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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes September 5th, 2017 #2153
9:00 AM Commissioners Tom Davis, Laura Sanborn & Peter Baldacci
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the August 29th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0 as Commissioner Baldacci abstained as he was away last week.
Unorganized Territory Update-
• UT Director Barbara Veilleux reported that the new loads of Salt were delivered from Morton to Prentis replacing the wet load. Jerome reported it was acceptable. It is not the driest salt we have ever seen.
• We are doing the large reclaim paving project in Mattamiscontis. We have one full time resident who lives on the end of the road who is suffering from pneumonia. He has asked if we would consider paving the last three hundred feet of road to cut down on the dust. The additional cost is estimated to be about $ 10 K. After discussion, Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• The Barrier approved to be delivered by McMillian have been installed. Bean Court is blocked off to the parking lot. Commissioner Davis commented it looks good.
• The Convention is this week and rooms are reserved from Thursday through Sunday.
• We have been contacted by a resident from Carmel on a Tax Abatement request. The Town Manager Kevin Howell has spoken to Tyler and said he has discovered two tax cards. He was not aware of the abatement to the Town. He is hoping to resolve before the Commissioners schedule a hearing.
• The Risk Pool has continued to request additional information in order to insure 127 Hammond Street. We believe we have provided all the information requested.
• The Sheriff researched the difference in pricing between our vehicles and the City of Bangor. Our vehicles come with the wiring harness where Bangor’s do not. The Sheriff noted too that we do not participate in the State bid and that our Bids are the best available.
• Bill provided a Handout to the Commissioners which reflect what information that Charlie Pray believes All Counties will be providing to the Legislature this fall. The data in hand to date seems to indicate that not all County information is comparable. Charlie is working to make sure all Counties are on a level playing field going forward.
• Christine Higgins of the DA’s office handed Bill forfeiture paperwork prior to the start of today’s meeting. Bill’s concern is this forfeiture competing against the Sheriff’s Office? Paperwork presented to the Commissioners. The Sheriff commented that just like Maine Drug the DA’s office are able to receive up to 15% for their work performed on these drug cases. Kristine Higgins commented that DA Chris Almy would like to have the money for miscellaneous items like jackets etc. for his staff. Commissioner Baldacci noted that there are limitations on the use of these funds. Peter believe that with the Finance Director there could be recommendations on how these funds could be used. Kristine agrees. The Sheriff noted that forfeiture funds have always been use for the response team etc. so that it does not come out of the Budget. Kristine noted attendance at crime scenes that the DA’s who respond do not have a means of identification. Commissioner Baldacci reviewed statute which reflects that forfeitures come to the County and the Commissioners would have to approve of its disposition. Kristine will work with Finance Director Judy Alexander on setting up an account for the DA’s office. Commissioner Baldacci noted there are three requests for approval on cases State of Maine vs. Wayne Evans, Tyler Harriman and Brian Bretton that 15% of these funds captured go the County. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve acceptance of these funds. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
• District Attorney Chris Almy stopped in early this morning requesting additional office space for his Department.
• The Commissioners noted they are still working on their names for the Special Committee for 127 Hammond Street Property. The Commissioners are working on it. Commissioner Davis noted he has been thinking about this building and that a Gas Heater should be put in. Commissioner Baldacci believes we should take another look at the Building before a decision is made on what is demolished. Commissioner Sanborn suggested we get some engineering advice. After discussion, Commissioner Baldacci suggested we hire WBRC to look at the building and what can/can’t be saved. Commissioner Davis suggested we invite them to come next week.
• Sheriff Morton reported that we have 225 in house, 40 boarded two in hospital and 78 in Pre-trial. Commissioner Baldacci noted the holiday effects this. Sheriff said he believes we need to move a number out. Commissioner Davis asked if Cumberland gave us a better rate. Troy responded $ 65. The Commissioners noted the Sheriff is doing all he can to reduce population.
• We have learned through the press that the City of Bangor is discussing moving their PSAP over to Penobscot County.
• Sheriff Morton, PRCC Director Chad LaBree and UT Deputy Director George Buswell came before the Commissioners to continue the discussion of towing services. The Sheriff shared he has copies of Bangor’s and Brewer’s tow contracts. What the Sheriff likes is the pricing is spelled out for the services requested. The Sheriff also noted the concerns for the Dispatchers as they are the ones who are handling the calls. There are sixteen tow Counties. The Sheriff said one item we need but don’t have is a tow lot. This could be a money maker. Commissioner Davis said it is not a money maker. Discussion continued about whether a tow lot made sense. Commissioner Baldacci suggested making it part of the bid. As discussion continued Commissioner Davis suggested the Sheriff contact all the towing companies and get a copy of their pricing. The sheriff will send his two contracts to Mr. Collins and his Department will develop what he needs from a wrecker company and come back to the Commissioners.
• Registrar Renee Stupak came before the Commissioners to get their permission that when Deb retires she can hire someone at least a month prior to her leaving. She said she would like to advertise by the end of the month. Okayed.
Public Comment—Reporter Tim Tremble of Channel 7 Fox News in Bangor came in to discuss 127 Hammond Street with the Commissioners. He asked Commissioner Baldacci what is the status of the YMCA and what is the future of that building. Commissioner Baldacci said we are looking for the assistance of an architectural firm to review the condition to determine what is useable and what isn’t. We are trying to address the overcrowding in the Jail which is the major issue. We are hopeful that building will accomplish this. Tim commented that there has been some talk about this building being used for a transitional phase drug treatment center. Commissioner Baldacci responded we are looking at it as a women’s correctional facility with programming to also address their release from jail with whatever treatment programs are available. We want it to address the women’s population which is growing faster than the men’s population in our jail. We would have them possibly move out of the Jail into this facility. It will require renovation and some new construction. We also want to address the overcrowded booking area so we need to look at the current facility and the Y. Mr. Tremble said you commented the women’s population is growing. What does it compare to over the past few years? Commissioner Baldacci noted 35 to 40 inmates today and several years ago it was less than ten to fifteen. It has doubled in recent memory related to the drug issues and not violent offenses. We think it will better serve that population. Moving the women out opens up space in the new jail. Getting some assistance from an architectural firm will help and setting up and we are starting with some consulting and a professional evaluation of the building. We need to consider heating and what to be torn out. We also want to start the planning process. The earliest we could proceed with a Bond is June of 2018. We are boarding inmates at significant cost.
Executive Session - Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (F) at 10:14 am. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Commissioners Davis, Sanborn, Baldacci, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson and PRCC Director were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:42 am with no votes taken.
Sheriff’s Dept. Update-
• Sheriff Morton reported that the Medical contract expires at the end of this month. The Sheriff is not totally pleased with the contractor. We still do not have the HSA we are paying to have. They are flying a women in from Colorado. She is here sixty percent of the time. The Sheriff would like to extend the contract for three months. During this process they fixed this and or go out to bid. They do not want to lose the contract. This puts a lot of stress on my staff. Our HSA has gone down to Kennebec County. One good thing is they have a permanent Dr. who is serving our Jail and two others. I would like to prepare something and if it does not work out we go out to bid in November. Commissioner Davis made a motion to extend the contract for three months expiring on December 31. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
• Our phone contract has expired. This was a partnership with six other Counties with Securus. The money that was made off it from inmate’s use of the phone. They are offering a similar plan with video visitation which is a great idea. The challenge is the cost is about $ 360 K. They would fund it the same way we did with the phone contract by what would come in would now pay for it. I would probably be against it but we have about $ 200 k in the account. I am doing an analysis but believe with what we would be paying out we would be Okay. We will bring it forward next week.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 207,909.59
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 361,936.02
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 113,546.82
• Payroll change notice signed for: David Clukey - Resignation
• Compensation notice signed for: Barbara Veilleux – 3 Hours.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:18 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