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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes August 8th, 2017 #2149
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 60°
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the August 1st, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton stated that the county’s jail continues to be very crowded and busy with today’s population total coming in at 202 inmates. There are 167 males and 35 females with 26 inmates boarded out at other jail facilities. The jail is housing one federal inmate and there are 75 individuals in Pre-Trial Services. Troy explained that he and his staff have found it difficult to board out inmates due to other jails experiencing the same population surges.
• Sheriff Morton stated that Judy Harrison of the Bangor Daily News has asked for a copy of the recent DOC inspection report jail. Sheriff Morton believes the full scale report can be shared but will follow up and verify. Troy would like the results of the report published considering the only items the jail failed on were overpopulated criteria such as the lack of sight/sound separation of female and male inmates in intake & admissions. The Sheriff has almost completed the Variance response to the DOC audit. He noted all the effort the department has done to help manage the population crisis (working with the DA’s Office/Courts, boarding out to other jail facilities, pre-trial services, etc.) Troy stated the Variance is broad and has listed tentative dates that the county plans on addressing those deficiencies found.
• The Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fatal car crash that recently took place in Etna.
• Troy is waiting on new patrol vehicles that the county went out to bid and purchased towards the beginning of the summer. The delivery of the cruisers have been delayed twice already. Troy would like to have them soon since the department has paid for some significant repairs to some of the high mileage patrol vehicles currently in service. Troy plans on cycling the older patrol cars out of use and using a few for spares once the new ones arrive. Commissioner Baldacci asked if Ford has issued a recall on the patrol units due to the carbon monoxide leaks. Troy stated that there has not been any recalls. We are saving the invoices for all repairs to two units that he has fielded complaints on. Troy reminded the Commissioners that he has installed carbon monoxide detectors in all of the cruisers that are in the model years effected by the issue. He noted that no alarms have gone off since the detectors have been installed.
• The CEO of the county’s jail medical health provider, CHP, is on campus to meet with the Sheriff on issues of inadequate staffing of nurse, doctor, and HSA positions. The company has met with EMMC to see if there are any ways the two organizations can work better together. The county’s contract with CHP expires at the end of September. In previous Commissioner Meetings Sheriff Morton has expressed his frustration of CHP failing to meet the staffing requirements set forth in their contract.
• Sheriff Morton complemented the jail’s new mental health provider, CHCS, on their work since coming to the facility at the beginning of July.
• Troy noted that the jail is about to hire three new correctional officers. The jail’s staff is still down 3-4 positions.
• Administrator Bill Collins said he has been in contact with MCCA Executive Director Charlie Pray and DOC Scott Ferguson in regards to when the county can expect the State’s funds for our jail. Each replied that the county should receive funds within the next couple of weeks. Bill stated it is week two since he received that notice. Bill explained that the funds being disbursed should not include the supplemental funding. It is comprised of the $12.2 million that is split amongst the county jails according to their previous year’s Average Daily Population (ADP). Based on the increase of our jail’s ADP versus the previous budget year, Bill expects our county to receive $1.7-1.8 million in funds (versus $1.5 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year). Bill explained that of the $12.2 million Maine jails must devote 30% of $5.6 million of those monies ($1.7 million) to programming. Sheriff Morton and Bill stated our jail should easily meet the proration of the program funding requirement based on our budget.
• Finance Director Judy Alexander stated that she plans on withdrawing the last of the remaining funds from the county’s TAN. She stated the county will have roughly $300,000 in the general fund after today’s deposit.
• Bill and the Commissioners have received notice from three county unions requesting to discuss their contracts. The Correction Officers Line has requested to meet to discuss wages for next year. The Correction Supervisors have requested to start negotiating for their new contract since theirs expires at the end of this year. Last the FOP officer’s line have informed Bill that they would like to discuss their wages for next year.
• Bill informed the Commissioners that there is a MCCA meeting tomorrow.
• Bill presented on behalf of UT Department Head Barbara Veilleux and Deputy Director George Buswell that they have received culvert drawings back for the Greenfield Culvert replacement project. They are finalizing the RFP for the bid and plan on putting the service out by the end of this week with a bid opening date of August 29th.
• County attorney Ed Bearor has reviewed the UT’s contract with PERC and noted that the language has improved considerably in comparison with last year contracts. Ed stated that PERC needs to be aware that not all of the waste that the UT handles will be delivered to their facility as previously mentioned in last week’s Commissioners’ meeting. Barbara has contacted PERC to notify them of the county plans. She is waiting to hear back.
• Barbara communicated to Bill that Greg Fuller of Machias Savings Bank has agreed to sit on the UT TIF committee. The individual from University of Maine that Commissioner Davis had suggested in a previous meeting has yet to respond to Barbara’s communication. The pre bid meeting in regards to putting the financial services of the TIF service out to bid will be August 21st.
• Members of MEGIS have expressed gratitude to Commissioner Sanborn for contacting local legislators to encourage the reinstatement of the department’s budget. MEGIS is a GPS 911 collection and mapping service provided by the state that has recently had its budget tentatively zeroed out.
• Bill and Judy received a tax bill from the Bangor Development District for $372 for the county recently acquired building at 127 Hammond Street. The bill noted that it was for the owner of record as of April 1st, yet the county did not acquire the building until the middle of that month. Bill has spoken to the City and inquired why the bill did not go to the previous owner. The City responded that the bill goes out to the owner of record when the tax bill is issued. Bill has contacted county attorney Ed Bearor to make sure this matter was addressed at the property’s closing.
• Bill had a meeting last week with Mary Ann Lynch and Kristine Higgins of the DA’s Office in regards to an individual who owns a significant amount of land in the county but does not have the cash to make payments towards a restitution case. The DA’s Office and Judge would like to place a lien on his property until the restitution can be paid in full. Commissioner Baldacci agreed to their place to place a lien on the property.
• Bill stated he will verify if the Jail’s audit can be shared publically to the press and if so will email Judy Harrison of the Bangor Daily News a copy of it.
Wellness Center Broken Equipment Discussion
A discussion ensued regarding the payment for a broken cable machine that the county had asked the individuals to pay for since they were using it when it broke. One of the individuals met with Bill Collins and refused to pay for the parts and labor. The Commissioners placed a temporary restriction on their center access until this could be talked out. In summary, the individuals’ accounts of the mishap, they felt there was no violation of policy/gym rules or mischievous actions that caused the machine to break. Thus they should not be held responsible for paying the repair costs of the machine. Bill explained that the cable machine broke due to the individuals adding extra weights i.e. plates and a (dumbbell on top of the cable machine) for more resistance. However the weight(s) fell off and broke the cable line during their workout. The individuals explained that a stopper on the cable machine broke first and the cable broke due to the weight falling afterwards. They explained that it is very common practice to add weights to cable machines. The price of the repair is significantly above what the parts should have cost for repair. Commissioner Davis commented that adding weights to the machines is not what the Commissioners had originally intended for the extensiveness of use for that equipment. The Commissioners agreed to reassess charging the individuals for the machine repairs. In the meantime they would allow access to the wellness center commenting further that the individuals will not place additional weight over and beyond what is currently provided for the workout equipment. Each agreed and thanked the Commissioners for hearing their comments on how the equipment broke. Chairman Baldacci closed by saying the Commissioners would consider their explanation and they would make a final decision in regards to whether they would waive or amend their request that this invoice should be paid by them.
• Local area citizen Mario Kent asked if the Commissioners would consider expanding the public transportation offerings as a County service. Mario felt that by offering more public transportation options it would trickle down to higher real estate values in the area and subsequently increase the county’s tax revenue. Commissioner Baldacci and Treasurer Dan Tremble noted that there are regional bus transportation opportunities currently offered in our region. Commissioner Baldacci stated he will have all county representative on transportation committees keep Mr. Kent’s concern in mind.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 232,631.87
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 88,234.21
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 50,635.03
• Payroll change notice signed for: Hired – Benjamen Brown, Jennifer Sanford, and Frank Tibbetts.
• Compensation notice signed for: None
Meeting Adjourned- The formal meeting was adjourned at 9:36 am followed by the annual tour of the Jail.
• Sheriff Morton and the Jail’s staff gave the Commissioners and members of the Administrative department a tour of the correctional facility.
Penobscot County Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner