Penobscot County Commissioners' Meeting from March 19, 2019
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes March 19, 2019 2230 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 28°
UT Update –
Barbara Veilleux reported that Kingman Fire still has deficiencies that need to be addressed on workplace safety before any further funding will be provided.
On April 1st, Chris Lavoie and Barbara will be meeting with Lincoln and East Millinocket Fire and Maine Forest Service to discuss emergency response to in T2 R8 and T2 R9.
Barbara reported that OTELCO estimated engineering costs on broadband infrastructure in Argyle would be approximately $10 K. However, there is a bill in the Legislature, LD 854 that would allow TIF funds to be used for broadband.
Commissioner Sanborn, George Buswell and Barbara attended the public informational meeting in Woodville last Thursday in regards to the proposed military training facility in T2 R9. There were nine people in attendance. Future plans and updates were discussed:
o Replacing two small wooden bridges with steel in order to get larger equipment on site o A light ammunitions range and an aircraft landing area that would accommodate 1-2 helicopters o A demolitions and a bivouac area that would be used for tents, porta-potties and portable showers for 100-160 troops o Noise studies have been completed and they estimate the only sound that might be heard is when the demolitions team practice detonating 40 lb. charges o Guard members explained that night shooting is rare but if it were to take place, it would most likely not go past 2 hours after sunset. When “live” there will be loud speakers and flags that will warn of the danger. The two main access roads will be gated and there will be signage that will alert people that this is a military training site.
o There could be expansion in years to come, but everything hinges on funding
Citizen Christopher Swift added that the State is looking into purchasing an additional 1300 acres in the Town of Woodville next year.
Primary concern for the Town of Woodville is this is eating into the tax base.
Mr. Swift states that there is lots of interest in this project but regrettably there has been a lack of attendance at the informational meetings. Consensus is that citizens feel uninformed.
Probate Update –
Renee Stupak reported that she attended the MAR meeting last week and there was discussion on the LD 531. It looks like it will be going back to hearing because of the funding element of it. The appointment for attorneys is not going to happen due to the money aspect. The Registers met with SPI supervisor and there will be background checks done without any cost to the counties. There was discussion on whether or not Probate Judges were going to be appointed vs elected.
Renee is Chair of the Uniform Rules Committee with its objective to make sure that all Probate Courts in the County operated the same.
TAN Bid Openings –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander reported that eight banks were solicited for the 2019 Penobscot County TAN in the amount of $5,100,000. The following five banks submitted their bid by the March 18th deadline.
1. Bangor Savings Bank 2.71% 2. First National Bank 2.70% 3. Katahdin Trust 3.92% 4. Key Bank 2.58% 5. Machias Savings Bank 2.62%
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to accept Machias Savings Bank’s bid of 2.62% reasoning we already have an established relationship with this bank. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Concerned Citizen Update –
Ms. Melissa Berkey, a tax paying citizen from Bangor had questions regarding the new jail $60M price tag. Melissa feels that this enormous price is problematic and would like to determine the trend need of beds going forward. Melissa feels that the intake of inmates has remained stable over the past five years reporting that new admissions in 2018 were 5,092 compared to 5,049 in 2014.
Captain Richard Clukey stated that by working with the Court, the longer term inmates are now getting processed quicker. The list of inmates provided to the courts show how long they have been housed at PCJ.
Larry Dansinger said Natasha Irving, DA for mid-coast counties, reported that the recidivism rate in Maine jails is about 70%, whereas with restorative justice programs it is at 5%. Penquis sponsors a Restorative Justice Program which provides opportunities for youth with a chargeable offense to be involved in a restorative process. Larry heard an interview with Michael Sauschuck, Director of Public Safety and he was heard saying “arresting people is the wrong way to do business barely getting them on the path of wellness”. Larry is hopeful that there will be more funding down the road for preemptive wellness programs.
Commissioner Baldacci believes that with the new administration we are offered new attitudes. Commissioner has learned that other States are partnering with mental health and hospitals to create facilities outside the jail that is an alternative to emergency rooms and jails. In these instances the county provides the building, the mental health practitioners are provided by the hospitals. Because the patients are not in a jail, they don’t lose their Medicare coverage and can be treated with no expense to the county.
Administration Update –
Bill provided the Commissioners jail funding data for fiscal year 2019 that MACCAM has tried to identify costs to the state in operating the jail. Penobscot County budget shows a shortfall of $660,699. Bill then provided the Health Care Costs for the jail to be at approximately $1,228,084.
MSA is hosting the 2019 Conference and Banquet at the Cross Center April 17th and 18th and the Commissioners have been invited to attend. Bill would like to know who will be able to attend and he will pay for the fees.
The Active Shooter Training classes for the County have been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Johannah Sirois – Hired Full time; Cap Ayer and Tyler Thompson – Comp time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 235,055.64 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $155,785.03 UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: $51,138.42 UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
Public Comment –
Doug Dunbar, citizen of Hermon elaborated to Larry Dansinger comments and what this group is looking for. Doug referred to the Jail Building Committee and who is on it. Doug would like to know when the next meeting will be held so that others can attend and be a part of the process. Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:16 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: Bill Collins and Erika Honey. Session ended at 10:37 a.m. No votes taken.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:38 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn 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