Penobscot County Commissioners' Meeting from June 18, 2019
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes June 18, 2019 2243
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 66°
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve May 21 and June 11, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Katahdin Area Trails -
Matt Polstein, Executive Director of Katahdin Area Trails (KAT) came before the Commissioners regarding the application requesting funding support through the TIF program.
As way of background, KAT was formed to continue to build on the momentum for tourism related activity in the Katahdin region and to provide a greater opportunity for a healthy lifestyles for local people. KAT was formed as a 501(C) (3) with the objectives of supporting trail development and activities in the greater Katahdin region. Matt states KAT had mainly focused on snowmobiling and cross country skiing, but recently felt that mountain biking was the best approach to take in as tourism has always played a huge role in the economy. KAT started concentrating on a network of single track mountain biking trails both on Hammond Ridge and in the exploratory phases of a project in the Town of Millinocket. KAT has been building trails there with support of the Sewall foundation and the New England Outdoor Center. There are six miles of completed trails. We are finishing a five mile loop at the end of May with the support of the AmeriCorps Volunteer Group. We feel that nine or ten miles of trails is the critical mass in what we need to aggressively market. The TIF program will help fund a piece of trail called the Gravity Trail System on Hammond Ridge.
We felt that biking can be the same phenomenon in the summer as snowmobiling impacts the economy in the winter. Although hikers are important to our tourism, they don’t seem to be recognized as offering the contribution that bikers do.
KAT used Kingdom Trails in Vermont as a model. Their trail system started to evolve 20 years ago and now has about 94,000 visitors a year. Has seen 28 new business focused on trail users in the past ten years and has an economic impact of $10 M a year. This has completely transformed that area’s economy from a ski town to a year round destination. We think the same opportunity is available in the Millinocket area. We think it might be a better platform of great destination trails system because we have world class white water on the west branch of the Penobscot River. We are a gateway to the Maine North Woods. We have access to Baxter State Park and our new national monument. This would support visitors coming to the area that will benefit from a broader range of recreation opportunities. Maine’s other bigger mountain bike trail destination is Carrabassett Valley who has seen tremendous growth in biking.
Our proposal to you specifically looks at the Gravity Trails section which is a more challenging section which would be built. KAT has been our own builder to date, we feel it was important for us to reach out to one of the best known trail building organizations there is. International Mountain Bike Association has a company called Trail Services that builds trail. We felt for the features and style of trail that needs to be built for a downhill run we felt it important to set a high standard right from the start. We priced this project with a budget of hiring this company to do the work. We would support them with equipment and manpower. We are confident we can achieve what we’re proposed to you with this budget of $ 153 K. We are asking for $75K from the TIF fund to support this. KAT has the resources to put the balance in to pay for the work.
Matt Lewis from Maine Stream Finance and Barbara Veilleux joined Mr. Polstein at the table for further discussion.
A topic that has been a concern is that the land where this development would occur isn’t owned.It has a five year lease with Hammond Ridge Development Corporation. There needs to be a permanent easement on this trail or a longer lease.KAT has reached out to Kingdom Trails of Vermont reporting their organic growth. Each received easements and non-binding agreements with landowners as well as purchasing their own land for dirt trails. Matt communicated with activities director Abby Long and some of the federal grants received required easements to be in place before land could be developed for federal grants. Whereas, the network that they developed on private land is not through a lease which was described that the landowners could not have a lease because of liability. They can’t receive compensation for recreational use of their land. So there is a nonbinding agreement that allowed them to build these trails which is done through volunteer work. It’s a combination of what they’re doing over there for development.
The Commissioners are requesting a longer lease/easement to protect this investment. Mr. Polstein states that the easement poses a problem with the mortgage company and isn’t something that I feel I can give you today. However, he feels that he can negotiate a longer term lease perhaps 15 year.He will report back to the Commissioners.
UT Update –
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to renew the liquor license for Matagamon Wilderness. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion.Moved to approve passed 3-0. Signed.
Barbara will be meeting tonight with the Springfield Selectmen for a possible fire contract with the Town of Prentiss. Mattawamkeag contacted PRCC for the number of calls for Kingman fire. We will be working with both of those towns and will possibly have to bring in the town of Lee to gather some interest too.
Barb reported on the home in Argyle that we had the junkyard complaint on. Barb got in touch with the owner and found she’s renting it to a gentleman with the option to buy. The homeowner went immediately to talk to him and a lot has been cleaned up. Barb spoke to the gentlemen with the original complaint, and George will keep an eye on it.
George reported that the inmates have been helping him this spring. They have been cleaning up the cemeteries and cutting brush at the Argyle shed. The only thing left to do is chipping. We are very fortunate to get this help.
Barbara and George presented the 2019 Work plan for the summer to the Commissioners. George reports that it is pretty straight forward that we know that this is work that needs to be done. The two major projects are the paving and the work on the Myra Road. George will get everything ready to go out to bid in July. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the work plan as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
We submitted a broadband expansion grant for Argyle Township.We should hear something by the end of this month. LD 54 for broadband expansions has been placed into law so we will be able to use TIF funds.
Barb attended the meeting for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last week. This was an informational gathering session put on by the national park service. Barb presented Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument Management Framework showing designated activities for different parts of the monument. The attendees were broke up into groups to discuss the information presented and come up with suggestions. The most challenging location is the northern part with the different types of gateway and corridors.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff reported that today’s jail population is 162 with 46 boarded out to other county jails. There is one county swaps, no federal and 67 in Maine Pre-Trial Services. In the last 72 hours we had 41 new arrests brought in to the jail and 31 of those bailed out.
Sheriff showed a picture of the interior wall in the jail with a hole in it.
Sheriff is having a challenging time with Two Bridges and the paperwork to move inmates to their facility. Sheriff has spoken to Col. Bailey as well as Sheriff Joel Merry in regards to the amount of refusals at Two Bridges.
Sheriff met with officials at the courthouse in regards to the Intensive Case Management system under DHHS. Maine Pre-Trial represented the Sheriff’s Office along with several judges and court officials. There was a discussion over current issues with the mental health system. Sheriff requested that we continue with these discussions and not wait until the Judges are available to attend so we can continue to iron issues out. A major issue is for inmates that are incompetent to stand trial. These inmates stay in jail until there is a bed available in a mental health institute which can be months.Sheriff reported that an inmate cannot be “blue papered” if there is not a bed available.
The Sheriff asked what is going on at Dorethea Dix and how will it impact us. It will have very little impact for our Jail since this is a statewide facility and will only hold forensic patients of about 18-20.
Sheriff reported an attempted suicide last night. Neither hospital would accept the inmate and we were told to bring the inmate back to the jail.
Sheriff met with DHHS and representatives from Mainecare in regards to Medical Assisted Treatment in the jails. Sheriff attended the funding meeting and feels confident that there may be funding available for this program. Sheriff will be meeting this afternoon with Commissioner Liberty, members of Department of Corrections, Dr. Gordon Smith and members of the substance abuse council with the model protocols for medical assisted treatment. We are trying to get a baseline, eligibility list for those who want to start the program. We are going to see if we can get this started in the jail since we already have the vivitrol program already. (STEP Program)
The courts are adamant they want to stay with video arraignments.
There was discussion on working with the 1st and 2nd offender programs. Maine Pre-Trial will continue with programming until January. Sheriff believes if a day program could be held every month, this would benefit all. Staffing and resources for overnight program has become too challenging. Many offenders would prefer to do the 48 hours in jail versus wait until a program is set up. The missing piece is a place to host the programs.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the Towns of Bradley and Howland supplemental contracts as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.Signed.
Sheriff will be meeting with Orrington officials on June 24th to discuss a contract and budget.
Sheriff sent a proposal to the Town of Hermon to continue with a supervisor and add one full time deputy.
Chief Birch received another complaint from the wrecker service that they’ve had issues with. Chief has a letter drafted to remove this company from the rotation.
PRCC Update –
Chris Lavoie thanked the Commissioners for allowing himself and Chief Leonard time to discuss the radio infrastructure project last week. The consultant will be here tomorrow to go to the power sites.
Last Wednesday Whitten’s put in the new microwave from Las Vegas at 2 p.m. and at 5 p.m. we had our first outage that was down 17 minutes. Since Wednesday, we haven’t had any other outages.
On Sunday, one of our four year old radio consoles in dispatch, something happened with the software and it started selecting and deselecting frequencies out of people’s headsets on the screen. The only way to get it to stop was to manually do a hard restart. We don’t know what caused this to happen.
Thursday Chris received a call at 1:00 a.m. stating our recorder for business lines, radio traffic, Sheriff’s Office business lines and the jail had failed. It was believed that it went down at 6 p.m. The company didn’t respond until approximately noon the following day. There was quite a bit of gap, luckily some of the data was recovered. They said the life expectancy of a recorder is 5-7 years with us currently at 5 ½ years.
Chief Brown from East Millinocket Fire Department spoke last week regarding the app “I am responding” through his cell phone. This app is used when he is unable to get messages over the radio. The County Fire Chiefs Association and Board of Directors are supporting that dispatch should fund this program for the County. “I am responding” is a solid backup if you have a failure in your radio system and currently how we are communicating when there are mass outages. It would be an easy transition since about 75% of the agencies in Penobscot County are already using it. Chris reports for unlimited subscriptions per year is approximately $19-20 K.
EMA Update –
Michelle Labree reported that they held their Homeland Security Grant Review Committee meeting last week. Michelle provided a preliminary report that will go into the application for the State’s approval. Michelle reported that Orono Hazmat team gets a $ 15 K annual stipend right of the top, as well as $750.00 for the EMA communications trailer. Michelle elaborated about the Orrington Fire Dept’s request for MCI kits. These are duffle bags with tourniquets and a variety of triage items that can be used for mass casualties. This kit augments what is used on the ambulances. Purchases made last year went to six mutual aid communities on the Brewer side of the river and this year will expand to Hampden and five additional communities on the Bangor side.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve supporting the Homeland Security Funding as presented. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Brad Nuding is in his last week of training in Boston.
Finance Update –
Judy Alexander states that she and HR Director Erika Honey attended the NWDB Quarterly Board meeting and found it to be very insightful with the workshops presented.
Judy provided an update where we stand with the TAN. Through this week’s payables and payroll we borrowed $ 2.6 M which leaves us at $ 2.5 M available. Compared to last year at this time, we had a balance available of $ 900 K.
Today we received the PL 450 funds in the amount of $237,992 for the supplemental monies for the jail.
Judy reports that all the departments are within their spending limits through May 31, 2019.County buildings is a little over their spending due to fuel purchases in the beginning of the year.Deeds revenue is included in this spreadsheet.
Judy reported that she and the Sheriff’s staff met to work on the FY 20 Jail budget. We went over what they project expenditures to be with exception of payroll. Payroll and benefits were done same as always. Payroll is showing a 2% decrease due to a large turnover. These amounts reflect the new contract if passed. The two major items of concern are boarding of inmates to county jails and medical, surgical and dental costs. There is one other line with a huge increase under Capital Buildings and Improvement due to a control project that needs to be taken care of next year.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to reduce the line in boarding of inmates to $1 M. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Administration Update –
Bill reported on the MCCA meeting he attended last week in Augusta.There was a very lively discussion on Penobscot County receiving supplemental Jail funding.
Tonight is the Annual Penquis Dinner.
Tomorrow is the Health and Wellness Fair from 10:00 am--2:00 pm.
Bill will be attend a mediation hearing tomorrow.
Bill plans to meet up with the Code Enforcement to discuss the old Y building to see if a 1st and 2nd Offender program can be held there.
City of Bangor is requesting Commissioner Baldacci, Sheriff and Bill attend their next work session on July 8th at 5:15 p.m.
Payroll Change Notices signed for:Lucas Babcock, Derek Hersey, Michael Parady and William Sinnott – Resignation; Gary Albert – Hired; Blake Miller and Terry Sullivan – Comp time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for:$ 224,837.13
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 91,135.18
UT A/P Warrant to be approved for : -NONE-
UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
Public Comment – None
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:00 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (E) Legal Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, John Hiatt, Sheriff Morton, and Erika Honey. Session ended at 11:19 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:20 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, Judy Alexander, John Hiatt, Sheriff Morton, and Lt. Hotaling, Session ended at 11:47 p.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:50 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 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
Administrator, Bill Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner