For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes July 28, 2020 2294
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 81°
Public Comment – None
Sheriff’s Update –
• Sheriff Troy Morton reported today’s jail total population is 160; 15 boarded in other facilities; 130 in Pre-Trial services. Holding two (2) inmates that belong to DOC-sentenced and waiting to be moved to the State. One inmate was transferred to MDOC because this inmate attacked and strangled one of our corrections officers. The officer was immobilized during the attack and was unable to signal for help. The officer is out of work because of this incident. We are l down six officers.
• In our law enforcement Division we have two open positions; one from a recent resignation and one for Northern Penobscot. We are hopeful to fill these positions sooner rather than later. We are short staffed with a couple deputies out on medical.
• Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the supplemental contract as presented with the Town of Milford. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed
• Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the Towns of Winn and Howland supplemental contracts as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
• Due to COVID issues some of the towns had not presented their contracts yet.
• There was a large burglary in the Town of Woodville; there was $30 K stolen and recovered of property.
• We are investigating a suicide in the Town of Exeter
• We are actively investigating a burglary at the Garland Town Office
• Pastor Ward and parishioners from the Charleston Church surprised us with notes, cards and letters of support for Law Enforcement and Correction Officers. They recognized staff with gift cards as well for the work they are doing.
• Lt. Hotaling is the lead on the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) which is replacing UCR (Unified Crime Reporting) as of January 1, 2021. This will be a new way of tracking crime in our state; and will be tracked through the Spillman software.
• The Sheriff’s department is monitoring available grants. We recently were approved for a $16K grant for PPE for the Sheriff’s Office (both Patrol and Corrections).
• Sheriff presented outgoing Facilities Director Cap Ayer a plaque with a key to the jail. Troy thanked Cap for all his work in the jail – piecing together an old building that’s falling apart.
• MEDPRO reports that they are following CDC guidelines. After initial evaluations, testing is performed on those that meet testing criteria. They have tested nine (9); not including those tests performed at the hospital.
• Sheriff states that there is an increase in the numbers of inmates being brought in to the jail. Two-thirds of the arrests this weekend were domestic violence cases; the rest were for burglary/thefts and other violations.
• Sheriff has secured a place for the next first offenders PACE Program in August. An arrestee is sentenced for 48 hours in jail; however, this program will use two -8-hour days outside. It is treated like “school” with multiple classes. This program eliminates the overnight stays which included medicine and meal dispensing. Sheriff is looking for a larger space in order to continue this program.
• The Courts are working diligently in not sentencing to jail. Peter Schleck, Court Administrator has been instrumental in assisting us with that process. Sheriff feels it would be more effective if minor hearings could be done thru video conferencing. This is more time and cost effective for the inmate and our staff.
• Sheriff testified in Augusta last week regarding Bail Reform.
UT Update -
• Director Shaw Weeks presented for signature a cease or comply with regulations letter for the illegal junkyard on the Tar Ridge/Averill Road. Signed.
• Director Weeks received some communication on the Benjamin Campbell Bridge project. There are still some items to work out.
• Our Paving project is starting this week.
• The application to LUPC is completed for the Mining Project in Mt. Chase.
Finance Update –
• Director Alexander provided a report on expenditures and revenues through June 30, 2020.
• On expenditures, we are looking to have less than 50% spent:
o Commissioners expenditures are slightly over because of their annual dues payment
o Treasurers budget is slightly over due to unexpected office equipment purchases
o The only major anticipated expenditure that Judy is aware of is the Sheriff’s vehicles. Monies have been set aside in a reserve fund account.
• The balance for the Katahdin Project is $152,171.80
• PILT Reserve is $186,052.00
• Our auditors will be on site August 11th and 12th
• 2021 Budget –
o Director Alexander presented a proposed budget calendar for 2021
o All the departments have been provided their budget worksheets to be returned back to finance by mid-August
o All letters to outside agencies have gone regarding their donation requests
o The November Budget Committee is not set. We will need to caucus this year to nominate two new members to the Committee; two additional municipal officials, one legislature official are Commissioner Selection’s.
• There have been three towns that have paid in taxes totaling $221 K
• Jail funding in the amount of $1,982,000 has been received; CCA funding is being held up until all the Counties report to the State.
• Administrator Collins asked Director Alexander to report the Year end numbers for Jail Fiscal Year for 2020 next week.
Administration Update –
• Administrator Collins stated that he will be participating in the MACCAM zoom meeting this Friday. On the agenda includes how $2.8M should be shared amongst the Counties. Hence, why it is important we know where we ended the 2020 Fiscal Year Budget.
• Administrator Collins shared communication received from the Department of the Interior executive order on building and rebuilding monuments.
• Final interviews were held for the Facilities Director position.
• FOP contract negotiations will resume in August.
• Commissioner Baldacci stated that the NACo Conference is being held virtually with no cost to the County.
• Payroll Change Notices signed for: Andrew Whitehouse and Marc Curtis – Resignation; Jeremiah Smith – Payroll Change
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for July 24, 2020: $ 237,644.05
• Accts Payable Warrant to be approved for July 21, 2020: $ 3,248.38
• Accts Payable Warrant to be approved for July 21, 2020: $ 3,248.38
• Accts Payable Warrant to be approved for July 28, 2020: $ 56,431.85
• UT Warrant to be approved: NONE
• UT TIF Warrant to be approved: NONE
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:00 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approved passed 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Administrator Collins, and Director Honey. Session ended at 10:25 a.m. No votes taken.
Tax Abatement Appeal Hearing – Kelehar
• Present were:
o Diamond Kelehar, Property Owner
o Dean Shaw, Witness
o Matthew Valentin, Property Owner
o David Lloyd, Howland Town Manager
o Leeann Salley, Tax Assessor for the Town of Howland
o Jonathan Pottle, Attorney for Town of Howland
• The property is located at 3 Main Street, Howland; Map Reference U01 Lot 151
• This property was purchased from the Town of Howland in a foreclosure bid February 13, 2016 in the amount of $5,000. A tour was taken in October of 2015 of the property by Fireman Josh O’Malley – a keyholder for the property. This property was used at the time for active training of cadets. When the property was purchased, it was deemed to be safe. During the tour Officer O’Malley stated that this house just needed a little TLC and re-piping (flex tubing). The bid was placed in December 2015 with no other bids being placed.
• The property was demolished on November 15, 2019. Property owners feel that they were not allowed the opportunity to provide their own demolition group to take down the building.
• Attorney Jonathan Pottle summarized that he feels the only adjustment for an abatement could be the property value assessed on April 1, 2019. The purchase was made on a distressed property for quitclaim deed. There will be adjustments made for the April 1, 2020 property value to reflect what is there and not there.
• Property Owner Diamond Kelehar believes that since this house would have allowed for 6 independent units, the house would have been assessed at $140,000. However, because no renovations on the property, the property owners feel that taxes should be in the amount of what they paid for property. ($5,000). For the record, the appellees are requesting an abatement on the cost of the demotion; Commissioner Baldacci stated that this is not the Commissioners jurisdiction.
• Ms. Kelehar is looking for advice on how to abate the tax bill that includes the demotion costs.
• Mr. Valentin would like the $5,000 that paid for property to be placed on the abatement.
• The Town responded that on the tax appeal application the requested amount for is from abatement from 2017 to present. Mr. Pottle responded that abatement cannot be made. (Property Owners paid the back taxes on property in order to acquire the property.) Mr. Pottle feels that the real issue stems from the costs of demotion.
• Commissioner Baldacci requested to hear from the Town Manager and Tax Assessor to hear the process to make sure it was fair and equitable to the property owners.
o David Lloyd was not the town manager at that time. The original town manager (David Wilson) is not at the hearing to explain the process. Attorney Pottle stated that his firm handled the process.
▪ It was a municipal building proceeding with a local hearing; a dangerous building order issued by the board of selectman
▪ Leeann Salley began her position as tax assessor in 2018. Ms. Salley states that she had no reason to be at that property since no building permits had been taken out. Ms. Salley noted that on 2011, Maine Services did a re-evaluation-based assessment. On 2017, the land was appraised at $18,400 and property assessed at $40,680. Those appraisals have continued until 2019.
• Ms. Kelehar responded that the attorney’s office from Bangor held a hearing in Bangor. The Town after selling the property deeming it to be safe, decided 7 days after purchase, that there was a main beam structure was fractured. Neighbors knew that this was a condemned property.
• The Commissioners stated that they would make a decision and get back to all parties.
• Hearing concluded at 11:08 a.m.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:09 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner