tactical commands with the emergency response teams that were on scene. Chad explained communication logistics often deteriorate in a mass causality event, but the dispatcher’s efforts were praised. Chad noted there were many lessons taken away from the exercise and he commended the County’s EMA Department and East Millinocket Fire Chief Les Brown for putting on the session. Administrator Bill Collins presented pictures taken from the event provided by EMA Department Head Michelle Tanguay.
• Chad presented a plan to rearrange the offices of the current dispatch and UT departments in order to create an office for the new Human Resource position in the coming weeks. Chad explained the proposed plan would move the PRCC dispatch center across the hall into the Great Room. Chad and PRCC’s Administrative Assistant Monica McKay would then move their offices into two of the vacant offices right next to the court room. This would allow Barbara and George to move into Chad and Monica respective offices allowing the HR hire to utilize the UT office on the first floor. The current space utilized by the dispatch center would then transition into a PRCC training and county conference room. Barbara noted she feels the move would be beneficial to the UT department since it would allow easy access to conference and mapping space. Bill asked if that was something they would like done as well as constructing a door for Chad’s proposed office so he can have direct access into the new dispatch room. Right now the office can only be accessed from corridor outside of the suggested new dispatch area. Chad commented that it would be very advantageous to have direct access to the center so that he can easily listen in and oversee the workspace. The Commissioners asked Bill to get quotes for the insulating but wanted to further inspect the proposed new door to see if the wall is load-bearing or not. Chad said that Maintenance Head Cap Ayer was going to find blueprints to verify if the wall is load-bearing or not. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the overall move and discuss further changes and improvements once more information is available. . Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Administrator Bill Collins shared some information on behalf of EMA Department Head Michelle Tanguay who is attending a conference in Augusta. Michelle sent Bill a Support Agreement to allow the Maine Air National Guard to set up a staging area for supplies in the event of a local disaster. The agreement would be in effect until 2027.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted the site would be at the Maine Air National Guard base in Bangor and would release the Maine Air National Guard from any liability that would arise during the use of the site. Commissioner Davis made a motion to sign the Support Agreement. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• EMA took part in a full scale exercise located at the Bangor International Airport (BIA). The department also handled the evaluation reports that were sent to BIA officials for their review.
• As Chad previously reported the EMA department participated and helped put on the East Millinocket mass causality incident. There was 81 people covering multiple agencies that were involved. Michelle reported she received a lot of positive feedback of the exercise.
• Michelle communicated to Bill that the FEMA citizen core project team recently finished up designating five Community Point of Distribution (CPODs) throughout the county. The locations are designated as drop sites for federal food & supplies in the wake of a disaster in our County. Bill communicated that Michelle will present the details of the project at a later meeting.
• Last Michelle wanted the Commissioners know that she will be going on vacation next week. Administrative Assistant Denise Molinaro will be in charge of the office during that time.
• Bill explained that yesterday (Monday evening) the Bangor Water Works Department notified him that they were losing roughly 2 million gallons a day due to an unidentified water line break. The department communicated that they would need to temporarily cut off access to the county water supply. Bill and Sheriff Troy Morton’s began communicating with Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow, Project Manager Amanda Soucy, and Bangor Water District Manager Kathy Moriarty to delay the shut off to a more feasible time frame for the jail. In response to the group’s efforts the shutoff was delayed until 11:00 pm last night. Bill noted that Michelle and Chad came in to deliver water to the jail so the facility would have drinking water on hand during the outage. Bill praised Kathy Moriarty for her efforts in delaying the shutdown to a more practical time for the jail. Commissioner Davis asked Bill to write Ms. Moriaty a letter thanking her for her efforts.
• Bill received a certificate of insurance from MacMillan Construction that covers liability on all of MacMillan’s equipment that is being parked/stored in the county’s parking lot at 127 Hammond Street.
• Bill stated that County Attorney Ed Bearor has reached out to the City of Bangor to rezone the newly acquired 127 Hammond Street property as a governmental zone. Bill requested if the Commissioners would approve the application and the associated rezoning fee of $1,330. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the rezoning application and fee. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Bill informed the Commissioners that he has been working with County Attorney Ed Bearor to finalize the mutual release form regarding the lease agreement with Citi Reach Church.
• Bill reminded the Commissioners that Health Equity Alliance has invited them to a luncheon that is taking place tomorrow. The luncheon includes a tour of the Health Equity Alliance complex.
• Bill was able to meet yesterday with the Criminal Justice Committee’s legal analyst Jane Oberton alongside MCCA Interim Executive Director Charlie Pray and others to further discuss the jail funding crisis. Bill then presented figures from the preliminary 2017-2018 jail budget that Financial Director Judy Alexander, Lieutenant Keith Hotaling, and Sheriff Troy Morton have been working on. Bill explained that our county is approaching nearly a $1 million dollar budget shortfall for the next jail’s fiscal budget. The shortfall includes budgeting for $400,000 in estimated boarding costs to help house the continual high number of inmates in our jail. Commissioner Baldacci expressed that in talking with legislators he is concerned that no compromise will be reached regarding lifting the county jail tax cap or allocating any funding in the state budget to county jails. Bill explained the financial impact if the state leaves no funding for the jails in the next year’s budget. Last year the state appropriated $12.2 million to all of the state’s county jails. Our county’s portion of those funds were $1.5 million. Thus our jail’s budget could potentially be $2.5 million short ($1.5 million of lost state funding added to the current $1 million shortfall). Bill listed that currently our jail raises roughly $6.4 million in taxes, receives $1.5 million of state funding, and takes in $100,000 in surcharge fees and federal inmate income all totaling $8 million. The county’s upcoming budget is close to $9 million which derives the $1 million shortfall. Bill explained that Sheriff Morton will be coming before the Commissioners in the near future for approval of the 2017-2018 jail budget.
• Charlie Pray has asked Bill for historical information regarding how the Department of Corrections has previously funded county jail from the early 1990’s. Commissioner Baldacci explained that the state provided very little funding for the county jails during that time period, however the jails weren’t experiencing the population crisis that have taken place in recent years resulting in the need for more operational funds. Bill stated that Charlie is currently revising an op-ed letter to have published in newspapers around the state. Bill suggested that the Commissioners approve the letter before it goes to print. Commissioner Baldacci reiterated that either the state needs to give the jail more funding or the Sheriff will be forced to not house any additional inmate(s) that will push expenses over budget.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 204,974.75
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for 5/19/2017: $ 1,503.60
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for 5/23/2017: $ 45,540.19
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved: None
• Payroll change notice signed for: Charity Davis – Transfer.
• Compensation notice signed for: Barbara Veilleux – 4.25 Hours, Tyler Thompson – 1.5 Hours.
Executive Session- Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at 9:57 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E) Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, and PRCC Director Chad LaBree were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:15 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session- Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 10:20 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A) Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, and Probate Department Head Renee Stupak were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:29 am with no votes taken.
Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Sheriff’s Department to go out for RFP for Mental Health Services at the Jail. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 am with no further business on the agenda.
Penobscot County Administrator
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner