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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes October 31st 2017 #2161
9:10 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn 43°
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Barbara Veilleux and George Buswell presented their solid waste discussions with the towns in regards to solid waste hauling. There was a very good turnout with Orono, Old Town, Bradley, Brewer and Carmel participating along with Commissioner Sanborn. The consensus was not to create a hauling district. It was decided for the towns to go back to their individual haulers and see if they could extend their contracts. If they can get a reasonable quote, the plan is to leave things the way they are.
• MRC has received the $1.3M from the bank that was holding the Debt Service Reserve against the PERC partnership agreement. These monies will be released to the towns in the next week or two. Our share of those funds are approximately $6,725. Barbara thinks these monies should go into a special account.
• We have received the new partnership agreement from PERC. It has been forwarded to Ed Bearor for review.
• We received notification the second payment from the State for our TIF monies. It should be hitting our account within a few days in the amount of $ 566,000.95.
• The TIF Committee met last Friday. It went extremely well. Maine Stream Finance did a lot of work on the application and condensed it with the edited application being approved by the members. The following processes were suggested:
1. Barbara will email a copy of the initial application to Committee members, who will decide if the application has merit to be forwarded to Maine Stream Finance.
2. Maine Stream Finance will complete the financial review; will score the applications and send the complete application package back to committee members via encrypted email. The Committee will make the final recommendation for funding to the Commissioners.
3. TIF Committee members would/could meet on a case by case basis.
• Two questions that have been brought forward to the Commissioners are: Do we wish to charge an application fee to help defer costs and weed out “frivolous” applicants? Barbara will find out what other agencies are charging and report back to the Commissioners. Question: What rate should be charged for revolving loans? Commissioner Davis made a motion to use the Five year Treasury rate (which is currently 1.75%) interest rate. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
• George Buswell reported on the tree trimming on the Scraggly Lake Road. First mile of this road was never brushed back because the paper companies used this road as an access road. They had cut brush on both sides of the road about 7-8 years ago and treated it while they were cutting wood. Since that time they hadn’t been back until this summer when they cut wood on the first mile down in the wood lots. George spoke to the forester and harvester crew several times regarding the biomass left behind. The harvesters got all the marketable wood on the wood side and not from the road. They’ve given us a proposal to cut the biomass out 15 feet from the edge of the road, place it in two piles for $140 an hour. They have been given permission from the Maine Forest Service to leave the two piles on the sides of the road but no longer than 90 days. It is our right of way – but their wood lot (land). They have left hardwood there because it would need to be chipped and unable to truck it out at this time. This would be their responsibility to take care of these piles which would give us the opportunity to be able to ditch the roads. Commissioner Davis made a motion for George to negotiate a set fee with Huber since they are already there to cut the biomass out. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
• Maine Waterside Trails, LLC is intending to file a natural Resources Protection Act permit application with MDEP for a reconstruction project of the Hay Brook boat launch in Soldiertown Twp.
Awarding of the County Used Vehicles Bids
• Judy Alexander presented an official spreadsheet on the counties used vehicle bids. The proceeds from the sales of the Counties used vehicles will go into Sheriff’s vehicle escrow account. Commissioner Davis moved to approve the bids received on the Counties used vehicle bids with $1,407 to be moved into the DA’s Reserve vehicle account budget with the remainder going into the Sheriff’s vehicle escrow account. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
• Michelle Tanguay from EMA stepped in to provide an update on latest information from yesterday’s wind storm. There were 48,000 people without power in Penobscot County due to the storm. Emera’s primary focus was working on substations and the transmission boxes, and assessing damage. They are telling people that it will be days before they will have power back. Today is day one of restoration. Emera’s main priority is emergency services and working from the transmission lines up so they can get to the distribution lines. We are down to 40,000 people now without power.
• City of Brewer has 52% of residents without power. Brewer Auditorium is the regional shelter. They will be receiving a generator from public works so it can be open at noontime for people to have coffee, warm up and charge up their cell phones. Michelle states that she is hopeful by tonight the Red Cross will be there so they are able to keep the facility open all night. Between the City of Bangor and Brewer there are 15,000 people without power, which is not including Eddington, Orrington, Holden, and Glenburn. Waldo County EMA director called Michelle and told her that Waldo is not opening up any shelters as their shelters are schools. Waldo has plans to send people to Penobscot for shelter. It’s imperative to have our shelter up and running. The Field house at the University of Maine is also available for shelter. They used it for relocating students that lost power in their dorms. They stated the community is welcome to use it too. Red Cross and the University Staff are manning that shelter. Twelve people went there last night from the Newburgh area. Michelle has been very frustrated about the lack of assistance for people with medical needs. Hospitals and nursing homes refuse to take them in. They can be brought in to the E.D. but once evaluated they will be sent back home. Shelters are unable to assist as medical dependents are considered a liability.
• Chad LaBree from PRCC said a typical busy day is 300-350 calls for service. Yesterday we received over 1,200 calls. Dispatchers did an amazing job with employees calling in to volunteer to come assist. PRCC ran out of seats. Even with that many dispatchers, it was still hard to keep up with the volume of calls. Every line was lit up for six straight hours.
• The 9-1-1 system was so overwhelmed yesterday that it shut down the portal from our center to the State and all the mapping went away statewide because it couldn’t keep up. Our call count stopped at 10:30 in the morning at 304 calls; with an average day typically handling 110 calls. We had the Fairpoint technicians here all day yesterday working on this issue. Presently Fairpoint is working on getting Bangor, DPS Bangor and our totals from yesterday. We’re suspecting somewhere over 700 calls. When Bangor comes on, there is no way we would have been able to accommodate the bodies needed to handle these calls. At this time, we don’t have the room available for overflow. We were full with what we had yesterday. Bangor had equaled the amount of calls we had. The overflow system works when our lines are full, calls go to DPS Bangor next. If DPS Bangor lines are full, it then goes to DPS in Augusta. The only benefit is that at least the calls were getting answered by somebody. Unfortunately, Augusta DPS didn’t understand why they are receiving these calls.
• Chad reported that we lost four towers which are located in Dixmont, Old Town, Dexter, and Charleston. We lease the Charleston tower from Emera and the Dexter tower is operated Atlantic Communications. Each of their generators blew up. The south tower in Dixmont had strong enough output that we were able to communicate as far as the tower in Eddington. Old Town’s tower was up and running fairly quickly which was wonderful as that took down both police and fire.
• A letter approved by Commissioner Baldacci was sent to the federal government to inform them that our workforce board does not agree with Commissioner Butera and the Governor. Joanna received additional correspondence which indicated that it appears the Governor has now approved FY 17 funds to be sent to the Boards. FY16 monies are available for another 30 days. The question to be answered is this the last day for staff to work?
• An email message had been sent to all the Administrators in all the counties of the state seeing if their Commissioners were willing to contribute to the lawsuit put forth by the Coastal Counties. Discussion had taken place on whether or not we should contribute $2,500. Commissioner Davis strongly opposed contributing to the legal fund. No vote was taken. There was discussion before the Coastal Counties lawsuit was submitted; there has been more discussion since.
• The risk pool is moving forward toward providing a cyber security insurance policy. The survey from Malcolm had been forwarded to Cliff Warren (IT) to complete. He has sent our response back to Malcolm.
• Barbara Veilleux sent out Flexible Spending paperwork if you choose to use this plan. Reminder you approved an increase from $2,600 to $2,650. Your paperwork should be submitted to Barbara no later than December 1st.
• Bill Collins has been contacted by a Jim Baines from the Libertarian Party. He wants to know if the county will make space for them to hold their meetings. Commissioners asked Bill to reach out to the Secretary of State and make sure that they are an established group in our County.
• Bill received a voice mail from Attorney John Hill from Los Angeles, CA. Attorney Hill represents Anne Myers and wants to know if Penobscot County would like to sign on to the Amicus brief where the states of Maine, Maryland, California, and Minnesota are challenging administration on the Child Arrival Program; the old program referred to as DACA. It was suggested Bill obtain a copy of what it is they are proposing.
• It was approved by the Commissioners to have Ms. Eva Szillery postponed her visit to November 14th to speak.
• It was approved by the Commissioners to start next week’s meeting to 10:00 a.m.
• Reminder that Dianne Bowden’s retirement party will be held Thursday from Noon to 1:30 p.m. on the third floor conference room.
• Bill has received communication from Robert Mosca that he wants to file a tax abatement against the State of Maine for property he has in the UT. Bill has sent him correspondence with the tax abatement paperwork to complete so that we better understand what it is he is looking for in regards to an abatement. We have also reached out to Maine Revenue Services Lisa Whynot for paperwork of the property tax.
• Bill reached out to Carmel Town Manager Kevin Howell to find out about their meeting on October 12th on a disgruntled taxpayer. Bill will report back on the outcome.
• Judy Alexander reported the FY18 budget summaries in the book have been updated.
• RCC will start new people in February and not January and not in April as previously discussed. Adjusted all benefits in payroll too. 6.898% increase ($200,000 difference) which is due to the change in dispatch.
• Also Jail went from 3% to 4% increase. We will be over our LD 1 Cap. Commissioners acknowledged it cannot be helped.
• Cap reported the lights outside the jail were damaged during Monday’s storm. Cap has recommended to the Sheriff that they change these to LED lighting which would qualify for an Efficiency of Maine Rebate. Commissioners are supportive and want to see a quote.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 206,705.59
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 117,819.19
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $29,766.36
• Payroll change notices signed for: Resignation - Dianne Bowden; Position ends – Kelly Fennelly; Re-hired – Danny Costain
• Compensation time signed for: Terry Sullivan(6 hours)
Public Comment - None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 10:34 am with no further business on the agenda.
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner