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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes August 15th, 2017 #2150
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Tom Davis 65°
Commissioner Laura Sanborn was absent.
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the August 8th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• The agenda was amended to add Sheriff Troy Morton to present.
• Sheriff Morton stated that Washington and Aroostook County have taken roughly 25 +/- inmates per day to help with our county jail’s population surge. Sheriff Morton would like to contribute some money on one of their accounts i.e. their food vendor to help pay for costs incurred by housing our inmates. Troy added that the county does not help Washington and Aroostook County with their prisoner transports as much as in the past. This gesture would not come anywhere near the expense incurred by housing our inmates. The Commissioners agreed that these two counties have helped us out tremendously. Commissioner Davis made a motion to pay $5,000 towards the food costs of each Washington and Aroostook County. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. The Commissioners asked if Bill would give each county’s respective administrator a heads up of the food credit on their account.
• Sheriff Troy Morton presented the jail is housing 184 inmates (151 males, 33 females) with 32 boarded out to other county jails. The jail is housing one federal inmate and there are 71 individuals in Pre-Trial Services.
• Troy attended a meeting with the US Attorney’s office on drug treatment and federal funding opportunities for correctional facilities. Troy expressed that it is great that our county takes part in drug treatments such as Vivitrol. We need to get federal funding in order to sustain those treatments long term.
• The Sheriff thanked the Commissioner for touring the jail after last week’s meeting.
• The Sheriff has submitted the NIC application for the on-site training class on Jail Expansion. The contact for NIC replied that they plan on holding the class sometime in the late fall of this year.
• The Sheriff has submitted the Variance Application as a result of the recent jail audit by the DOC. Troy explained that the variance is very generic but explains many of the processes the jail will take to address our large population. It also included some long term outlines of the ways we hope to expand and counter the issues of overcrowding that were noted in the audit report.
• Troy invited the Commissioners to the department’s employee BBQ that is taking place Wednesday August 23rd.
• PRCC Director Chad LaBree stated the department has advertised for two open dispatch positions. Chad was encouraged that we have already received applications for the vacancies.
• The PRCC Board of Directors has asked Chad to look into purchasing a county wide paging system for firemen and EMS. Chad explained that the two current Fire/EMS frequencies are being utilized so often that agencies are having a difficult time transmitting to the dispatch center at times when the paging communication traffic is high. Chad has started the process of gathering cost and logistic details of installing the pager system on all nine of the county’s towers with the department’s service contractor. Chad believes that there are no State grants which would come close to covering the expense. We would have to look to federal funding. Chad believes the overall cost could be close to $250,000. The Commissioners feel that is very costly for an upgrade and encouraged Chad to look into any grant which he can find to help with the costs. Chad noted that Senator Angus King will be in Bangor speaking with local area public safety officials in the near future. Chad hopes to make the Senator aware of this pager system need and the potential cost to local tax payers.
• Chad has received a draft report from Communications Design Consultant Group hired to analyze our current broadcasting infrastructure. Chad has reviewed the report and has suggested some edits before the firm presents their final findings to the Commissioners.
Executive Session - Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 9:17 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, PRCC Director Chad LaBree, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 9:25 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session - Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 9:25 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 9:31 am.
Commissioner Davis made a motion to require two individuals to pay a total of $100 for broken equipment in the county’s wellness center. The restitution amount must be paid back within two weeks in order for the individuals to continue their access to the facility. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Mattamiscontis Pavement Reclaim Project Bid Opening-
• Commissioner Baldacci opened ten bids in regards to the Mattamiscontis reclaim paving project in the County’s Unorganized Territory of Mattamiscontis TWP. Each bid contained two prices quotes as directed in the RFP. The first quote was for the project to reclaim 8,000 feet of pavement and the second would be for 10,790 feet. The Commissioners and our county’s UT Administration would then choose which option based on the respective bid price versus the department’s budgeted funds for the repair. The following are the results of the costs/estimates as outlined in the bid’s RFP sorted by Total Project Cost for Option Two (10,790 feet):
Vendor Option One - 8,000' Option Two- 10,790'
B & B Paving, Inc. $ 128,711.95 $ 173,637.20
Lane Construction $ 131,182.00 $ 176,922.50
Wellman Paving $ 141,984.00 $ 188,853.00
Hopkins Landscaping $ 160,000.00 $ 204,000.00
Queen City Paving $ 158,500.00 $ 212,850.00
Street's Landscape & Paving$ 163,587.00 $ 220,627.00
Vaughn Thibodeau II, Inc. $ 179,574.00 $ 242,324.00
Pike Industries, Inc. $ 197,556.00 $ 255,886.00
Sunkhaze Project Solutions $ 229,815.38 $ 297,335.78
Steelstone Industries $ 270,552.52 $ 365,522.92
UT Department Head Barbara Veilleux stated that based on the quotes for option two and the amount of funds the UT has budgeted for the project, she would feel comfortable paving the entire 10,790’. She recommended that the Commissioners award the bid to the low option two bidder B & B Paving, Inc. Commissioner Davis agreed and motioned to award the pavement reclaim project to B & B Paving, Inc. for the second option of $ 173,637.20 (10,790 feet). Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Barbara presented pictures of the completed job of the Prentiss salt shed roof that the county had replaced this summer by Larry Ham Construction. Barbara and the Commissioners were very happy with the job done.
• Barbara presented a liquor license renewal for New England Whitewater Center (Riverdriver’s Restaurant) in T1 R8 WELS. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the license renewal. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. Renewal license signed.
• Barbara informed the Commissioners that the Town of Millinocket has agreed to transport one load a month of the county’s waste to the PERC plant beginning in April of 2018. The waste is derived from the county’s UT’s that are located in the Millinocket region. They are asking for an annual 3% increase in the county’s contract which amounts to just over $600 per year. Barbara felt this was reasonable since there has not been a contract increase since July 1st of 2015. Piscataquis County, who currently participates in our solid waste contract with Millinocket, will be contracting with Millinocket directly beginning in 2018 and delivering their waste to the Fiberight facility.
• Barbara has received an email from Gary Stacey of PERC giving the county written permission to continue with our waste contracts with the towns of Burlington & Sherman. The county currently delivers waste from Burlington and Sherman (generated in Grand Falls & Herseytown) to Fiberight. Barbara asked if the Commissioners wish to have a formal letter stating this. The Commissioners felt the email was sufficient.
• Barbara also noted that if the county does not exercise our Put Option with PERC, and renews our contract with them, we would be allowed to keep our partnership interest. However the county would be required to sign a new partnership agreement. Barbara has asked if there are any costs associated with signing a new partnership agreement and a draft copy of the agreement. She is waiting for a reply.
• Barbara presented that the bottomless culvert project at Drew Brook in Greenfield TWP is out for bid. UT Deputy Director George Buswell commented that there is a mandatory pre bid meeting August 17th for any vendors interested and the bid opening will be August 29th. George stated that he could invite local public works individuals who would like to view the project once ground work commences. The Commissioners felt that would be a good idea.
• The Greenfield Paving project starts tomorrow and they expect it to be completed by the end of the week. George added that he has received a couple complaints regarding the roughness of the culvert cuts along the road. George has spent time leveling off some of the bad areas and informed the individuals that the paving project would be completed in the near future.
• The RFP for the UT’s TIF Financial Service has gone out to bid. Barbara has mailed copies to EMDC, Maine Stream Finance, Bangor Savings Bank, and Machias Savings Bank. There is a pre-bid meeting scheduled for August 21st at 10:00 am. Barbara stated that Greg Fuller of Machias Savings Bank has agreed to sit on the UT TIF committee.
• Commissioner Davis stated that he has heard concerns over the lack of a center line on the Grand Lake Road north of Mt. Chase. Barbara stated the she would call the DOT and inform them of the concerns
Registry of Deeds Update-
• Susan Bulay, Register of Deeds, informed the Commissioners that the department has had trouble finding replacement parts for one of their Map Scanners/Printers. She stated that this scanner/printer was purchased in 2004. She believes replacement parts are no longer manufactured for that piece of equipment. Susan explained that all scanners have map size limits and currently the department is having difficulty scanning maps that are beyond the size of the scanner’s limit without cutting or modifying the original map. Susan stated that she would like to go to bid for a new scanner capable of handling the large/long maps so that the department can retain a digital copy of all the old oversized maps. Commissioner Baldacci noted it would be wise to also include a quote option for a color scanner/printer in the bid since the one Susan would like to replace is simply black/white. Susan said she would plan to purchase the printer out of the department’s surcharge funds. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve Susan going out to bid for a new scanner/printer and purchasing it out of the department’s surcharge account. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• Susan then explained that the department receives a fair number of complaints for the user friendliness and inability to print/view documents off of the Deed’s website. The vendor that the department currently uses is BrownTech and they have two different website interfaces. The one we currently use, and another specifically designed for Microsoft Based computer systems. Susan explained that in order to switch website interfaces the county would have to extend the length of the contract out three years, rebuy licensing for the new product, and pay for a new windows based web server. The current system requires no additional license purchase and the only costs associated with the current system is Deeds pays to secure the site. Commissioner Baldacci asked what the frequency was of the users that the department usually field complaints from. Susan believed the majority of users who complain are only occasional visitors. Susan then stated that the new website would be significantly more per month due to the licensing costs. Commissioner Baldacci and Davis feel that the vast increase in price would not justify the switch just to satisfy the occasional user unless BrownTech came down significantly in their pricing. Susan noted she would look into if BrownTech would be willing to consider a better price.
• Administrator Bill Collins stated that the county has finally received the jail funding from the State. Our county’s portion figured to be just over $2.04 million. Commissioner Baldacci commented that while he is very thankful for the funding, he is disappointed that the State chose not to award the supplemental amount based on a need basis. He explained that the DOC prorated the entire funding figure of ($15.2 million) based on each county jail’s average daily population versus giving out the supplemental portion on a needs basis. Bill explained that our jail’s budget now reflects a $375,000 deficit, however we have $400,000 budgeted for boarding. Bill stated that if the jail could manage the rest of the year without paying for boarding, we would not end our jail’s fiscal year at a loss. Bill also was pleased to announce that we have received tax property tax payments from three localities totaling roughly $350,000.
• Commissioner Baldacci stated that the MCCA is still working on forming a jail committee to help properly represent and communicate the counties’ jail funding needs to legislation. The committee will be made up of jail administrators, Sheriffs, Commissioners, and other administrative positions throughout the State.
• Bill suggested that the Commissioners keep in mind whom they would like to serve on our county’s jail expansion committee. Bill thought that seven members would be a good and it would give the Commissioners a chance to each choose at least two members. The Commissioners, Bill, and Treasurer Dan Tremble then discussed what immediate actions should be taken towards the county’s new property purchase at 127 Hammond Street to sustain the building for winter and prepare the property for any future remodels. The Commissioner noted that they should decide on what agencies or parts of agencies will be moved/remodeled before the county reaches out to outside assistance for the building/expansion process.
• Bill is still waiting to hear back from County Attorney Ed Bearor on whether a recent tax bill from the City of Bangor for the 127 Hammond Street property was paid or if they county got credit for it when the county closed on the building in April.
• Former County Commissioner and State Representative Richard Blanchard stopped in to see the Commissioners and receive an update on the county. The Commissioners were grateful that Dick came in. They discussed the latest happenings of what has been going on in recent Commissioners’ Meetings including purchasing 127 Hammond Street.
• The agenda was amended to add EMA Department Head Michelle Tanguay.
• Michelle stated that County EMA, MEMA, and Brewer PD is putting on a school/workplace violence seminar on August 28th and 29th at Jeff’s Catering. Michelle noted that there are over 75 people signed up. There will be media coverage of the event.
• Michelle will be attending a life threatening injury informational session with PRCC Dispatch Supervisor Betty Stone titled “Until Help Arrives”. The goal of the program is to educate citizens how to aid/treat victims with substantial injuries until emergency personnel arrive on scene. Michelle would like to eventually incorporate the information into public training sessions that the department puts on. Michelle added that she hopes sessions like theses will open up more opportunities for her to connect with other outside agencies in order to hold more training and exercise sessions in the field.
• Michelle has recently teamed up with members of the county’s PRCC department to travel to local emergency agencies and provide training for the State of Maine’s CONOP broadcasting frequency/program and other new broadcasting systems. Michelle explained that if there is a large disaster/emergency involving multiple emergency departments, an agency can request to use the State’s CONOP frequency through MEMA so that there are no interruptions in communications during the event. Based on a recent survey sent out to local town agencies, EMA gathered that many smaller/part-time departments know very little about some of these broadcasting services.
• The EMA department recently had a monitoring site visit from MEMA. The purpose of the meeting was to review the division’s financials and book keeping policies. Michelle noted that the department received no written violations and that MEMA had only two minor questions that needed further clarification.
• Bill asked what Michelle thoughts were in regards to being able to fund the potential new pager system that the PRCC Board of Directors would like the county to install as discussed earlier in the meeting. Michelle replied Homeland Security grant funding will continue to be cut. She wouldn’t expect much from those grant funds. Commissioner Davis stated that local fire departments could apply for AFG grants and pool money to possibly help with this significant broadcasting upgrade. Michelle added that many Fire Chiefs are working together to decide if departments should upgrade to digital radios. Where will that funding come from. Michelle has communicated her department has limited monies to help with those purchases. She is fearful that Homeland Security funding will be phased out entirely. Commissioner Davis added that local towns may have to start pitching in to pay for some of these emergency service upgrades. Commissioner Baldacci stated that sadly when funding is cut from the federal level, the effects trickle down to small towns and consequently costs are then passed onto property taxpayers/owners.
• Michelle is working with Maine Rural Water to take part in a table top exercise on the topic of what to do if a locality/city’s water supply becomes tainted. The event will take place in Orono.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Bill noted that the county’s Post Office Building Roof Project will begin within the next couple months.
• Bill reported that at last week’s MCCA meeting, Piscataquis County Commissioner James Annis thanked the county’s IT department for their help and in repairing Piscataquis’ IT system.
• Bill presented a report received from the county’s health insurance provider which showed that the county’s claims paid verse premiums received were at a 71% claims to premium ratio. Bill and the Commissioners were encouraged by the low percentage.
The county’s health insurance agent Dick Hansen did comment that there are still five large claims that have yet to be paid.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 210,191.12
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 287,027.75
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: None
• Payroll change notice signed for: Resignation - Jeffrey Hall Jr., Miscellaneous – Stephen Boyd and Andrew Whitehouse.
• Compensation notice signed for: None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 am with no further business on the agenda.
Penobscot County Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner