Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from April 9, 2019
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes April 9, 2019 2233 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 28°
A moment of silence was held for Maine State Police Detective Ben Campbell whose funeral will take place today in Portland.
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve March 12, 2019 and March 26, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Jail Building Committee Final Report -
Chair Jim Ring, Harry Sanborn and Brian Thibeau of the Jail Building Committee presented the Commissioners and members of the audience with their final report. The highlights of the last 16 months are as follows.
Members of the Committee and who they were appointed by are as follows:
o Commissioner Baldacci: Brian Thibeau, Jim Ring and Dan Tremble o Commissioner Cushing (Commissioner Davis *): Jim Parker*, Harry Sanborn* and Jim Ricker o Commissioner Sanborn: John Rouleau, State Representative Steve Stanley and Rick Bronson
Ex-Officio Members are:
o Penobscot County Commissioners o Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office o Penobscot County Administrator William Collins
Summarization of key points are as follows:
Committee has worked over the past 16+ months with the Commissioners, Sheriff and staff, consultant’s team which was STV (experienced specializing in correctional facilities) and WBRC. We relied on their cost estimating that was provided and in their report.
The recommendation is focused on the physical plan of the jail facility that is operated here by the County, Sheriff and Staff. In working with the consultants, we toured the facilities to decide what the needs and deficiencies are. One of our members, Harry Sanborn, was intimately involved in the last jail expansion project. He had a lot of great insight to offer. There were several things we needed to consider to come up with a recommendation that would be a “reasonable” cost to the taxpayers of Penobscot County.
o Total cost of ownership o Offers stability to operational costs o Offers a solution to the escalating cost of boarding inmates and the directly/indirectly related staffing and transportation costs
Evaluating the needs of the Jail Administrator and the Sheriff’s Department as related to actual and verifiable costs related to operation and ownership.
o Offers minimizing total staffing costs related to inmate management o Offers reasonable solutions to support services including but not limited to: Food services, preparation and storage; Staff related support areas such as: locker room & break area; Medical Suite including: secure storage for medications inventory and secure bed area for inmates with illnesses.
Placing much credibility of the accuracy of the report submitted by WBRC supported by the jail design team of STV, Inc.
Initially, there were eight options and we identified a final four options which were deliberated on were as follows:
o “Do Nothing” scenario with results of expending slightly over $430 M over a 30 year period o 144/157 Bed scenario dictates using and staffing the existing jail resulting in expending $21.5M over the delta figure of $430M for the 30 year period o 400 Bed scenario overbuilds instead of allowing for expending in the future $25.8M over the delta figure of $430 for the 30 year period o 300 bed scenario provides for an additional 100 beds in the future; this scenario eliminates the boarding of inmates; result in expending approximately $430 M
The Building Committee recommended that the Commissioners consider moving forward with the 300 bed stand-alone facility. The cost projected for constructing and operating a 300 bed facility through 2033 is $430 M. The 300 bed facility will require minimal or no inmate boarding out expense, transportation costs of inmate transfers, and eliminating staffing labor directly/indirectly to (regular & over-time costs) as well as staff vehicles used during transfers related to inmate boarding .
The Committee recommend that the Commissioners consider moving forward with a new, “enhanced members” committee including members knowledgeable of programming needs, financing alternatives, municipal representatives and qualified citizens. The Commissioners have already enhanced the Committee with municipal representatives from Newport, Bangor and Lincoln. Jim Ricker, Newport Town Manager, offered how a 30-year bond would impact the tax bill on a residence valued at $100K in Newport. The projection only offers what the impact would be if Penobscot County assumed a 30-year bond. o 30-year, $70M bond with the first year annual payment of $4,877,040 increases the County budget from $16M to $21M. That amount increase equates to Newport’s 2.5% of the County tax exposure increasing $48 annually on a residence valued at $100K o 20-year $70M bond equates to a residence valued at $100K causing an increase of $57 annually
Board member Harry Sanborn stated what the board became aware of early on is that we’re going to spend $430 M if we do nothing. In that $430 M is an uncontrollable cost of boarding out and right now we’re at the mercy of the market. If we are able to bring inmates back in house, we would be able to internally control it.
Board member Brian Thibeau restated that the current facility is inadequate. This is a difficult situation for recruiting and retaining staff members. There are many areas of the facility that are inadequate from laundry, kitchen, and programming. The Committee looked at multiple options such as finding a different area to build, but with construction costs rising 5 – 10% a year any delay makes this more expensive. This stand-alone 300 bed facility would also allow, if needed, the addition of 100 beds down the road.
Commissioner Baldacci spoke on what comes next. One thing for certain is we don’t want to keep boarding out because it is delaying trials, dispositions and separating families. Commissioner Baldacci does have some concerns on still having to maintain the existing building. We have received a proposal, now it is time to go out to bid and get an independent view.
Captain Clukey thanked the Committee for their hard work and dedication in looking for a solution to our current situation with the jail. Captain Clukey feels that the mini cell system going forward will be an advantage to all involved including staff and inmates.
Jim Ring referred to the condition of the old YMCA building as being structurally unstable with multiple buildings put together. The Committee looked at the best use of this space/land, and found that it would be best to knock it down and use the land as a parking lot. The new facility would be located in back of the jail where the parking lot currently is. Purchase of Civil Vehicle –
LT Keith Hotaling from the Sheriff’s Office states that the 2013 Civil Vehicle purchased in 2013 and has 126K miles on it and needs $1,400 worth of repairs to pass inspection. This vehicle will be placed for auction next time the Patrol vehicles are sent out to bid. He requested permission to purchase a newer used vehicle. LT Hotaling indicated there was $41,719.50 in their reserve account.
Commissioner Sanborn moved for LT Hotaling to shop for a new/used Civil vehicle. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion moved 3-0.
DA Update –
Kristine Higgins is seeking approval to send two Assistant District Attorneys to the 2019 Maine College of Trial Advocacy conference that will be held in Augusta on May 2-3. This will be paid from the criminal forfeiture account. This conference will cost $1,370 and the fund currently has $2,426.81 available.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve this request. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion moved 3-0.
HR Update –
HR Director, Erika Honey requested the Commissioners permission to approve the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a “site assessment” of the County buildings. This assessment will provide information to help prioritize safety needs in and around the building. Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the assessment take place. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion moved 3-0.
Erika thanked the Commissioners for attending the meeting held last Wednesday and Thursday for the correction officers. Erika feels that this open forum will improve employee relations and engagements. Public Comment -
Larry Dansinger commented on the report that the Building Committee had just presented. Larry feels that it helpful to understand the process that took place in coming to the decision made.
Larry is still concerned with who was spoken to in the legal arena. Would like to know what policies are changing.
Larry states that citizens he’s spoken to are not opposed to a new jail, it’s the size of the jail that is being recommended. Commissioner Baldacci responded saying that Pre-Trial Services has been a valuable resource for moving inmates out of the jail averaging around 80 a week. Commissioner agreed that people shouldn’t be treated for mental health in the jail if there are other options available. The next step will be costly and we will move as carefully as we can.
Doug Dunbar, citizen of Hermon stated he feels that we won’t be spending $430M regardless. If we have a smaller option or smaller population, Doug feels that the cost is inflated.
Melissa Berky interjected that she would like to hear what the recidivism rate is in all the County jails. Captain Clukey responded saying that would be a question for Commissioner Liberty since it is the State that analyzes and collects that data.
Phil Locke, resident of Bangor commented that Maine does have a low incarceration rate in comparison to the other States.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:12 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) LUPC Interview. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Judith Alexander, Barbara Veilleux and Darrell Park. Session ended at 10:35 a.m. No votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:36 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) LUPC Interview. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Judith Alexander, Barbara Veilleux and Peter Pray. Session ended at 10:50 a.m. No votes taken.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to nominate Peter Pray to represent Penobscot County on the Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) and withdraw the nomination of Charlie Pray. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:51 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: Judith Alexander and Erika Honey. Session ended at 10:55 a.m. No votes taken.
UT Update -
Barbara Veilleux reported that more sand was brought in to Prentiss Township yesterday. Barbara stated that the lights have been installed in Argyle shed and it makes a huge difference. They are going to get an estimate on the Prentiss shed next.
Barbara Veilleux reported that she and Chris Lavoie met with Lincoln and East Millinocket Fire last week to talk about interstate response in T2 R9. Commissioner Sanborn moved to pay a flat fee of $2,500 to Lincoln Fire for fire suppression and extrication services. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Barbara will be sending out invitations to the towns in Penobscot County to participate in our cooperative salt purchase.
Barbara reported that Commissioner Sanborn, George and herself will be meeting with Alton officials later this afternoon to talk about the shed and a fire contract.
Commissioner Baldacci thanked Barbara for being part of the LUPC interview panel.
Finance Update –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander provided the Commissioners with the following spreadsheets:
o Year to date report through December 2018 which shows $1.3M underspent. Judy is going to look into reallocation of part of the bridge construction capital account. o Capital Account amounts to be carried forward from 2018 into the reserves for 2019 was presented in the amount of $81,794.32. Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the carried forward capital amounts; it was seconded by Commissioner Sanborn. Motion was approved 3-0. o Up to date report through March 31, 2019. Judy reports that all the departments are within their spending limits. County buildings expenditure are a little high, due to fuel purchases. This will average out during the summer. Deeds doesn’t include March’s revenue since that check arrives middle of April.
Administrative Update –
Judy reported that Don McCann will be present at the April 23rd meeting to share his concerns regarding the Red Flag Law.
A reminder that MCCA will be meeting tomorrow in Augusta.
Judy presented a letter from Representative Stanley to Harold Parker in regards to a coordinator position to assist the new Economic Development Director position for the Katahdin Region. Judy reported that all parties interested in the MSA Convention have been registered.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Larry Estes, Nicholas Covell and Joanna Russell; Comp time: Terry Sullivan and Bradley Fitzgerald.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 216,745.97 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $181,433.10
UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: -NONE- UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:22 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve 3-0.
Certified By: Finance Director, Judith Alexander for Administrator, Bill Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner