Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from May 28th, 2019
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 28, 2019 2240 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 49°
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve April 30th, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
UT Update –
The TIF Committee has reviewed the application from Katahdin Area Trails who want to build extreme bike trails on Hammond’s Ridge owned by Matt Polstein. There is a concern in regards to the project being built on privately held land. Committee members are recommending there be a permanent easement put in place before further consideration of the request since the actual applicant is non-profit. Without the easement and if the non-profit were to no longer exist, there could be an issue as we would be paying for an improvement that would benefit a private business. The total project is $150K with a request for $75K. An alternative method to finance would be to apply for a low interest loan instead of a grant. It was suggested to have some of the board members come down and present to the Commission, as well as Matt Lewis from Maine Stream Finance.
Matt Lewis from Maine Stream Finance stepped in to the meeting and explained that Katahdin Area Trails currently holds a five year lease with Hammond’s Ridge Development Corporation. The upgrades are permanent and these improvements will benefit the landowner which is a concern as to what happens after five years and would the lease be extended? Matt was invited to come back when the members of the Katahdin Area Trails representatives come in.
Barb will be meeting with the Mattawamkeag Selectmen next Monday in regards to a fire contract to cover Kingman. Barbara spoke to Rick Worster and was told they did a test on the pumper truck and it did not pass certification. This truck is the one bought from Veazie a couple years ago for around $ 30K. The cost estimate for repairs is $17.5K.
Barbara received a message from Mike LaPlante from DOL to return his call. If there is anything important to report, Barbara will come back to the meeting and relay any information received.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the Alton Fire Contract of $ 11K per year for three years with no call billing beginning July 1, 2019 for the Town of Argyle. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Signed.
USGS has notified us that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has approved the proposal to make official the name Thompson Island for the island in Pukakon Township. Barbara reported to Commissioner Sanborn the request received last week from BCRE for co-location of antennas on an existing lower is in the Town of Lee, not in the UT.
George reported that all the preliminary work is done in Greenfield and we will be able to start paving shortly.
Sheriff’s Update –
Before updating his department, Sheriff enthusiastically announced that his son’s team went undefeated in baseball this year and won the Championship at junior high level.
Sheriff reported that today’s jail population is 159 (115 males, 44 females) with 41 boarded out to other county jails. There is one county swap, no federal marshals and 71 in Maine Pre-Trial Services.
Sheriff states that Pre-Trial Services held interviews last week. They are not able to move forward at this time with a replacement. They currently have two case workers and will bring someone over from drug court as a third for a short time.
Elizabeth Simone, Executive Director of Maine Pre-Trial Services will be meeting with Sheriff and staff discussing alternative sentencing. The program is becoming increasingly difficult for them to staff as well as expensive to run. They are requesting that the Sheriff’s Office re-take managing the program. Sheriff feels that if they change to a day versus overnight program that it has been, may offer a solution. The offenders would report daily for work and counseling could occur during that time. A day program would eliminate the costs for boarding (including bedding, separate showering facilities), meals and extra staff. Sheriff feels that this program benefits our low risk, no risk offenders by reducing/eliminating jail time and typically diverts about 200-300 people a year.
Sheriff will be attending a meeting today with our educational providers to discuss a potential plan going forward following Matt Tardie’s passing.
Sheriff reported that he’s received another resignation from a tenured corrections officer adding to our critical staffing shortage in the jail. Sheriff will be monitoring this as we may have to board more inmates out.
Sheriff reports one of the challenges he finds in hiring new correction officers is the Academy increasing the time for classes to 5-6 weeks. So that substance abuse and mental health trainings are included. Sheriff had been negotiating with the last Orrington Town Manager. As of right now, negotiations are on hold. The Sheriff is prepared with a draft contract and budget. Another full time patrolman from Orrington has resigned. Sheriff has notified the State Police what is going on and between our two agencies, they will be patrolling in the Town until a solution is reached.
Sheriff reported that there are two deputies out on a medical for a few months. Since last week’s meeting, Judy, Lt. Hotaling and himself looked at the 2018-19 budget and feel that the cost to hire a full time deputy can be absorbed without going over the budget. We have also been working on a draft budget for 2019-2020. The budget projection that would be somewhere around a 4% increase which is in line with previous years presentations. This would be a float position, primarily the overnights which helps reduce costs for call outs. Sheriff stated that he worked Friday night with patrol. Many of the calls that are being responded to require two officers due to the type of incidents. Sheriff feels confident we could be able to hire for this position fairly quickly. This position also could cover the Orrington if the contract does go through. Commissioner Cushing moved to permit the Sheriff to hire a full-time float deputy position. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Sheriff and Chief Birch reported that there was a complaint received by his department in regards to a tow company. This is the third complaint with the same wrecker service. The Sheriff’s department provided general parameters to all the tow companies on rotation. The policy states that the Sheriff may remove any one company if we don’t think they are fair, equitable, and efficient to the consumer. Sheriff will send a letter to this company removing them from the rotation because of their practices.
Sheriff will be meeting later today with citizens that have expressed interest in learning more about our current facility and the proposed building expansion. Sheriff feels this will be a good opportunity to share with them what resources have been made to provide alternatives for inmates to reduce their jail time.
Sheriff received a letter of complaint from the court regarding transporting inmates. Sheriff had previously received correspondence the court would not go past 4:00 p.m. Sheriff’s transport officers leave at 5:00 p.m. and in this particular incident, an inmate was not transported by us, but had been sentenced to DOC after 5. Their Court Officers had to watch this inmate for ten minutes until we were able to get back to Court.
Sheriff received a new directive from a judge that there will be only video arraignment for the jail. Sheriff would like a discussion because he doesn’t feel that this is a fair assessment.
Sheriff provided pictures of what was recently confiscated in our jail. Inmates are getting very creative in making dangerous weapons. NWDB Update –
Joanna Russell reported on the One Stop Partners’ meeting held in Augusta last week on May 22nd. She stated that the meeting went according to plans and that the partners in the Northeastern region do understand their next steps to completing the MOU cost sharing plan. The partners will be submitting their line item budgets in the next few weeks.
Joanna also explained that there was talk at the meeting regarding procurement and that the Commissioners should be aware that this coming in the next year too. MDOL partners stated that the Local Boards should hold off on any plans regarding their PY18 budgets until the State Workforce Board has made its decision regarding the 70/30 policy. Director of Employer Services Ed Upham told Joanna that Commissioner Fortman was not able to resolve the 70/30 policy issue. There is work being done right now to pull together information for the State Workforce Board members to help them understand the system and the regulations we’re being held to. The next meeting is Friday, June 7th and hopefully at that time more information will be given. We have designated the Bangor Career Center as the one-stop comprehensive center and that is where the cost sharing will occur. For the time being with the 70/30 in place, there is a minimal staff located at that Bangor Career Center which is not the optimal for our local region. Commissioner Baldacci stated the 70/30 is harmful for this program and hopefully this can be resolved.
Joanna also explained that the NWDB is holding its quarterly meeting Wednesday, June 12th at Bangor Savings Bank in Bangor. The meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The agenda has been extended to a four hour session. The first hour will be business and the last three will be devoted to workshops and lunch. The workshops are as follows:
Maine Criminal History Records – State Police - How to read criminal background checks
Maine Human Rights Commission- Amy Sneirson, Executive Director for the Maine Human Rights Commission- For employers to protect themselves when interviewing and accessing job candidates
Recovery – Sharon Field and Bob Fickett will share information related to the Bangor Area Recovery Network and Recovery Coaching Finance Update –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander provided an update where we stand with the TAN. Through this week’s payables and payroll we borrowed $1.9 M which leaves us at $3.2M available. Compared to last year at this time, we borrowed $2.5 M and had a balance available of $1.8 M. Judy feels this is a better picture than anticipated and attributes the Sheriff’s negotiations for lower rates in boarding out inmates.
Judy is hopeful the jail funding will be received by late July or early August and we won’t have the cash flow problem that we experienced last year.
Administration Update –
Bill received communication from Frank McGuire regarding the Town of Orono request to reduce the interest payment that there is no discretion to approve this ask.
Bill presented for signature a criminal forfeiture funds for the DA’s Office.
o State vs Fuller in the forfeiture amount of 15% of $381 o State vs Chase in the forfeiture amount of 15% of $2,958
Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve receipt of this forfeiture. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
Bill received information from Shaquita Cunningham the federal grant have been accepted. Financial reports from 2017 have been submitted by the Sheriff’s Office have been accepted.
Bill will be providing a letter to DOC Commissioner Randy Liberty for a $ 273K for supplemental jail funding for Penobscot County. Sheriff reported that Maine Sheriff’s Association sent a formal letter making a similar request but feels that an additional letter should be sent representing Penobscot County.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Leslie Chauvin – Resignation; Blake Miller and Alexis Smith – Comp time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 218,108.86 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 50,325.56 UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: $7,883.85 UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
Public Comment -
Mario Kent (Ziggy), resident of Milford reported that he was attacked at a local store in Orono and feels there needs to be more security there. Then he fell after leaving the store, and went to the hospital. Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:20 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: Bill Collins, Judy Alexander, Sheriff Morton, Lt. Hotaling and John Hiatt. Session ended 11:29 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:29 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, John Hiatt and Erika Honey. Session ended at 12:02 p.m. a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 12:03 p.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins and Erika Honey. Session ended at 12:05 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 12:06 p.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, Suzie Worster and Erika Honey. Session ended at 12:15 p.m. NO votes taken.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:16 p.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0
Certified By: Administrator, Bill Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner