Penobscot County Commissioners Minutes from October 22, 2019
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes October 22, 2019 2260 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 43° Commissioner Andre Cushing Arrived 9:12
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve October 8, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Public Comment –
Larry Dansinger questioned who would be representing Penobscot County at the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Meeting in Augusta today. Commissioner Baldacci stated the MCCA and MSA will be monitoring and participating in these meetings.
Larry presented page 19 from the “Justice Reinvestment in Maine” newsletter that he felt was important to address. This page talks about total criminal case files and how these are down 10% in the last five years, but Penobscot County has increased 35%. Larry feels that Penobscot County needs to make some drastic changes and would like an investigation on this.
Larry then referred to the article in yesterday’s Bangor Daily News; “Shrinking inmate populations is the focus of efforts to fix Maine’s County jail problems”. Larry states that right after the title it states that Penobscot County is looking to build a new jail facility of $65-$70M.
Secretary of State – Matthew Dunlap
Commissioner Baldacci thanked Mr. Dunlap for taking time out of his busy schedule to explain what needs to be done for the bond referendum for a possible upcoming jail construction and radio system.
Mr. Dunlap that stated that in the 30 years since Penobscot County last submitted a referendum laws have changed dramatically. A county referendum is like a county election; a bond referendum has to be held during a statewide general election. The “question” would need to go before the budget committee first, then have at least one public hearing in each of the Commissioners districts and the Governor would then declare it 60 days prior. The ballots have to be prepared for military and overseas voters 45 days in advance, instate absentee votes 30 days prior to the election. The State needs 10-14 days to have prepare the ballots and get them to the printer; then they need to be distributed to all cities, towns and plantations.
The next election is March 3rd which is the presidential primary and is the best time to hold this election for the State. Mr. Dunlap states that there is a people’s veto initiative that will be voted upon as well as the presidential primary. Mr. Dunlap doesn’t believe that currently there is anything else listed; however, that can always change. We expect a fairly robust turnout with interest in the presidential primary. Commissioner Cushing asked if we could provide all the wording needed, minus the actual amount requested, could that be formatted. Mr. Dunlap stated that everything needs to be complete and whole by the end of the first week of January.
Mr. Dunlap states that a June vote could be problematic simply because we don’t know if there is going to be anything to put on a referendum ballot. June 9th is the primary election and will be conducting that primary if necessary by rank choice voting. It could give us quite an armload to prepare the ballots. Mr. Dunlap states that June turnout is typically a low turnout as well not exceeding 25%. If the County decided to submit the request for the June ballot, the law stipulates that the county has to pay for it which is a considerable cost. Mr. Dunlap doesn’t have an estimate, but reports a statewide ballot is about $125 K.
This would leave a date of November 2020. If there’s urgency here, I would encourage the Commissioners to consider getting something on the March ballot. If we had it by the last week of December or the first week of January, we would be in good shape to get it on for March. The concern about a March primary is the limited turnout by party affiliation. We don’t control who turns out to vote and that has been laid out for the Commission to consider. Maximum turnout would probably be the Presidential turnout in November 2020.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff stated that today’s jail population is 165 in-house with 52 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal inmates, no county swaps and 82 inmates in Pre-Trial Services. In the last 72 hours we had 34 new arrests with all 34 released on bail.
Sheriff reports that we are participating in two studies with NSA: Opioid Use Disorder and the Impact it has on Jails and Opioid Addiction and the Impact on Pregnant Females.
Sheriff reported that a long time vendor has deteriorated in their quality of services for the Sheriff’s Department. There are no contractual agreements with them and Sheriff has been using other vendors.
The Commissioners are in support of the Sheriff’s Office partnering with Bangor Police Department. Bangor PD will provide a full time city employee for a Computer Crimes Analyst. This employee has already been trained and equipment needed has already been secured. This person will be a tremendous support by taking data off computers, cell phones, etc. Sheriff believes it will be approximately $40 K, and Sheriff will report back with the financial proposal from Bangor PD Sheriff’s (Dept. 12) 2020 Budget Review -
Sheriff Morton and Lt. Keith Hotaling reported back with updated information including the six new patrol deputies. Sheriff reports that the revenue will offset the increased cost.
Commissioner Baldacci stated the $40K for our share of the Bangor Computer Crime Analyst employee will need to be added as well. Sheriff wanted on record that as one of the larger counties, Penobscot is one of the lowest in salaries. The Commissioners said they would discuss this among themselves in an Executive Session before the meeting ended.
DA (Dept. 5) 2020 Budget Review –
Office Manager Kristine Higgins reviewed the DA (Dept. 5) budget for the 2020 year, specifically payroll. The increase will promote a current Clerical Specialist 37.5 hour week position, to Clerical Specialist II, 40 hour week position.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve DA (Dept. 5) Budget as presented. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the Motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Probate (Dept. 11) 2020 Budget Review –
Registrar Renee Stupak reviewed Probate (Dept. 11) budget for the 2020 year, specifically payroll. The increase requested includes promoting a current Clerical Specialist 37.5 hour week position, to Clerical Specialist II 37.5 hour week position.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the increase in the payroll line (Clerical Specialist II). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
EMDC (Dept. 30) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Director of Community Initiatives, Vicki Rusbult presented EMDC (Dept. 30) budget for the 2020 year. EMDC is requesting a $3 K increase or 4.84% from $62K to $65K.
Vicki stated the reason for the increase is to help offset the administrative and overhead costs associated with launching the Executive Director of Economic Development for the Katahdin Region.
After discussion, Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the same amount as last year - $62,000 and take $3 K from the PILT fund to fulfil the request of $65,000. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Green Valley Program (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the remaining program donation services that were requesting the same as the previous years.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve Green Valley Program Donation of $5 K for the 2020 year. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Rape Response (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Tamar Mathieu, Executive Director and Amanda Chambers, Program Manager of the Rape Response Services (Dept. 34) presented the Rape Response Services Budget for the 2020 year – it was noted the budget request is the same as last year, $2,000. Tamar thanked the Commissioners for their support through the years.
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the request from Rape Response Services; seconded by Commissioner Sanborn. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Bangor Shelter (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the Bangor Shelter budget for the year 2020. Judy noted budget request is the same as last year - $15,000.
Commissioner Cushing motioned to approve the Bangor Shelter budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Bangor Public Library (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the Bangor Public Library budget for the year 2020. Judy noted budget request is the same as last year - $7,300.
Commissioner Cushing motioned to approve the Bangor Public Library budget. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Orono Haz Mat Team (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the Orono Haz Mat Team budget for the year 2020. Judy noted budget request is the same as last year - $24,000.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the Orono Haz Mat Team budget. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Bangor Area Recovery Network (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Bruce Campbell presented the BARN (Dept. 34) budget for the 2020 year. Bruce thanked the commissioners for their support last year for heat pumps. Bruce is requesting $17,500 for the 2020 budget.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the BARN budget. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Pine Tree Hospice (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the Pine Tree Hospice budget for the year 2020. Judy noted budget request is the same as last year - $1,000.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the Pine Tree Hospice budget. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Hirundo Wildlife Refuge (Dept. 34) 2020 Budget Presentation -
Jennifer Brooks presented the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge (Dept. 34) budget for the 2020 year. Jennifer is requesting $15,000 from the County. Jennifer spoke on what Hirundo offers educationally for the community and thanked the Commissioners for their support last year in the 2019 budget.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve Hirundo Wildlife Refuge for $10,000. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Cooperative Extension Service (Dept. 35) 2020 Budget Presentation
Theresa Tilton presented the County Extension Services (Dept. 35) budget for the 2020 year. It is a 4% increase in the budget to $78,722.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the County Extension Services. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Penquis (Dept. 36) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Tamar Mathieu and Amanda Chambers presented the Penquis (Dept. 36) budget for the year 2020. It was noted the budget request is the same as last year - $18,500.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the Penquis budget request. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Soil Conservation (Dept. 38) 2020 Budget Presentation –
Judy Alexander presented the Soil Conservation (Dept. 38) department budget for the 20 year. It is a 36.56% increase ($69,469 total request). The increase in budget is to due to an employee changing from single to family insurance.
Commissioner Sanborn motioned to approve the Soil Conservation Budget as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0. Finance (Dept. 7) 2020 Budget Review
Judy Alexander revisited her request for a new administrative assistant. She states she is willing to compromise for a 24 hour position. The Commissioners stated they would discuss this further in Executive Session.
Recess – 10:10 a.m. until 10:20 a.m.
Deeds Update –
Registrar Susan Bulay presented the Commissioners a copy of the invoice received for the maps restoration totaling $39,635. It was noted that some of these maps were maps for the UT at a cost of $18,901 and we could possibly use PILT funds for that.
The Commissioners decided to delay a decision until next week to receive further clarification.
Joanna Russell introduced her new Program Assistant, Rebecca Bryant. Rebecca started her new position Tuesday and Joanna is very excited about Rebecca’s uniqueness. Commissioner Baldacci congratulated and welcomed Rebecca to her new position.
Joanna reported that last Wednesday was the first session of Breaking Barriers to Employment. She states that it was very well received with 50 people in attendance.
Joanna states that the same program will be held in Houlton November 6th.
Joanna is looking for the five chief elected officials to meet.
Administration Update –
EMA provided an update to report as follows:
o There were no concerns to report from the wind/rain event last week. Northern Light had a system wide network issue– Bangor Fire provided large industrial fans to cool their IT room. (This room had overheated when AC unit failed) o Michelle attended a Department of Homeland Security Assessment at EMCC last Thursday. o Michelle and Brad Nuding will attend a tabletop exercise next week with the City of Old Town and VOAD (Volunteer Agencies active in Disaster). The objective of the exercise is to work with Old Town on local resources to help during emergent situations. o There will be an Annual Regional EMA meeting with EMERA Maine Thursday to review procedures during power outages. o We will be attending a tabletop exercise next month in Augusta. CMP is hosting Day 1 of a national utility exercise. The focus is to work with community partners on improving integration and communications procedures. o Out rescheduled State Donations & Volunteer Management Class is next month. This will wrap up our training classes for the year.
Judy reported that Maine will be celebrating our 200 year anniversary next year. There will be a parade on May 16th in Lewiston. We need to report if we would like to participate. Sheriff Morton injected that the Sheriff’s Office plans on participating and will be building a float.
Mary Anne emailed new letters to the Commissioners from the public in regard to the size of a new jail.
It was noted during budget presentations that the Holden Trust Committee sent a thank you note to the commissioners for their support a few years back.
The Sunshine Club account balance is approximately $1200. This account has supported and paid for the yearly holiday luncheon and Groundhog Day pizza party. Judy recommends for this year’s Holiday Luncheon, half of the budget comes from the Sunshine Club account and the balance from the Commissioners budget.
Sheriff’s Office holds a yearly barbeque for his department and they use fundraising to support that. Commissioner Baldacci stated that this is an entire County luncheon with no exclusion amongst departments. Erika Honey stated that the Sunshine Committee met and they have decided to also include the Holiday Luncheon to serve as a Recognition to years in service with the County.
After discussion on fundraising, Treasurer John Hiatt will look into what it would take to have an ATM machine in the lobby of the jail.
Judy reported that the RFP for Flooring in the Probate and Deeds Offices has been placed on our website and will be in the Saturday newspaper. The bids for this will close on Monday, November 4 and opened at the November 5th meeting. Also on our website and advertised through INDEED is the UT Director position.
Judy provided an email indicating there has been a $ 260 M opioid settlement in Cuyahoga and Summit County’s, Ohio.
Judy was happy to report that the TAN is paid off in full.
Judy reported that she sent out 19 reminders to municipalities that have not paid their taxes to date.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Alexis Smith and Jordanna Sprague – Comp Time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $230,833.32 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $94,827.48 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: NONE Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: $5,836.14
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) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Sheriff Morton, John Hiatt, Judy Alexander, Chief Birch and Lt. Hotaling. Session ended at 12:01 p.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 12:14 p.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Judy Alexander and Erika Honey. Session ended at 12:35 p.m.
After the Executive Session, the Commissioners took the following votes regarding various budget requests:
Sheriff’s Department – Commissioner Cushing made a motion to adjust the five administrative personnel wage by 3% raise instead of the 2.5% COLA. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Department of Probate – Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to adjust the Probate Judge’s Salary to $45,000 annually to adjust the Probate Registrar’s and Deed Registrar’s salaries to a 3% raise instead of the 2.5% COLA. Seconded by Commissioner Cushing. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Finance Department – Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to add a 24-hour clerical assistant position to the Finance Department at the rate of up to $16.00/hour. Seconded by Commissioner Cushing. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Meeting Adjourned-
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 12:41 p.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve 3-0
Certified By: Judith Alexander for Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner