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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes October 8, 2019 2258
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 56°
Commissioner Andre Cushing arrived 9:05 – departed 10:35
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve October 1, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Public Comment –
Citizen Larry Dansinger thanked the Sheriff for the information he provided that included inmates listed by bail amounts, charges & number of days incarcerated. Larry submitted to the Commissioners, Sheriff’s Office and DA’s Office a report he concluded from this information.
He is also interested to know why some inmates are incarcerated on probation violations with no bail. It’s not clear as to why there is no bail set. Are they a danger to the community or perhaps a flight risk? Larry feels there needs to be a re-examination of probation to see why so many end back in jail.
He is interested in listening to the budgets being presented. He is hopeful that the Commissioners look into monies to go into inmate treatment. Larry believes that if we are able to partner up with area mental health facilities funding will be made available to improve public safety in the community.
NWDB Update –
Joanna Russell reported that the Northeastern Workforce Development Board will host two career readiness events for justice involved citizens, educators and service providers. The first event will be held October 16 and will be hosted by Eastern Maine Community College. The second event (duplication of the first) will be held November 6 at the Millar Civic Center in Houlton. James Woodside from the Maine State Police, Bureau of Identification will present information on the “rap sheet”, Amy Sneirson, Executive Director for the Maine Human Rights Commission will provide information to the job seekers and service providers on how to navigate the application and interview process when dealing with charges and conviction from the past. Representatives from local recovery centers will provide direction to recovery and describe services and resources available to interested community members. Joanna feels this is an important event for service providers, probation officers and career counselors needing this information when they’re working with job seekers.
Joanna has selected Rebecca Bryant to serve as the new NWDB Program Assistant starting Tuesday, October 15. The panel interviewing these applicants were Erika Honey and John Farley. Joanna feels very confident that Rebecca will do a wonderful job.
Joanna has yet to receive her reports from the MDOL Fiscal Review from May and USDOL Monitoring Visit from August.
Joanna is actively working with the One Stop Operator Consortium to complete the OSP MOU and Cost Sharing Plan process. If all goes according to plan, we are optimistic that we can complete this process by January 1, 2020.
Joanna has not heard back on the Opioid Crisis NEG Application
The next NWDB Quarterly meeting will be held December 12th.
Deeds Update –
Susan Bulay, Register of Deeds displayed some of the old maps and old brown book that had been restored. Susan is extremely happy with the work that had been completed and is waiting for one more set of maps. The monies from this project are used from the Deeds Surcharge account.
PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie and Deputy Josh Lilley went to Salt Lake City last week to attend the Spilman/Motorola Summit. They reported the following:
o Spilman was purchased by Motorola in 2016. Penobscot County has been a 31 year customer.
o IT Director Cliff Warren has had difficulties with service from Motorola on getting our patch updates in a timely fashion. We are unable to finish the mapping project that we paid for two years to date.
o Josh and Chris were able to meet with the Motorola’s CEO and discussed the lack of service performance received. This was brought to the attention of their VP whom Josh and Chris met. He then brought in the executive in charge of mapping. The company already has contacted Cliff with drastic improvements promised over the next few weeks.
Chris reported on the discussion with the State Police eliminating zone coverages. Chris noted for the record that this will not only hurt the Sheriff’s Office, it will also negatively impact dispatchers and call takers as well. All the calls the State Police currently receive will then be transferred all over to Penobscot County. This will increase our workload substantially.
Commissioner Baldacci stated that at tomorrow’s MCCA meeting Commissioner Sauschuck will be in attendance to discuss concerns from the counties. Maine Sheriff
Association will be there for discussion on the impact that they will be facing if there are changes to the coverages. If services are cut by the State, those monies should be transferred to the counties.
PRCC (Dept. 4) Budget Presentation –
Chris Lavoie and Deputy Josh Lilley re-presented PRCC (Dept. 4) department budget. Chris noted the 3.01% increase in the PRCC budget from last year.
The major increases are from payroll and benefit expenditures; capital equipment for Spilman mapping.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve PRCC (Department 4) budget as amended. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Finance Update –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander presented the latest updated municipality’s tax collections as of September 30, 2019. Judy will be sending out reminders to the towns that haven’t paid their tax by October 15th. Interest will start accruing after October 31st.
Judy reported that the TAN has been paid down to $1M. She will look into what interest rates would be for 2020.
Judy also provided updates on expenses, revenues and the capital accounts through September 30th.
Sheriff’s (Department 12) Budget Presentation-
Sheriff Troy Morton and Lt. Keith Hotaling presented the Sheriff’s (Department 12) budget for the 2020 year. Sheriff noted an increase in the budget due to major increases of payroll and benefit expenditures.
The budget also reflects three new Orrington Deputy Positions and the additional new floater position; however, Hermon’s three new deputy positions are not included in this budget yet. Sheriff notes that these will show as an expense but both towns will be offset in revenues.
Sheriff explained that the parts and maintenance line (fuel) had been reduced $10K due to the new vehicles being more energy efficient.
Capital – Equipment. Sheriff is projecting purchasing another seven vehicles. We still owe Darlings for three vehicles from 2019 at $33K each. Sheriff feels that by rotating
vehicles we are able to auction cars with 145-150K miles. This allows for a little more revenue when we sell.
Commissioners will hold off on approving this budget until Hermon’s personnel are included in the budget.
Civil (Department 13) Budget Presentation -
Sheriff Troy Morton presented the Civil (Department 13) budget. This department consists of two full time civil deputies, one full time clerical and approximately ten part time deputies.
Commissioner Baldacci noted that there is $ 41 K escrowed for vehicle purchases and there was another vehicle purchased this year. Lt. Hotaling feels we need to purchase one car every two years.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to reduce the Capital Motor Vehicle line to $ 5K from $10K. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Commissioner Cushing motioned to approve Civil (Department 13) budget as amended. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Jail (Department 9) Budget Presentation-
Sheriff Troy Morton and Lt. Keith Hotaling presented the Jail’s (Department 9) budget for the 2020 year. Sheriff noted the 2.92% increase in the budget ($9,405,472) comes from the major increases of:
o Legal assistance – 2019 budgeted $7 K – today we have spent $13,100.
Boarding of inmates – there is growing pressure to board more out. 2019 budget was $700 K and today we have spent $415 K. Sheriff wants to reiterate that the more we board, the more transportation costs go up. Commissioner Cushing made a motion to amend the Boarding of Inmates line from $850 K requested to $780 K. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
o Medical, surgical and dentistry – the additional $250 K is for the increase of medical coverage including more P.A. time. The more P.A. time, the more we reduce time in the hospital. Sheriff believes that because of the MAT program we may be able to receive a little funding to cover some of the medical costs.
o Sheriff is requesting a slight increase for prisoner’s uniforms. This is for providing a tee shirt to go underneath the uniform. Some inmates were needing medical for the irritation caused by the thick one piece uniforms.
Sheriff reports that payroll and benefits are starting out under budget because we are 11 full time positions understaffed. Erika Honey has been assisting the department recruiting for correctional staff. Sheriff states that Penobscot County is not alone in the staffing crisis. It is getting more difficult to board inmates due to this. Sheriff reports that we have not added in an inmate staff clerical specialist position to this budget.
Commissioner Cushing motioned to approve Jail (Department 9) budget as amended. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff reported he will be attending meetings in Augusta tomorrow with MCCA and MSA discussing the State Police cost sharing/zone coverage. Sheriff plans on voicing his concerns to Commissioner Sauschuck. Part of the discussion is to figure out how to divide coverage up if there is not additional funding. State Police is looking to reduce the number of troopers in the County and considering eliminating zone 3; this leaves additional coverage for us to take on. Sheriff reports because of our reputation of being a thorough investigating service, we are already taking on the more complex cases.
Commissioner Baldacci states depending on what happens, we will need to speak to the legislation for additional funding because Penobscot County cannot afford to add $330K to our budget.
Sheriff reported that MAT program protocols are updated and just waiting to be signed off on those. MEDPRO will be the medical provider for the jail facility and PCHC with Dr. Nesin counseling services will all be funded separately through the office of substance abuse.
Sheriff reported on the Alternative Sentencing Program - Day Reporting is still being worked on aggressively. Sheriff met with DA Lynch, defense counsel and the Judges with trying to find ways to keep this program going. The Sheriff is currently looking for an affordable place that can hold our day program that would be close to this facility. Sheriff is reaching out resources for the educational pieces.
Sheriff has reached out to Rep. Danny Costain in amending the furlough status to increase the time from three to ten days.
Sheriff stated that he will participate in the meeting next week with WBRC/STV.
Sheriff and staff conducted 14 interviews for the three Corporal positions in the jail.
Sheriff reported that NAMI has stood behind us with Dorothia Dix on disruptive inmates sent to our jail. Jenna Mehnert will discuss this issue with Commissioner Lambrew from DHHS for assistance.
Sheriff reported on the jail inspection that took place. Their biggest area of concern is reducing population. They are requesting two reports a month on what we are doing to continue to reduce population. The other report is a 60 day report on building expansion plan. The inspection also stated that the noise level is too high.
Administration Update –
Judy Alexander reported for Bill Collins who is with HR Director Erika Honey and SO Executive Secretary Vanessa Holmes who are in Portland attending an HR workshop.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to nominate Commissioner Cushing to the State Claims Hearing Commission that will take place Wednesday, November 13 for Dexter properties. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion approved 2-0.
The Commissioners should have received the email from Mary Anne with the electronic copy of additional letters received from the public.
Judy provided the Commissioners with the list of Budget Committee members from each of their districts. Approved.
Judy submitted an email from the Safety Committee with concerns about the Y parking lot.
Bill Collins and Commissioner Baldacci will be in Augusta tomorrow for a MCCA meeting.
It was decided that the 2020 budget meeting will be held Tuesday, November 12th, 2019.
There was discussion on the recycling. It was to be looked at if Casella also does paper recycling.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Rebecca Bryant – Hired Full time; Erika Honey - Payroll Changes; Chris Fox, Jordanna Sprague, Terry Sullivan and Barbara Veilleux – Comp Time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $230,192.87
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $191,216.89
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:42 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Moved to approve 2-0
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Finance Director, Judith Alexander for Administrator, William Collins
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner