For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes September 19, 2017 #2155
9:00 AM Commissioners Tom Davis and Laura Sanborn 55°
Commissioner Peter Baldacci arrived at 10:49am.
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the September 5th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton presented two forfeitures the department has received of Rogerson and Tibbets cases for a combined total of $1,080. Commissioner Davis made a motion to accept the forfeitures. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• Sheriff Morton noted that the population in the jail is currently 207 inmates with 42 boarded out to other jails, 26 of those at Cumberland County. Sheriff noted that there are 81 in Pre-Trial Services.
• Securus Technology has presented to the Sheriff a Video Visitation system that enables inmates to pay for video conversations in addition to a simple phone call. Sheriff Morton explained that he and the jail administration staff feel very comfortable that based on the cost of the Video Program and what the jail would charge per “call” the department could recoup the cost of the system in 40 months. Sheriff Morton believed not only would this provide a better communication vehicle for inmates, it would also help cut down on contraband being brought into the jail from in-person visits. This program would also create opportunities for inmates to see family or friends that don’t live nearby. Captain Rick Clukey commented that the jail has a renewal option in their current contract with Securus but that he would have to review the details of contract terms. Sheriff Morton explained the cost of the system would include maintenance, training, and setting up the various call stations throughout the jail. He noted that the system records all conversations and that “calls” would have to be supervised in order to ensure the conversations are appropriate. The system provides an option for the calls to not be recorded in the event an inmate communicates with legal counsel. Sheriff Morton believed that there are other vendors that provide this service but it would be much easier to have the jail’s phone contract and video system all provided by the same vendor. Commissioner Davis and Sanborn noted that based on the price of the service the system would need to go out to bid. However they would like to verify with the county’s legal counsel if the county can add this service on to its existing phone contract or not.
• Sheriff Morton noted that the County’s mental health contract with CHCS has been going extremely well. Troy explained that the organization’s psychiatrist has been working above and beyond what was outlined in the original bid specs and has been very grateful for the vendor’s efforts during their first couple months at the jail. Troy explained that when the county awarded the bid to CHCS there was a clause in the RFP for any vendor to give a quote for supplemental/additional service time. Sheriff stated that there are new regulations that a PA or DR can no longer write out mental health prescriptions to inmates. Previously PA’s or DR’s were able to take Psychiatrist suggestions and prescribe the respective prescription. The new regulation now limits mental health prescriptions to only be subscribed by Psychiatrists. Thus it has been a challenge for CHCS to service all of our inmates with mental health prescription needs. The added clause would add another 3 hours/week of onsite Psychiatric service for $12,500/year. Sheriff Morton explained he believes this to be very fair since the vendor is servicing a population that has been far greater than what was bid on. He also noted that CHCS bid came under the department budgeted amount for mental health services by roughly $9,000. Thus adding the additional service only adds an approx. $3,500 increase to the department’s budgeted amount. Commissioner Davis motioned to pick up the additional service contract for CHCS for $12,500 to provide additional on-site Psychiatric treatment for our jail facility. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• As discussed in previous Commissioners’ meetings, the jail’s health provider CHP has had trouble staffing the positions outlined in the jail’s health contract. CHP has asked if the Sheriff and Commissioners would consider allowing them to extend out to January 31st to sort out the personnel issues before the county makes a decision on potentially changing vendors. They have also asked if they can change the model of the types of positions the contract would allow for them hire. They would like to replace CNA-Ms with LPNs, and RNs for LPNs. They feel this would enable them to pull from a broader employee base and be much easier to staff. Troy noted that these changes could cost roughly $20/hour more per positon. Sheriff Morton expressed that based on the professionalism of the organization he feels the county should extend the vendor’s contract to Jan 31st 2018 and let them sort out these staffing problems (the current contract expires September 30, 2017). Commissioner Davis made a motion to support extending the contract to January 31st, 2018, but would like to have CHP provide a cap for the cost of the model changes of the “new” staffing positions. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. Sheriff Morton stated he will contact CHP and inform them we would like to see a breakdown and cap of the costs of altering the staffing model.
County Main Building 3rd Floor Office Renovation Bid Opening-
• Commissioner Sanborn opened five bids in regards to the County Main Building 3rd Floor Office Renovation Project. The following are the results of the costs/estimates as outlined in the bid’s RFP sorted by Total Project Cost:
Contractor Total Project Cost
Aaron Newcomb $ 43,250.00
Nichols Construction $ 46,593.00
Guy Bouchard $ 55,550.00
SunkHaze Project Solutions $ 61,128.41
Brown Construction $ 84,600.00
Department Head Cap Ayer and Building Mechanic Terry Sullivan noted that all five vendors visited the project on-site and are bonded as specified in the bid. Commissioner Davis motioned to take the bids under advisement. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Probate Budget Presentation-
• Register of Probate, Renee Stupak, presented her department’s budget for the 2018 calendar year. She began by stating that her proposed revenue next year is budgeted to be $180,000 (a $20,000 increase from the 2017 budgeted amount). The projected revenue for 2017 is $233,000.
• Due to some planned retirements, Renee commented that the department’s payroll will be lower due to hiring lower tenured employees.
• Administrator Bill Collins noted that Renee’s Guardian Ad Litem line has increased from $50,000 to $65,000. Renee noted that the number of Guardian hearings has increased significantly due to the drug crisis the area has been experiencing. Finance Director Judy Alexander noted that based on this year’s numbers, she feels $65,000 may even be low.
• Renee’s budgeted travel expenditures and registration/training line items have dropped considerably due to the fact that the department does not use it often.
• Renee and Judy have increased the postage expense line from $4,000 (2017) to $4,500 (2018) since the department has historically gone over their budgeted amount.
• Renee asked Bill how the county handles the purchase of new computers. Bill answered that he believed computer purchases come out of the IT department budget but that Renee should follow up with IT Department Head Cliff Warren to ensure that is the case.
• Renee has adjusted her Statute & Reference budget to be more in line with the department’s actual expenditures ($6,300 budgeted compared with $6,327.91 - 2016 actual).
• Bill and the Commissioners commended Renee that her 2018 budget reflects a 1.8% increase ($ 8,562) in comparison to 2017. That coupled with the fact that Renee plans to bring in roughly $20,000 means that her budget will reflect a decrease in the overall tax impact for the county budget. Renee thanked Judy for her help and guidance with the budget process.
• Commissioner Davis motioned to approve the Probate Department Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• Treasurer Dan Tremble asked if Judy had budgeted for Health Insurance Premium increases. Judy answered that the budget reflects the actual premium costs for 2018. Dan and Bill replied that the county should relook at the budgeted.
• Renee explained that she will need to advertise for potentially two positions in her department. Bill suggested that for any position that she knows for sure are going to be open, we should advertise internally immediately so that it won’t delay the transition if the position needs to be advertised externally.
Registry of Deeds Budget Presentation-
• Register of Deeds, Susan Bulay, then presented her department’s budget for the 2018 calendar year. She commented that her budget is relatively unchanged but one big area of focus would be her computer services line. She had bumped up that amount to $50,000 from $40,000 (2017 Budget). Susan explained that this increase was due to her wish to upgrade her department’s website. She has found out that her current computer service contract does not expire for another two years. The vendor would either require a $20,000 buyout or a $7,000 annual charge to host the new website interface. The Commissioners and Susan expressed that while they would like to upgrade the website it is too costly at this time to change. Thus she would now be ok with lowering that line back down to $40,000 if the Commissioners see fit. Bill asked if Susan would like to consider $45,000 and put some money aside for the future upgrade at hopefully a lower cost. The Commissioners agreed that the line should be re-examined to decide how to best plan for the future upgrade of the service.
• Bill commended Susan’s budget since her overall expense increase is $10,247. If they eliminate or reduce the computer service line that number would obviously be even lower. Commissioner Davis suggested putting the Computer service line at $45,000. Susan noted that her revenues have been eclipsing One Million Dollars the past few years, so she and Judy have decided to leave the budgeted amount at $990,000. Commissioner Davis then made a motion to approve the Deed’s Department Budget as amended. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Treasurer’s Department 7 Budget Presentation-
• Treasurer Dan Tremble and Finance Director Judy Alexander presented the Treasurer’s/Finance department’s budget for the 2018 calendar year. Judy began by explaining that the significant budgeted increase in the department’s payroll amount is due to a new positon (Assistant Finance Director) that will be entirely funded through the Treasurer’s Department. Judy and Dan noted that all other expense items either went down compared to the 2017 Budget or remained the same.
• Commissioner Davis mad a motion to approve the Treasurer/Finance Department Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Commissioners’ Department 6 Budget Presentation-
• Administrator Bill Collins presented the Commissioners department’s budget for the 2018 calendar year. Bill stated that the 2018 budget overall experienced a 3.8% decrease in expenditures compared to the 2017 budget. Bill noted the decrease was in large part to the before mentioned transfer of the Assistant Finance Director entirely into the Finance Department’s Budget. Bill added that Judy forecasted the department’s revenues to be slightly more in 2018 than 2017 ($78,000 vs $75,000).
• Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the Commissioners’ Budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
• Administrator Bill Collins informed the Commissioners that there is a Tax Abatement hearing scheduled for next Tuesday with the Town of Carmel and one of their residents. Bill has spoken to the Carmel Town Manager, Kevin Howell and Kevin stated that the resident and town accessor have still not met. Bill has reached out to the resident and suggested that she contact the Town Manager once more and see if the dispute can be resolved before the abatement hearing. Commissioner Davis noted that if the abatement hearing takes place, he would like to view the property in person. Bill informed him that we do have pictures of the property from a recent appraisal the owner had done.
• Bill informed the Commissioners that the county’s health insurance representative Dick Hansen is still working on finalizing next years’ contract terms and details.
• Jack Parlon of the FOP labor union had to cancel a meeting with Bill due to a health issue.
• Mr. Flaherty wishes to present the “Spirit of America Awards” to an individual to be recognized here in the County. Mr. Flaherty would like the Commissioners to award the individual this honor. The Commissioners responded that they would like to review the topic again when Commissioner Baldacci is present at next week’s meeting.
• An employee has reached out to Bill to ask if the Commissioners would designate a parking spot alongside the Sheriff’s Office for individuals that have health issues. The Commissioners suggested that Bill contact the Sheriff to see if he has any opinions on the matter.
• Citizen Dick Hansen then informed the Commissioners that individuals representing the Matagamon Grand Lake Project would like to present to the Commissioners details of the project. Dick explained their hopes would be that the county will consider their project for TIF Grant Funds. Commissioner Davis noted that would be fine, however he is concerned of the process of how applicants are being processed with the TIF Committee. Discussion ensued of how the process should be set up and how the TIF’s financial service provider and TIF Committee handle and review applications. Commissioner Sanborn suggested that we contact UT Department Head Barbara Veilleux and verify the application process for the TIF Loans and Grants.
• Bill has received notice from the Town of Palmyra that a town line marker has been partially destroyed and moved. They would like to put the marker back into its original place. They are simply notifying all the respective towns, and counties that they are fixing the post.
• Bill noted that the county’s roof replacement project on the Franklin Street Building is going very well.
• A county walkway was recently damaged when the County’s trash vendor accidently struck it. The vendor has said they will pay for the repair.
• Citizen Dick Hansen commented that the vendor that was the lowest bidder in today’s 3rd floor renovation project, Aaron Newcomb, did an excellent job for a project done for the Town of Holden.
Executive Session – Administrator Bill Collins motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 10:35 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0. Commissioners Davis and Sanborn, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Finance Director Judy Alexander, PRCC Director Chad LaBree, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 11:08 am with no votes taken. Commissioner Baldacci arrived to the session at 10:49am and PRCC Director Chad LaBree left at 10:51am. Executive Session ended at 10:55 with no votes taken.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Bill recently gave MCCA Director Charlie Pray a tour of the jail facility. Bill commented that it was a good opportunity for Charlie to see some of the challenges we face as the count was 193. There were 8 inmates (a mix of males and females) in the direct supervision cell of the intake/holding area.
• Bill has received no new news on the funding crisis for the Northeastern Workforce Development Board. Treasurer Dan Tremble noted that Eastern Maine Development Board is having an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the issue.
• Bill then reviewed topics previously discussed in the meeting to bring Commissioner Baldacci up to speed.
• Finance Director Judy Alexander presented that the county’s Auditors will be on site this week to audit the UT and Jail financials. Judy then presented two letters for signature. One stated that the county has reviewed our financial statements and the other was a standard Representation Letter in regards to the county’s audit. Both signed. Judy will forward the letters onto the auditors after she concludes the review.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 234,214.12
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 60,510.80
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 27,305.26
• Payroll change notice signed for: Donna Fish, Robin Gerry, Jessica Marsh, Michael Morin, and Adam Smith.
• Compensation notice signed for: Tyler Thompson – 1.5 Hours.
Public Comment Continued-
• Citizen Dick Hansen asked if the county had any budgeted funds to assist the Town of Holden with a wet lands project. Commissioner Davis responded that they would keep the request in mind.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 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