Penobscot County Commissioners' Meeting Minutes for May 22nd, 2018
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 22, 2018 2190
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 66°
(Absent Tom Davis)
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the May 15th, 2018 minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Troy Morton stated that today’s jail population is 195 inmates; 157 males, 38 females and 42 boarded out to other county jails. There are currently 64 inmates in pre-trial services. There are no federal inmates and there are two county swaps. Count remains high even after yesterday’s court session. Sheriff reports that there are ten in home releases. He feels that that number is important because it speaks to real diversion.
Sheriff reports that law enforcement responded to many calls for service this week.
o There were three suicides in the past four days (1 female, 2 males).
o One of our deputies was attacked by a female under the influence of drugs. This same female has engaged with officers before while under the influence.
o There was a youth that had stolen a car and rammed it into a Holden Police Cruiser.
Sheriff informed the Commissioners that two correction officers were injured by an inmate that should not be in jail because he is psychotic and very dangerous. This inmate has been with us for nearly a month. There are no rooms available anywhere for mentally ill patients which is making it difficult for the jails.
Sheriff reports that he has had his first conversation with the Keefe Group in regards to Correctional Facilities vending services. There are four county jails in the State of Maine that utilize this company. Sheriff believes this would be a huge savings benefit to our county using Keefe as our agent. Keefe’s processes would take a tremendous burden off the correction officers and clerical staff by taking in money and processing the vending requests. Keefe plans on coming up at the end of June to speak to the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff received notice that the Sheriff’s Jail program for literacy volunteers is being recognized for their work. Sheriff met with local Adult Education programs that will be working with the jail taking over the Bangor Adult Ed program. Sheriff believes that our education program will change the overall mission in a positive manner for the same or less costs.
Maine Sheriff’s Association has posted a position for Executive Director of MSA.
Bureau of Justice assisted grants has just opened up. The Sheriff has a couple weeks to make his requests. The following grants will be requested:
o Bullet Proof Vests. This grant is a 50-50 cost. Half from the grant and the other half from the County. A savings of about $3 - $4K a year.
o Body worn cameras are what are available through the grants. Cruiser video cameras are what the deputies would prefer since you can hear audio. This project would be around $400K. Commissioner Baldacci recommended for the Sheriff to check with NACo and see what they can do to assist.
Sheriff referred to the funding issue on holding off on the purchases of the new patrol cars until the jail funding situation has been taken care of. Sheriff’s staff are concerned that the County feels that resurfacing the parking lot is taking precedence over the cruisers. Bill interjected that the County is in no financial position to update the parking lot.
Commissioner Baldacci commented that today’s newspaper had an editorial on contact visitation in the jail. Sheriff explained the difference between contact visits and in-person visits. In person visits is what our jail currently does here which is supported by ACLU. This type of visit is found this to be the best method as to keep contraband out of the jail. Sheriff feels strongly that we should bring video conferencing to the jails for the inmates as a method of visitation. Sheriff did report that there are always exceptions to the rules and on occasion DHHS can at times receive supervised contact visitations.
Bill presented the Commissioners a draft letter to go out to the municipalities regarding the jail funding issue and how it will affect the municipalities. Bill stated that over the weekend he spoke with Councilor Kevin O’Connell from Brewer. Bill told Councilor O’Connell that he will be receiving guidance from the Commissioners on this issue. The Councilor told Bill he would get in touch with Legislative friends and have them get in touch with him.
There was a private citizen in the audience that also wrote a letter to the Commissioners on a plan on how to operate on a $3M+ shortfall.
Something that needs to be addressed is if there is a layoff unions need to be notified at least 30 days in advance and we still need to pay unemployment checks.
Bill states that we need to have a plan in action.
o First step is to have a letter approved to send to the municipalities. The Sheriff does request that before the letter goes out he can contact the Chiefs first to alert them out of respect.
o Second step is to have media coverage. This will be a public campaign to inform every one of the crisis we are in and what steps need to be taken. The Sheriff would like to see the Commissioners in front of the cameras since they are the ones responsible for funding.
Sheriff states that there is a new budget being prepared without State funding.
Commissioner Baldacci thinks we should in two week’s set aside an hour at the Commissioners meeting and invite all the media to attend. This way our financial crisis can be addressed and brought to the public’s attention.
UT Update –
Barbara Veilleux presented the renewal Argyle contract with the Bangor Humane Society to the Commissioners for their signature. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the contact. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion passed 2 - 0. Contract signed.
Barbara wanted to alert the Commissioners that the UT budget also has not been approved by the State.
George Buswell is working with Sunset Development on ditching and culvert projects in Greenfield all this week. Greenfield Road in Summit was heavily damaged with the rains.
Barbara received the estimates of salt quantities from 29 towns. Total to bid are 7,273 tons which is 19 tons less than last year. Bid packages are out to the salt vendors with June 5th being the bid opening date.
Commissioner Sanborn moved for Barbara to draft a contract for Mattamiscontis residents with Howland to add white goods, metal and light iron to the recycling contract at $400 a year. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0.
Commissioner Sanborn moved for Barbara to write a letter of support for Webster Plantation to build a 40’ x 54’ salt/sand shed on Tucker Ridge Road. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0.
Deeds Update –
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve purchase from Transco Business Technologies for the Black and White KIP7170. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0.
Susan will be notifying the three vendors of the results of the bids.
Maintenance Update –
Cap Ayer presented the Commissioners a consultant estimate to resurface the post office and back parking lots. Since we are not in a financial position to have this work done at this time, we are not planning to put this project out to bid.
Barbara Veilleux recommended when we are able to place this out to bid she finds prices are typically higher early in the season.
Commissioner Baldacci stated that once the jail funding issue is cleared up we will be in a better position to make a decision.
Cap stated he doesn’t have any new information on whether or not the contractor for the Wellness Center showers is able to lower his bid.
TIF Request –
Citizens John Raymond and Peggy Daigle came before the Commissioners to promote their TIF
request. The reconstruction or refurbishing of the Route 11 Bridge on the Brownville Road will be done my MDOT. Their TIF request is for the addition of a corridor, which would be attached to the side of the bridge that would be used for recreational purposes. i.e. ATV’s. bicycles, snowmobiles, etc. Mr. Raymond provided the Commissioners letters of support from the communities. Mr. Wright from the Department of Transportation has provided Mr. Raymond ball park figures on the cost of either refurbishing or reconstructing this bridge. This project wouldn’t start until 2020 and it was recommended that replacement would be best. Mr. Raymond states that he would like this project to be part of the collaboration with Maine DOT, Town of Millinocket, and Northern Timber Cruisers.
Barbara Veilleux explained how the TIF process works. First of all, once the application is completed it goes to the TIF Committee that reviews each application to make sure that the request qualifies and fits the TIF criteria. If the request proceeds it goes to the Maine Stream Finance for the paperwork to be completed. Lastly, if approved then the Committee will vote up or down and onto the Commissioners for their vote.
Finance Update –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander reported to the Commissioners that the TAN funds are down to $2M.
Judy states that even though the jail is now operating on a calendar year budget, we still have to report to the State the fiscal year budget. Judy hopes to be able to present to the Commissioners for their review the Jail budget next week.
Judy reports the FY 18-19 year for payroll and benefits is at $5.5M and with only $6.7M allocated, this doesn’t leave a lot to fund operational costs.
Judy feels that when the letter goes out to the municipalities, it should also be sent to the Budget Committee as well.
HR Update –
Joanne McIntyre updated the Commissioners on the Deputy and Correction Officers injuries.
Joanne states that she has been spending time at night with the jail employees.
Joanne spoke of the overcrowding in the jail. Since the jail population is at 195, every space is taken up.
Joanne plans on working with Dick Hansen to try and reduce benefit costs.
Administrative Update –
Sheriff, Joanne and Bill will meet with FOP Jack Parlon and Patrol Line Unit today for negotiations.
State Representative Stephen Stanley was in today’s audience.
Bill reported that as a reminder LT. Golden’s position is still not filled at this time.
Bill told the Commissioners that Scott Cole the Administrator from Oxford County resigned.
Payroll change notices signed for: Tracy Hall, George Buswell and Donna Webber – Comp time; Deborah Shott – Retirement; Dakota Turnbull –Resigned; Nicholas Hardwick – Promoted; James Ellis and Ray Goodspeed – Probationary Period Ended.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 215,226.56
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $104,008.52
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved: - NONE -
Public Session – None
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:20 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (E) Contract Matter. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Dan Tremble and Joanne McIntyre. Session ended 10:42 a.m. with NO votes taken
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:44 am with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Moved to approve 2-0.
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner