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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes February 27, 2018 2178
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis and Laura Sanborn 37°
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the February 6th and February 13th, 2018 minutes. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Executive Session –
Commissioner Davis made a motion to enter into Executive Session at 9:03 a.m.
1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) on a Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Present were: Judy Alexander and Renee Stupak. Session ended at 9:15 a.m. with no votes taken.
Sheriff’s Department Update –
Sheriff Troy Morton stated that today’s jail population is 163 inmates. Comprised of 136 males, 27 females and 60 more boarded out to other county jails. There are currently 58 inmates involved with pre-trial services. There are no federal inmates.
Sheriff praised the DA’s Office, defense councils and the courts on the recent sentencings that moved multiple inmates out of our jail.
Somerset County is holding one of our inmates that has severe mental health challenges. Their Jail has resources available to manage this inmate. We are grateful for their assistance.
Troy reports that our County website has been upgraded and now has two lists. The first shows who is in-house at Penobscot County Jail. The second list shows inmates boarded out and where they are located. This change assists those who are looking to communicate with their clients.
Sheriff will be heading to Augusta today to hear Commissioner Fitzpatrick from the Department of Corrections testify. This is not a public hearing. The Sheriff stated that local Police Chiefs are going down to show the impact of the State taking over Jails and its impact on Municipalities.
Appropriations and Criminal Justice Committees are having a joint meeting and reviewing Commissioner Fitzpatrick’s plan.
Assistant Jail Administrator, LT Linda Golden’s last work day is Friday. She is retiring after 30 years of service with the County.
Sheriff reports her position still has not been filled. They are completing a second round of interviews tomorrow on five candidates.
Sheriff is still working on the Hermon law enforcement contract. It has been decided to contract for the Supervisor position only and not include part-timers in this contract.
Troy and his department are still working on the MCCA newsletter articles. The articles consist on the jail RISE (Opiate) program that as it is the only program in the State. On Law enforcement side, Sheriff stated the articles will comprise the Kick off with a Cop that occurred in the fall and the Secret Santa donations this past winter.
Sheriff reported that four new correction officers graduated yesterday from the Academy. Not counted is our new corrections officer from Kennebec County which will bring us to five new corrections officers. Kennebec County was more than gracious in discounting the tuition buyout for this officer.
It was recently brought to the Sheriff’s attention the reason why we are experiencing a low turnout of applications for part time correction officers are the low wages. Sheriff would like to move in the direction of offering full time swing shifts which the Commissioners are supportive. Sheriff will bring to the Commissioners documentation supporting the cost savings by making this change.
Troy will be attending the school safety hearings in Augusta today as well. It should be noted that Penobscot County has placed every school in our Spillman data base. We have floor plans and information condensed into three pages for each school. We are the first county to do this. There are also a few large facilities placed on the system too.
Sheriff has heard from multiple people in regards to the school incident in Florida. Sheriff has recommended to volunteer by being a hall monitor.
Tax Abatement Appeal Hearing
o Gregory A. Boober, Sr. – Property Owner
o Benjamin Birch – Assessors Agent for the Town of Eddington
o Russell Smith – Town Manager, Eddington
The property is located at 30 Merrill Road, Eddington Tax Map 30 as Lot 4
The property was purchased in 2002. The single wide mobile home was built in 1998 and has been on lot since 2005. Mr. Boober paid $26,000 for the mobile home. The property was appraised in 2011 with a fair market value of $75,000.
The assessed value in 2017 was $89,200. Mr. Boober feels that the increase is too high given that mobile homes depreciate by 3.5% each year. Mr. Boober also states that the property is mostly ledge and there is an oil spill still trapped in the ledge. There are remains of an illegal septic system on the property and 1/3 of the land is wet cedar bog. Mr. Boober presented as part of the record pictures of his property.
Mr. Boober states that he would have a difficult time selling his home and land for the amount it is being assessed.
Mr. Boober is requesting that this property, land and buildings be assessed at $75,000 and with his deductions would lower his taxes from $1,014.36 to $786.45.
Commissioner Baldacci asked Mr. Boober what improvements were completed after 2011. Mr. Boober stated that he did place a 16 x 16 storage shed, added a new deck and placed a small addition to the home to control water.
Mr. Birch, assessor’s agent for the Town of Eddington, submitted in record the Information packet for docket 18-01. Included were 8 exhibits that will be referred to during Mr. Birch’s testimony.
Mr. Birch reports the increase in value are the new additions from 2011 to 2017. They are: 6 x 11 shed, 16 x 17 shed along with a 14 x 28 addition to the shed & attached shed 10 x 14. Along with what Mr. Boober admitted with the 16 x 16 storage shed, deck and addition to the home. Mr. Birch states that those structures added $21,000 plus to his 2011 assessment. Mr. Birch presented as part of the record current pictures of his property, land and building.
Mr. Boober stated that all new structures were constructed by himself and his son. There were no labor costs associated with these buildings.
It was stated that Mr. Birch nor Eileen Williams assessors were allowed to go into the residence.
The Commissioners stated that they would make a decision and get back to all parties.
Financial and Administrative Updates –
Judy Alexander, Finance Director came before the Commissioners to report financial updates from December and January. Judy reported that the 2017 revenues for Administration are $ 80 k over the actual budgeted amount. This is due largely to two factors: $38,800 in UT billing for 2016 that was paid in 2017 as well as a 10% indirect cost from NWDB which brings in revenue of $1,200-$1,500/month which was not included in the 2017 budget.
On the expense side building improvements are showing that we are $ 121k overspent. It consisted of the post office roof, 3rd floor renovation and brick restoration.
The Jail is showing 57% income because it is front loaded in August. The expenditures do not exceed the 50% mark.
Judy states that changing the books from fiscal to calendar year has been challenging. Two sets of books are still being used to be able to appropriately track.
Judy will put together for a motion for the Commissioners to approve for the jail surplus as of December 31st, 2017 to bring this surplus forward to the 2018 books.
Commissioner Sanborn approved the tax warrant for 2018 in the amount of $15,235,590. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0. Signed.
Commissioner Davis made a motion authorize a $4.4M TAN loan amount. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
Judy shared with the Commissioners a thank you note from Pinetree Hospice for their $ 1000 donation.
Greg Zinser, County Manager from York County contacted Bill and stated they will be conducting a wage study. After discussion, the Commissioners stated it is fine to provide the job title, how long position held and wages, but not names.
Tax warrants will be mailed out this week.
Auditors will be here in April after tax season. They will be doing a six month jail audit which will be the last separate fiscal year audit for the jail.
The new copiers are installed at EMA, DA’s Office and the jail. Judy is pleased to report that these departments are happy and everything is running smoothly.
Judy attended the NWDB board meeting yesterday.
DA Chris Almy came in to report to the Commissioners the impasse with the Attorney General’s Office for financing new ADA’s. Governor LePage will not approve any financials for the Attorney General. Mr. Almy is unable to fill two recently vacated positions until this is settled.
Payroll change notices signed for: Denise Molinaro – Step Increase; Frank Tibbetts – Resignation; Patricia McLaughlin and Steven Saucier – MDEA Rate changes; Deborah Sargent – Hired Full-time; Tyler Thompson – Comp Time
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 216,886.46
Account Payable Warrant to be approved: $ 282,465.72
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved: -None-
Commissioner Davis moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:07 with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Judith Alexander, Finance Director
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner