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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes September 26, 2017 #2156
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 75°
Commissioner Tom Davis arrived at 9:04 am.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton noted that the population in the jail is currently housing 194 inmates (170 males, 24 females) with 46 boarded out to other jails; 26 of those at Cumberland County. Sheriff noted that there are 81 in Pre-Trial Services and there are no federal inmates in the jail.
• In last week’s meeting Sheriff Morton described the hardship the county’s medical provider CHP has had in filling nursing positions. Troy explained that the department of corrections has a statute in it that prevents a regularly licensed CNA to distribute meds in jails. Jails need a CNA-M, LPN, or higher certified medically licensed individual to carry out that task. CHP has said CNA-M and LPN nurses are very hard to hire and they would like the Sheriff to approve hiring RN’s to fill those open positions. Sheriff Morton added that the cost difference of hiring an RN compared to that of a LPN or CNA-M could be substantial. Sheriff Morton asked if it would be ok if CHP look into hiring LPNs or CNA-M’s but give them the opportunity to hire RN’s if approved by the Sheriff first. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to allow the employee model change. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. While the Commissioners extended CHP’s contract to January 31st 2018 in last week’s meeting, the Commissioners encouraged Troy to prepare a RFP for the service if the county decided to put the service out to bid.
• Last week the Commissioners recommended that the Sheriff go out to bid for a Video Telephone Service that would allow inmates to have “video chats” with friends, family, legal counsel, etc. Sheriff agreed that the service should go out to bid but he would recommend not proceeding until the phone contract expires next spring. Commissioner Baldacci encouraged Troy to be working on the bid early next year and the service can be started when the current phone contract ends.
• The Sheriff explained that recent comments from Governor LePage in regards to some Maine Sheriffs not holding illegal immigrants in jail, do not apply to him.
• Rob Frank, of WBRC, has recently met with Jail Administrators and toured the facility to gain more information on the potential jail expansion/remodel. The county has hired WBRC to give engineering counsel on the possible expansion project. Rob would like to meet with Bill and Jail Administrators this week to further discuss the venture.
• A county Detective’s cruiser was recently rear-ended in traffic. Our detective was not at fault in the accident and no individuals were injured. Troy is about ready to rotate older cruisers and transports vans out of service for new one and put the used ones out to bid
• The Employee Support Division for the Guard and Reserves presented our Sheriff’s Department with an Award and nominated the department for the National Freedom Award. The award was given to the Sheriff’s Department for their ability to be flexible with schedules for employees that are in the Guard/Reserves.
• Sheriff Morton noted that the county assisted the State Police in a recent fatal crash on I-95.
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Department Head Barbara Veilleux and Deputy Director George Buswell presented that there has been a significant amount of signage, cones, and barricades thefts in and around Greenfield. Barbara and George have taken some measures to prevent and catch the individuals stealing the signs, but have no concrete evidence yet. Sheriff Morton noted that he would reach out to our county’s deputies and other agencies to make them aware of the issue.
• The Greenfield Bottomless culvert project on the Myra Road has been completed. George was very pleased of how the project turned out. George and the Nature Conservancy would like to show off the new project, but due to the current very dry season, they would like to wait to when water levels return to normal. Discussion ensued of what aspects of the project may be changed for future culverts. The Commissioners commended George and Barbara for all the work they put into the venture.
• Barbara and George noted that the Mattamiscontis pavement reclaim project plans to commence this week.
• Barbara and George explained that the contractor whom they hired to perform roadside mowing has had a couple of equipment break downs and dealt with health problems earlier this summer. The contractor is working on completing the remaining towns and has done a good job of the areas he has completed.
• Invitations to participate in a study of the feasibility of creating a solid waste hauling district have been sent out to twenty towns that lie within a twenty mile radius of Bangor. Ten towns are interested in discussing the idea. George will analyze the survey data. He will work with Barbara on putting together an agenda for a first meeting.
• Barbara presented the annual municipal State grant for the Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club to be signed. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the agreement. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Barbara then presented the following 2018-2019 Association Budget Requests for the Commissioners.
Argyle Cemetery Association Budget. Barbara explained that there is no increase in the 18-19 budget ($5,200 total) compared to the 17-18 budget. Barbara would recommend that the Commissioners would flat fund the association at $5,200. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Argyle Cemetery Association 2018-2019 Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Barbara presented the Kingman Cemetery Association 2018-2019 Budget. She explained there is no increase in the 18-19 budget ($5,000 total) compared to the 17-18. Barbara would recommend that the Commissioners flat fund the association at $5,000. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Kingman Cemetery Association 2018-2019 Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Barbara stated that the Prentiss Cemetery Association has requested a $300 increase in their 2018-2019 budget. The Association would like to replace a portion of their cemetery’s fencing. Barbara would recommend that the Commissioners fund the modest increase of $300 for a total budget of $8,655. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Prentiss Cemetery Association 2018-2019 Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Barbara presented the 2018-2019 Kingman Fire Department Budget which shows a slight $265 increase ($23,625 Total) from their budget from last year. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Kingman Fire Department’s 2018-2019 Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
The Town of Orono has asked for the County to flat fund their yearly request for Haz Mat for $6,000. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Orono Haz Mat Team funding. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
The Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club has asked for a $500 increase ($2,000 Annual Total) of club funding for the next five years. Commissioner Davis asked if we can take any of those funds out of the UT’s TIF fund. Barbara noted we would have to get a request from the Club for that but she believes we could use the TIF Funds. Commissioner Davis motioned to grant the $2,000 annual funding for the next five years and that Barbara would look into the potential of using TIF Funds as a future funding source. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• George has contacted the Town of Palmyra on a notice received that the town line marker has been partially destroyed. The marker is on an old discontinued road. The Town was notifying the county since the marker lies on the Penobscot and Somerset County line. George doesn’t believe visiting the site is necessary. The Commissioners agreed.
Sheriff’s Department 12 Budget Presentation-
• Before the budget presentation Sheriff Troy Morton stated that the Department will be holding “Kickoff with a Cop” in hand with WABI-TV 5 at Husson University this week.
• Sheriff Morton began by thanking Finance Director Judy Alexander for her work with helping form next year’s budget. Troy began by explaining that in prior year’s budgets, the department has been reimbursed for the county’s deputies that work with MDEA. This year since the deputies are entirely paid for with MDEA funds, Sheriff and Judy have decided to take all of the expenditures and revenues (reimbursements from MDEA) out of the budget since the county only serves as a pass thru account for those positions.
• Troy added that Judy had built in a Stipend line for the department. Commissioner Baldacci asked if the Holiday, Sick, and Vacation line items are now combined with the respective positions’ gross wages. Bill and Judy confirmed that is the case.
• Troy commented that one challenge he foresees is discussing how mandatory call-ins for the county’s detectives are handled. Other agencies pay a stipend for the week(s) the detective is on call. Currently our detectives do not get a stipend for the weeks that they are on call. Troy feels if the county had to add this to a future budget it would only be a nominal increase to the overall budget.
• Bill asked Judy if the Sheriff’s Department budget reflects the increase in health insurance that the Commissioners wished to budget. Judy explained, No, but she will amend the budget to reflect the increase.
• Commissioner Baldacci asked if the Maine PERS line increase ($101,100-2018 vs. $78,034-2017) was due to the change in retirement plans. Bill responded that it was. Commissioner Baldacci also inquired where the health benefit funds were budgeted for county employees that have retired. Judy responded that retirees have a separate department in the county’s budget.
• Commissioner Baldacci asked the reason for the $2,000 increase for Computer Services (2017 Budget - $0). Sheriff answered he believed that line was for Copier services but he would verify with Lieutenant Keith Hotaling.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted that the Travel Expenses line has jumped $1,400 ($6,550 Total). Sheriff Morton answered that while he attempts to find as many local training sessions as he can for the department’s employees, many of the Training events are away. Thus he needed to increase the travel line item.
• Sheriff Morton kept the Gas, Oil, and Grease line item the same compared to the previous budget year ($165,000). The Commissioners agreed.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted that there has been no changes to the Building/Equipment Repair & Maintenance and Office Services lines.
• Commissioner Baldacci asked the reason for the increase in Training Education ($8,500-2018 vs $7,500-2017). Troy responded that line is for tuition for training events. He has tried to mitigate those costs by hosting some of the training sessions, but he feels this request better reflects the upcoming tuition costs.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted that the Food/Groceries, Supplies, Uniforms/Clothing, Reading/Reference Materials, and K9 Supplies/Tools lines have all remained the same compared to 2017. Troy added that the department will likely exceed their budgeted expense for Uniforms this year since they recently purchased new uniforms. However he feels that next year the cost should level out over the two year span.
• Troy commented that even though the department has not purchased reading and reference materials yet in 2017, he would like to keep the funds budgeted for 2018. There are certain statute and periodicals that are released periodically that the department needs and his plan is to purchase some next year.
• Troy noted that even though the department does not currently have a K9 Dog and trained Deputy on staff, he would love to be able to send a deputy to training and eventually have a dog on staff. Thus he would like to keep those budged lines ($3,000 Total) for another year. The Commissioners agreed.
• The last expenditure category discussed was Capital – Equipment. Commissioner Baldacci stated that the department has budgeted increases in Communications, Motor Vehicles, and the Computer Equipment lines. Troy plans on purchasing seven vehicles and budgeted an additional $5,000 compared to 2017 in the event vehicle prices continue to rise. Troy explained that the computer equipment line is to adjust for the purchase of new computers that are cycled out of the deputy’s cruisers. This enables the department to replace the equipment in cycles rather than needing to buy all of them at once. Troy has been impressed with how long the computers have lasted in the patrol cars based on the conditions they endure (weather, roads, etc.).
• Commissioner Baldacci asked why the department has spent almost five times the budgeted funds for firearms as of year to date ($1,000-2017 Budgeted, $4,608 through 7/31/17). Troy responded that the department has not bought that many firearms. Judy noted she would review that expense line and investigate the difference compared to the budget.
• Troy presented the department’s budgeted revenue. As mentioned earlier the MDEA pass through reimbursements have been zeroed out of the 2018 budget. Commissioner Baldacci asked what type of revenue streams the Other Sheriff Revenue line consisted. Sheriff Morton and Judy responded they would report back, but they knew the department does not plan to receive as much from those sources.
• Bill concluded that the department’s expenses overall were less than a 1% increase. The Revenue (largely due to the withdrawal of the MDEA line) experienced a 7% decrease. The Commissioners commended Troy for keeping expenditures at a very small increase but would like to wait until those line item questions (composition of the Other Revenue line and reason for large Firearms expenditures) are answered before they approve. Commissioner Baldacci suggested that the Other Sheriff Revenue Line be changed to Miscellaneous Revenue.
• Judy returned and presented that the firearms expenditure line for the current year should be $ -0-. The “Other Sheriff Revenue” line is comprised of witness fees and security services income. Commissioner Baldacci suggested that we rename the line to read “Miscellaneous Services”. Commissioner Sanborn then motioned to approve the Sheriff’s Department Budget as presented with the line item changes recommended. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Civil Department 13 Budget Presentation-
• Sheriff Troy Morton presented the Civil Department 13 Budget. Troy explained that there are no changes to personnel projected for the 2018 year. He would however like the Commissioners to consider paying for the part time civil servers to attend training sessions. The department’s two full time servers attend training sessions throughout the year. The Sheriff would like to see part time servers come in twice a year so our full time staff can update and refresh them on the laws. The Commissioners felt where they are part-time employees the county shouldn’t pay for them to train where the county is serving as a job opportunity and a revenue stream for the individuals as independent contractors. Commissioner Baldacci said that the Commissioners could consider adding a third full time position and analyze whether the added revenue for the county would offset the additional expense. Troy noted that when a full time server goes on vacation the department pays a part timer an hourly wage to fill in. This prevents the county losing revenue generated from the papers processed during that time frame.
• Troy explained that the department has had trouble with certain law firms paying their service fees timely. Troy has been forced to refuse to deliver any notices for those entities until the firms have paid in full.
• As with the Sheriff Department’s Budget, Troy left the budgeted fuel amount ($8,000) the same for 2018. He noted that almost all of the expense lines (other than payroll) have remained unchanged for 2018, citing the Civil Budget is significantly easier to manage.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted that there is $12,000 escrowed for vehicle purchases. Troy stated the department cycles through vehicles in the same manner as the Sheriff Department (based on mileage and service years). Troy will review if the department will need a vehicle replacement for 2018 and will verify the balance of the escrow account.
• In respect to revenues, Judy and Troy forecasted a $10,000 increase for 2018. Commissioner Baldacci asked what differentiates the two revenue lines of Civil Services and Civil Surcharge. Judy and Troy noted they would review the lines and report back. Discussion then ensued regarding how revenues are different between Part-Time Employees serving papers and our full time staff. Sheriff Morton noted that he would get figures on the breakdown of who, how many, location, and the respective revenues of the papers handled by the department. Sheriff explained one great benefit of Part-Time Employees is they serve the vast territory outside of the greater Bangor Area. Troy commented that the service fee from State Papers are considerably lower than other types of service papers. Thus the department may be losing money on State Papers that are served by either full or part-time employees. He concluded that he will look into the matter and report back to verify the revenue/cost breakdown.
• Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Civil Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Administrator Bill Collins explained that a tax abatement hearing that was originally scheduled for today, has been postponed. Town of Carmel Manager Kevin Howell and the property owner have agreed to first meet with the town’s Assessor in the coming weeks and then report back to Bill.
• Bill has met with County Insurance Representative Dick Hansen and signed the county’s Cigna Health Insurance contract for next year.
• Bill has a meeting with Sheriff Morton next week to discuss the county’s towing contracts and the classification of the department’s “essential employees”.
• The in-house application period for the Commissioners & Treasurer Department’s “Administrative Assistant” position will be closing this week. Bill and Judy will be conducting interviews later this week for the opening.
• Maintenance Department Head Cap Ayer has reviewed contractor Aaron Newcomb’s references. All were positive. Newcomb was the low bidder of the County Building 3rd floor Renovation Project Bid Opening held at last week’s meeting. Bill explained that a county employee expressed concern from a project Aaron Newcomb’s completed for them personally. Commissioner Davis made a motion to grant the 3rd floor renovation project to Aaron Newcomb for $43,250. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• Bill stated that someone attempted to break into the Post Office last night and damaged some of the building’s doors. Our county’s Sheriff’s Office and PRCC Department are reviewing the security cameras. Bill was informed by the Bangor PD that the building has had problems with citizens being destructive during late night lobby hours.
• Rob Frank of WBRC will be tentatively meeting with Sheriff Morton this week to discuss ideas of the potential jail expansion.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 212,455.85
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 52,235.86
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: None
• Payroll change notice signed for: None
• Compensation notice signed for: Cap Ayer – 6 Hours and Tyler Thompson – 1.5 Hours.
• Citizen Dick Hansen spoke on behalf of members from the Matagamon Dam Association to ask the Commissioners if they would like to reschedule their presentation scheduled to take place at the October 3rd Commissioners’ Meeting. The association was unsure of the process of when to present to the Commissioners in hopes they would be considered for any grants funds from the county’s UT TIF. Discussion ensued of what the correct process is for TIF Grant versus TIF Loan inquiries. Bill noted he would follow up with UT Department Head Barbara Veilleux and get clarification. Bill would also direct the Association to Barbara if they had any TIF specific questions. The Commissioners still welcome the Association to present at the October 3rd meeting.
Executive Session – Administrator Bill Collins motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 10:55 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Northeastern Workforce Development Board Director Joanna Russell joined the session at 11:05. Executive Session ended at 11:34 am with no votes taken.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 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