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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes October 2, 2018 2208
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Laura Sanborn and Andre Cushing 46°
Commissioner Baldacci opened the meeting welcoming new County Commissioner Andre Cushing.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Morton stated that today’s jail population is 179 (144 males, 35 females) with 41 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal inmates and 43 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
The Sheriff is trying to coordinate a meeting with ADA Marianne Lynch and Director of Pre-Trial Services, Mary Anne Simoni.
Sheriff reported two more correction officers resigned as well as a northern deputy. These positions are being posted.
Detectives and patrol officers did an extraordinary job with the recent armed robbery in Etna where a loaded shotgun was involved. Three people have been arrested.
A letter of commendation was received by the US Attorney’s Office in regards to our Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for their work on the armed robberies in Milford and Orono.
Penobscot County Sheriff’s office was acknowledged by the District Attorney’s office regarding work done in the Opioid epidemic resulting in crashes.
The combined JAG Grant with Bangor Police department has been accepted for funding.
Civil Department (Dept. 13) budget presentation of last week. After speaking with Judy Alexander, Finance Director, Sheriff now feels comfortable with the purchase of one vehicle. We can reduce the request in the budget from $ 15 to $ 10K.
Jail (Department 9) Budget Presentation-
LT. Hotaling presented to the Commissioners a spreadsheet with data to help better understand the budget requests due to the over crowdedness in the jail.
Sheriff reports that we are starting out with an $855K deficit.
The base jail occupancy is 157. In 2002 we started exceeding our state rating and from 2008 forward we never dropped below that rating. Over crowdedness taps all resources for boarding out, food, medical, etc.
The increases in payroll and benefits is from upgrading one position that will allow for advancement to a transport corporal. Payroll benefits are up as workers compensation increased. Also new hires are choosing Maine State Retirement. Bill reminded the Commissioners that we are just beginning wage and benefit negotiations.
Many adjustments have been made in the Services. Many expenses have been moved to the county budget such as utilities, computer services, accounting and auditing which is a huge savings. Since we now have a two year contract for the boarding of inmates with Two Bridges that too is a reduction. However, Sheriff feels that it is imperative to increase Medical, surgical, dental and counseling services costs. The Sheriff is requesting a nurse to be staffed 24 hours a day in the jail. Currently we only have staffing until 10:00 p.m. We pay overtime almost daily to keep a nurse in house to manage medical. Due to the amount of inmates in crisis we have increased the budget for counseling services too.
Commissioner Baldacci comments that the $328.7 K jail costs that have been transferred to the County budget for 2019 may not be the best approach. The State might not recognize our worry when coming to fund the jail in the future.
There was a modest increase in foods too due to the special medical diets of the inmates coming in with health issues that require specialty foods.
It is crucial to keep capital equipment in the budget. Our facility was last upgraded 30 years ago and appliances do not last much longer than 20 years, so we have been fortunate.
Sheriff reminded the Commissioners that he was able to have the transportation van "patched" to keep working, but with all the commuting to other jails to board our inmates, it may not be much longer before we need a new transport vehicle.
EMA Update –
Michelle Tanguay introduced her new Deputy Director Brad Nuding to the Commissioners. Brad comes to us from Hancock County and started last Monday.
Brad told the Commissioners that the biggest appeal to Penobscot County is the increase of towns, the critical infrastructure and assets available. Commissioner Baldacci welcomed Brad to the county and complimented him on his impressive background.
Michelle says that it has been a busy week to initiate Brad to the County with an exercise that was held, and helping a few communities close out their FEMA requests.
Dan Tremble asked Michelle if we get confirmation of payments received, if approved or denied in which Michelle stated yes. Michelle stated that she has access to the online portal in which she can see the status of each municipality. Michelle informed the Commissioners that she has also written a quick fact guide so if (when) the next time a disaster strikes the communities will know "start to finish" what is needed for documentation.
Deeds (Department 10) Budget Presentation Update –
Susan Bulay and Judy Alexander reviewed the Deeds budget and made some modifications from a couple weeks ago.
The Building/Equipment Repair and Maintenance line can stay at the reduced amount of $2500 versus the $3500 budgeted from previous years.
The line of Printing and Reproducing can be reduced to $ 4K.
As of the end of April the escrow balance for computers is $20,637.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the budget as modified. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
PRCC Update –
Jim Ryan has ordered the communications center rug tiles. Jim is still getting estimates for the installation costs for the tiles.
Jim states that the rug in the training room needs replacement and it looks like it will be around $ 500 excluding installation costs.
Interviews will take place tomorrow for the supervisor position to replace Tracy Hall who is now our new Administrative Assistant.
New PRCC shirts have been ordered.
Commissioner Cushing was invited to visit PRCC for a tour and meet the team.
Chris reported that the radio consoles which were installed at Maine State Police Barracks for backup is not optimal for us. Chris is requesting to bring them back here. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve $1500 to move the radios back to our facility from the State Police Barracks. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Thank you to Commissioner Sanborn and Bill Collins who attended last Wednesday’s staff meeting and barbeque. Emily Morrow, Johannah Sirois, Kendrick McCarthy, Tracey Erickson, William Lovejoy, Michael Azevedo, Wayne Gagnon and Jolayne Lowden all were recognized for their hard work.
Ten year dispatcher David King assisted in his fifth baby delivery this week.
Katahdin Revitalization -
Katahdin Revitalization members: Steve Stanley – Citizen of Medway and State Representative of this district, Deb Roundtree – Millinocket Citizen, Jessica Masse – Citizen of Medway and business owner in downtown Millinocket, Wally Paul – Retired Citizen of Millinocket, Marcia McGinnis – Fiscal Administrator of the Unorganized Territory and Mike Michaud – Citizen of East Millinocket came before the Commissioners.
There are eight communities that represent this area: Millinocket, East Millinocket, Medway,
Patten, Stacyville, Mt. Chase, Sherman and Island Falls in which this group is looking for support for economic development for this region.
They are seeking financial support to hire an economic planner as a county employee. They identified four sources of Revenue as funding streams: County Budget, Unorganized Territory Budget, TIF funds and PILT funds.
After much discussion, Commissioner Cushing moved for Penobscot County to support the development of an advisory committee for the Katahdin Region and that the group report back to the Commissioners with a plan no later than November 1st. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Actual Funding needs from the County will be determined then.
Maine Stream Finance –
Portfolio Manager, Matt Lewis from Maine Stream Finance reported to the Commissioners’ this year’s developments with TIF applications. Matt indicated there seems to be some issues with applicants completing the applications. Maine Stream has offered to have potential applicants come to their location and they will assist with the process.
Matagamon Lake Association was successful in funding $100 K for phase one of their restoration. To date there are four potential applications for grants in the works, as well as one loan.
Finance Update –
Finance Director Judy Alexander presented two Representation Letters on behalf of Chester Kearney Accountant firm. The letters state the auditor’s actions and cost of the Corrections’ Fund and Unorganized Territory Audits. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the agreement with Chester Kearney for both audits. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Commissioner Baldacci signed each letter.
Judy presented the Commissioners with the County budget year ending 2017. This audit shows a decrease of $ 67 K due largely of liability of Maine State Pension. The undesignated fund balance decreased by $ 708 K due largely to the purchase of the 78 Hammond Street property and the pension liability.
Judy presented updates from the capital reserve account through September 30th. It was noted that we should be at 75% for revenues. Judy mentioned the gas tax monies are only for the first quarter of the year.
Administrative Update –
Bill Collins reminded the Commissioners of the Thursday interviews for the HR position.
AFSCME Correction Supervisor negotiations begin next week.
The Presidential texting alert will occur tomorrow.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to adopt a new classification for the elected officials (Commissioners and Treasurer) to be a 20 hour work week for Life Insurance purposes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Bill received official word the Penobscot County property growth factor for 2019 is 2.77%. Last year it was 2.84%.
WBRC will be here next week to meet in executive session with updates. The Building Committee will be invited to participate.
Penobscot County is hosting the Spirit of America awards at 2:00 p.m. next Tuesday.
Bill, Sheriff Morton and LT Hotaling will be attending a work session with WBRC later today.
The Post Office plans to execute a five year lease continuation with the County.
Payroll change notices : Andre Cushing, III – Appointed by Governor; Alexis Smith – Hired Full Time; James Nicholas - Resignation; Seth Rolfe, Jeffrey Durley, Gerald Cartensen, Peter Baldacci, Laura Sanborn, Dan Tremble - Payroll Change; Dustin Umlauf and Corey Hamilton – Probationary Period Ended.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 219,963.05
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 411,521.46
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $22,396.08
Public Comment –
Citizen John Hiatt congratulated Andre Cushing on his appointment as a Penobscot County Commissioner. John also inquired as to the new reclassification of the elected officials that was just voted on. Commissioner Baldacci explained that the reclassification was for insurance purposes and that the elected officials are really salaried employees. No overtime.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 12:05 p.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins and Dan Tremble. Session ended at 12:32 p.m.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to hire Jim Ryan as Penobscot Regional Communications Director. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to adjust the starting wage for the Deputy Regional Communications Director. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:35 p.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner