Penobscot County Commissioners' Meeting Minutes for January 15, 2019
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes January 15, 2019 2222 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Laura Sanborn & Andre Cushing 17°
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff stated that today’s jail population is 176 (141 males, 35 females) with 60 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal inmates, no county swaps and 76 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
Sheriff has received another resignation from patrol that brings us to three down, with another officer looking at another municipality.
Sheriff reports on a positive note, that a burglary that occurred 29 years ago which involved theft of firearms, have located the firearms in Washington State.
Sheriff is continuing with tours of jail and law enforcement divisions with high school and college students. An American Law and Trial Class from Brewer High School was the most recent in touring.
Last night Sheriff attended a meeting with the sub-committee from Orrington which included with a tour of the jail. Sheriff has had ongoing discussions with Orrington with the policing program and what their needs are. Orrington is discussing whether or not they should be their own full time police department, or make adjustments such as making a contract with us like Milford.
Sheriff reported staffing in corrections is down another two corrections officers which brings it down to seven. Sheriff has heard from other counties that they are in the same situation.
Sheriff signed the CHCS agreement that was approved previously by the Commissioners for additional staffing in the jail. There is a proposal made for additional hours for the clinician. Sheriff spoke to Terry Thurlow, the director of MEDPRO and they are currently in the hiring process for RN’s to cover the overnights.
Sheriff states that there have been lots of changes recently in how the JAG grants are now processed. There is new language and because of that, Sheriff presented the JAG grants to be re-signed by Commissioner Baldacci with the new language.
Sheriff acknowledged that retired deputy Sgt James Kennedy passed away Saturday with his battle from pancreatic cancer.
Commissioner Baldacci stated that while attending the MCCA meeting, there was an additional meeting he attended with the Sheriff and MSA. The purpose was to make sure that both groups are working together and on the same page with the jail funding.
UT Update –
Barbara Veilleux reported that the Secretary of State’s Office mailed the title to Mt. Chase Fire Department’s rapid response vehicle to us as we are the lien holder. The Commissioners’ gave permission for Barbara to mail the title to Craig Hill. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the Regional Animal Control contract with the Town of Bradley as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion moved 3-0. Signed.
Argyle Cemetery Association received a large donation and would like it to use on special projects. Barbara will tell them that it is ok to place funds in their checking account.
Our contractor, Jerome Emery reports that two batteries were stolen out of loaders that were parked inside the Prentiss salt sand shed over the weekend. After discussion it was suggested that there be a motion sensor light placed
Barbara and Commissioner Sanborn attended the public hearing put on by LUPC on the proposed adjacency rule changes. Barbara reports that there is still opposition, but there were more positive testimonies given. Some of the highlights at the meeting were:
o Argyle residents voiced a request to be exempted from the rule change.
o Hancock County Commissioners presented a resolution in favor of keeping the rules as they are now. They do not want any rule changes.
o There was discussion on the use of TIF funds for an economic development director in that area. TIF funds would have to be used for economic development planning in the UT, which is in conflict with the testimony given by the Our Katahdin group.
o It was felt by the Commissioners that we should find new representation for the LUPC Board. Our current representative needs to give us a letter of resignation. This will allow the opportunity to advertise the position and be filled.
Barbara reports that we received a letter from the Nature Conservancy. They have sent a check to the State in the amount of $1,007 as Payment in Lieu of Taxes to Penobscot’s UT fund.
Matt Lewis from Maine Stream Finance presented the TIF Application for Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club in the amount of $46 K to purchase two (2) new grooming drags. The existing drags are not adequate for the job and need to be replaced. The club maintains of 130 miles of trails mostly in the UT. The snowmobile club has $5,000 that will be put toward the purchase. The TIF committee has agreed to their request and is recommending approval from the Commissioners. Representing Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club were Craig Hill, Rick Hill and Leslie Hill.
Commissioner Cushing moved to have Penobscot County purchase the grooming drags, with the Club paying the difference of the $46K TIF grant. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion moved 3-0.
PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie introduced his Deputy Director Josh Lilley. The Commissioners congratulated Josh on his promotion.
Chris stated that the Whitten’s completed a temporary fix for the Medway microwave tower issue. There is still no confirmation on when the new microwave parts will be available. There has been no issues since last week so the link seems to be holding right now.
Chris gave a staffing update for his department. One person is in the process for the call taker position. Another person has been hired but is not able to begin until late February or early March.
Chris recounted of the Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors meeting that was held here a couple weeks ago. The fire chiefs came from all over the county and Chris states that it was good to have them here.
Chris spoke regarding of the types of calls that are being taken by his dispatchers and the mental toll that transpires. The Maine Chapter of Emergency Call Association has created a peer support group. The group has added a stress team that can help dispatchers deal with such calls. Two of his dispatchers, Senior Operator Betty Stone and dispatcher, Ryan Auffant have been selected to be part of this state wide team. They will help other dispatchers across the state by when needed by going to their call centers.
Chris provided final numbers of 2018 from ESCB. It was reported the PRCC took 53,559 9-1-1 Calls. The only other center with more calls was Portland with over 59K calls. However, this year with Bangor 9-1-1 calls we are on track to be the busiest.
There was discussion on additional funding where it is felt that the State should assist in some way. The State pays for our equipment we use, but nothing else. It is understood that the surcharge account has a substantial amount in it. Administrative Update –
Bill Collins and Commissioner Baldacci attended the MCCA meeting in Augusta last week. Speaker of the House and President of the Senate met with the Commissioners. It’s clear that they both have good have good relationships with County and although it was a meet and greet, it was the first time in Bill’s tenure that the tone and communication clearly is advantageous for us. Follow up that MCCA and MSA have a strategic meeting after and other meetings to come. They are looking at a number of potential bills that the associate have put forth and will work through those.
Bill updated the MCCAM meeting he attending last Friday. Bills group plays into where they are actively putting the numbers together in order to provide them to MCCA and MSA for funding requests. One comment continually heard is wanting one message, one voice, but we’re 16 counties and 15 jails. Commissioner Baldacci states they are also looking for solutions by simplifying the process. Bill states right now $36.2M for the two year bi-annual is a flat funded number. Bill referred that jail caps is a continued big discussion with legislation. Franklin, Somerset and Cumberland counties still have not provided financial data to the board.
Erika Honey, the new Human Resource Director will be in tomorrow to meet with Finance Director Judy Alexander and Assistant Finance Director, Tyler Thompson.
Bill will be in negotiations with PRCC tomorrow.
Vehicle bids close Friday and will be opened at next week’s Commissioners’ meeting.
Disgruntled Citizen came in office yesterday with a complaint for Probate Office. Bill spoke to her and was alerted that she plans on writing a formal statement of complaint. Bill spoke to the Probate Office as there is always two sides to every story.
The RFP Voice Date Delivery Solutions for the phones went out and bids will be opened at the February 5th Commissioners Meeting.
Sheriff’s Office has changed their policy on jail release time is now at 6:30 a.m. Bill relayed to the Commissioners what times other jails have as policy on jail releases.
Bill stated that Knox County reached out to him in regards to the opioid lawsuit. One of the questions raised was how much work is involved and Bill learned that some counties have received a document that we had not received. Looking at specific data. Bill shared this with the Sheriff’s Office, Dispatch and Finance. This is to look at a seven year search of data behind the scene at what the Opioid epidemic is costing our county.
Dick Hansen, County insurance agent reported that he has put together a booklet for our new HR Director providing resources for our insurance programs. This includes points of contacts with telephone numbers and summary of benefits. Dick reports he has met with the IT people and has confirmed that they can provide an in-house website. Dick would like to see that happen this this so employees can get the answers they need. The Commissioners thanked Dick for providing this information to our new HR director.
Randi Mosley – Resignation; Brittany Robertson - Promotion; Larry Estes – Temporary F/T Assignment; Louis St. Pierre – Hired F/T; Tyler Thompson and Mary Anne Hesseltine – Comp Time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 235,606.04 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: FY 2018 $18,329.54 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: FY 2019 $100,976.51 UT A/P Warrant to be approved for : $30,928.10
Commissioner Cushing moved to revise the agenda to have public comment before the Building Committee Discussion. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved 3-0.
Public Comment –
Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News, questioned if Penobscot County has joined the Opioid lawsuit? Bill responded that we were the first county to do so.
Doug Dunbar, citizen of Hermon, thanked the Sheriff for changing the jail release time policy to 6:30 a.m. Doug is inquiring on the follow-up with Matt Tardie and the book purchases on self-help and recovery. Doug referred to the Healthy Minds Initiative and has contacted Dr. Trip Gardner and he states that the monies have been approved and are still working out the timing. Doug was asked to put in writing his request on block CL633 and Commissioner Baldacci will respond.
Building Committee Discussion –
The following were in attendance along with the three Commissioners: Brian Thibeau, Dan Tremble, Harry Sanborn, Jim Ricker, John Rouleau, Sheriff Morton, LT Hotaling, Captain Clukey, Bill Collins, John Hiatt and Finance Director, Judy Alexander.
Administrator Bill Collins provided background information to the new members of this Committee. Bill stated that our engineers, WBRC along with the architects STV out of New York provided three plans for our review. Bill told the group that the Commissioners voted to accept a stand-alone 300 bed self-contained facility. This would be an 80 ft., 4 story structure building that would have a separate intake and a drop off feature. The first floor would contain the intake area, kitchen, laundry and program services. The second floor would contain all medical clinic and specialty units, and male housing. The third tier would be more male housing and the fourth tier would house the females. This is a very efficient facility with its mini-jail concept. This facility will save on staffing, maintenance and repairs and be more energy efficient. This would be a two year construction with a cost of $70 M and the total cost would amount to approximately $430 M for 30 years. Commissioner Baldacci stated that the 300 bed stand-alone facility would be best if money was not a factor.
Commissioner Baldacci stated that because the State does not participate in funding jail construction, plus feedback from the Community, we must revisit what we are looking for and need at a much lower cost. Commissioners felt rushed to make a decision in order to get the referendum on the June ballot. Unfortunately, there is no statewide ballot in June so the County would have had to pay for it. The cost of going out to bond and the final design phase cost would be approximately $1 M.
The old Y building, because of code requirements, could not be renovated to house inmates at a suitable cost. Instead it will be torn down and used for parking.
Commissioner Baldacci states that we must look at all options. There was discussion to changes that would save money and bring down the cost. i.e. coding from maximum security specs to a lower security. Brian Thibeau feels that we need to go back to ground zero and take what was learned and revisit those offers. Brian feels that the new committee members should tour the old Y and jail so that they can better understand what it is we’re looking to do. It was recommended that possibly we tour other facilities such as Two Bridges, Somerset and Windham.
Commissioner Baldacci asked the members to prepare recommendations for a new facility or addition to the current jail with a cost $20 - $30 M.
Sheriff Morton states the MSA will be holding their State Conference at the Cross Center in April. Sheriff feels it would be helpful for this group to attend the session with the Commissioner of Corrections speaking.
The building committee agreed to come back to the table next Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. on the third floor great room.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:25 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were the Commissioners, Bill Collins and Treasurer John Hiatt. Session ended at 11:45 a.m. No votes taken. Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:46 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were the Commissioners, Bill Collins and Treasurer John Hiatt. Session ended at 12:03 p.m. No votes taken.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:04 p.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Certified By: Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner