Waldo County: the third leg of the local property tax stool

Waldo County Commissioner minutes, Feb. 1, 2017

Posted:  Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 8:30am


PRESENT: Commissioners William D. Shorey (Chairman), Amy R. Fowler and Betty I. Johnson. Also present was County Clerk Barbara Arseneau to take minutes.

Call to Order: Commissioner Shorey called the court session to order at 9:00 a.m.


Present with the Commissioners was Deputy Treasurer Karen Trussell, who reported the following: There are a few lines that are high, such as the Sheriff’s clothing allowance. There was discussion about whether or not there was an increase in the clothing allowance that was not budgeted for and M. Wadsworth clarified that this was for non-union employees and is at the Sheriff’s discretion according to the Employee Handbook.

County Appropriations:
The budget is 8% expended. It could be a little over 8% expended at this time of year.

County Revenue for:
The County revenue received is 7.06%.

Corrections Appropriations:
The Corrections appropriations is at 14% and is above the 8% because the inmate contract payment had to be paid at the beginning of the year.

Corrections Revenue:
The Corrections revenue received is .22%.

Reserve Accounts: K. Trussell submitted the 2016 Reserve Funds for January through June.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to file the Treasurer’s Report. Unanimous.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to authorize payment of the January 31, 2017 General Fund Accounts Payable warrant and January 26, 2017 payroll in the amount of
$274,039.58. Unanimous.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to authorize payment of the January 31, 2017 Capital, Active & Restricted Reserve warrant in the amount of $25,993.96. Unanimous.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to authorize payment of the January 31, 2017 Reentry Accounts Payable warrant and January 26, 2017 payroll in the amount of
$111,193.02. Unanimous.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to authorize payment of the January 31, 2017 MCRRC Capital & Restricted Reserve warrant in the amount of $50,329.30. Unanimous.


Present to report correspondence was County Clerk Barbara Arseneau as follows:

1. Human Resources/Payroll Director Michelle Wadsworth met briefly with the Commissioners to ask them to sign the Facilities Pay Scale for 2017 as the original had the wrong year and effective date. The Commissioners signed the updated pay scale as requested.

2. Communications Director Owen Smith submitted a letter to the Commissioners informing them that he received a letter of resignation from Dispatcher Katie Dakin on January 18, 2017 indicating that it would be effective January 29, 2017.
**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to accept Dispatcher Katie Dakin’s resignation submitted January 18, 2017 and taking effect January 29, 2017. Unanimous.

3. B. Arseneau mentioned to the Commissioners that they had recently stated that they would like some changes in how they are notified about pending employment terminations. Past and current practice has been that if a Department Head was contemplating terminating an employee’s employment for cause, the Department Head notified the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners in advance but did not provide any details. The Commissioners explained that if a Department Head is contemplating terminating employment for an employee for cause, all three Commissioners need to be telephoned by the Department Head in advance of the termination and to give the Commissioners a brief synopsis of the reason the Department Head is considering the termination. If a Commissioner cannot be reached by telephone, an email message marked “CONFIDENTIAL” in the subject line should be sent with that information. The Commissioners instructed B. Arseneau to send out a memo regarding this change to the Department Heads.

4. Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton sent a letter to the Commissioners dated January 31, 2017 stating that Detective Gerald Lincoln submitted his resignation as full-time detective for the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office effective February 2, 2017 but will remain as a part-time Deputy.
**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to accept with regret the resignation of Gerald Lincoln as full-time detective but acknowledged that he will remain as a part-time deputy, effective February 2, 2017. Unanimous.

5. B. Arseneau told the Commissioners she had received an email from Belfast City Councilor Mike Hurley asking if the County ever had a “public comment” forum during their court sessions. After brief consideration of this, the Commissioners voted as follows:
**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to hold an “Open for Public Comment” section on the agenda during the second court session of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Unanimous.

6. Assistant District Attorney Neil McLean, Jr. sent a letter to the Commissioners notifying them that Victim Witness Advocate Kathleen Greeley has completed five years of employment on February 1, 2017 and is eligible for an increase in vacation hours she can accrue each year to 120. The Commissioners noted this increase.

7. B. Arseneau asked the Commissioners to consider if they wish to participate in some manner in National County Government month in April and to let her know in advance for planning purposes. The theme for 2017 is “Brilliant Ideas at Work”.

8. The Commissioners discussed changes in their 2017 Court Session Schedule. Court Sessions have been scheduled as follows:

Special Court Session on February 22, 2017 starting at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 2, 2017 starting at 9:00 a.m.
Monday, March 20, 2017 starting at 9:00 a.m.
Thursday, April 20, 2017 starting at 1:00 p.m.

Monday, May 1, 2017 starting at 9:00 a.m.


B. Arseneau requested that the Commissioners approve the minutes from the January 18, 2017 Waldo County Commissioners Court Session as presented.
**A. Fowler moved, B. Johnson seconded to approve the minutes from the January 18, 2017 Waldo County Commissioners Court Session. Unanimous.


Present with the Commissioners was Keith Nealley who reported the following:

1. Last year on January 28th, he was appointed as Safety Officer for the County for one year term. He briefly outlined some of the work he had accomplished in this capacity.
**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to appoint Keith Nealley as Safety Officer for a three- year term. Unanimous.

2. Work at Old Jailer’s House: K. Nealley removed the carpeting and the other floor material all the way to the subflooring, so it looks better. There are also some used tires that need to be removed from the site. They are odd sizes – some are low profile, some are large. He has been made aware that a local garage will take those at no cost to the County and will see what he can do to get them removed.

4. Jail Elevator Update: The Jail elevator is in various stages of demolition. Pine State Elevator works four 10-hour days and stays locally. It looks like it may be operational in another month. He hopes this will be under budget, possibly by as much as $20,000.00.

5. Heat and Jail: Commissioner Shorey and K. Nealley had discussed some heat pumps at the County Jail. They have air-conditioning and supplemental heat components. The Jail gets uncomfortably hot and humid in the summer. If there are cost savings from the elevator work, perhaps those could be applied to this project. K. Nealley submitted a list of vendors that sell heat pumps. There was brief discussion about the vendors. K. Nealley said that this work couldn’t be done until spring because they would need to get up on the roof. He asked if the Commissioners would be willing to consider this, particularly if the elevator came in under budget. K. Nealley said he would like to have Sun Dog Solar come in and do a presentation for the Commissioners.

A. Fowler said she recalled that this meets the requirements for an Efficiency Maine grant. K. Nealley confirmed that.

W. Shorey said he felt that the Commissioners should recognize the need for this and maybe discuss further solar panels, not necessarily for the Sheriff’s Office but for the Jail. He recommended planning for this work.

A. Fowler said she is anxious to see the possible savings from the elevator and to look toward considering the heat pumps to continue the updates.

K. Nealley said it might increase the electricity bills. He thought having someone come in and talk about the project and potential costs and savings would be a good idea.

W. Shorey is interested in solar for the Jail so it can generate its own hot water. He wasn’t necessarily interested in putting it on the new Public Safety Building.

B. Johnson asked K. Nealley to search to see if there are any other grants out there. He said he would get some information from Sun Dog Solar and also will research potential grants.

6. Old Communications Center Generator: W. Shorey said that the YMCA called and believes they are 3-phase system. He asked if the generator is a 1-phase and was told yes. Since this was a misunderstanding, Commissioner Shorey recommended the County take the generator back and try to find another interested party to sell it to. K. Nealley said at one point another organization was interested in it and would touch base with them.


Present with the Commissioners was Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton and Lt. Matthew Curtis.

Present was Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton. He and the Commissioners briefly discussed the bid proposals that were submitted two weeks ago and it appears that Darling’s had the best proposal. The Commissioners had provided pre-approval to order those by email. They have been ordered.
**A. Fowler moved, B. Johnson seconded to accept the vehicle bid proposals from Darling’s in Bangor. Unanimous.

1. J. Trafton reported that Detective Gerald Lincoln’s last day is today. Sheriff Trafton stated that this was a great loss to the County of Waldo but he believes that collaborating with Belfast PD will be even better with the connection between G. Lincoln and the County.

2. Interviews are being held for applicants to fill the position vacated by G. Lincoln.

3. A. Fowler asked why the clothing allowance was in the red. J. Trafton said he forgot to include the new Domestic Violence Detective position in the 2017 budget.


Present was EMA Director Dale Rowley.

1. Decon/Hazmat Team: D. Rowley held a meeting, which was well attended – 15 out of 16, and the one missing was on the phone. They have agreed to meet once a month. He explained that certifications have expired, and they need to “get up to speed” on trainings, etc.

2. The equipment trailer is under a mutual aid agreement to be stored in the public safety building in Searsport. The trailer was moved to the North Searsport Fire station without his knowledge. There is no vehicle large enough to pull this trailer or he would move it to the pole barn near the County Public Safety Buildings. W. Shorey told him to speak with Corporal Christopher Albert to see about using the truck that is usually used at the Garden, as it is a 3⁄4 ton truck. There was discussion about what is a central location and practical to store it. Brooks is central, but there is no staff to pull it, so it will potentially be kept in Belfast.

3. EMS volunteering is dwindling in support even faster than the firefighters in most towns. There just are not enough people to respond. To be licensed as an EMT is nearly $2,000.00. There is a law that permits counties to set up a county EMS. D. Rowley said that the Commissioners may be approached about this. The only other option is Delta or some other outside contractor. This is becoming a real, serious issue.

4. D. Rowley submitted the County Hazard Mitigation Plan. FEMA Region 1 Boston reviewed it and sent it back for the Commissioners to accept.
**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to approve the Waldo County Hazard Mitigation Plan. Unanimous.

5. Brownfields Planning Discussion: There was brief discussion of questions and answers with what the State Historic Preservation’s input has been on the Old Jail, Old Jailer’s House and Barn and future planning for mitigation.

6. D. Rowley mentioned that he is considering surveying the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office in Waldo to see if it would be suitable to use as an alternate EOC.

7. W. Shorey said he has been talking with the Sheriff and when it comes time for changing out the trucks in the Sheriff’s Office, maybe it would make sense to consider retaining two of the lower mileage Sheriff’s trucks for EMA and the Garden rather trading them in.


1. A. Fowler has met with a number of legislators and two members of Criminal Justice related to the Jails. There are Flagships, Status Quo, or Reentry/72-hour holds. All need each other. All need to be on good terms with each other. All three need to work together and recognize that the financial needs of each are different. There has been progress with people understanding that better, but overall, it has been a very confusing and extremely frustrating process because so many counties are looking out just for themselves. W. Shorey asked if counties will be underfunded down the road and asked if Waldo needed to ask for more in the supplemental budget. A. Fowler said that Waldo has planned ahead and is proactive so, thus far, does not need to ask for more in the supplemental budget.

2. The Commissioners discussed the GIS meeting in Hallowell and decided that if she was willing, they would send Commissioner Johnson. Commissioner Johnson agreed to attend.


K. Trussell submitted the 2017 Waldo County Tax and Jail Tax Assessment to the Towns of Waldo County at $7,587,701.14. She applied what the County was below the LD 1 CAP as the overlay, which was $75,616.92.
**A. Fowler moved, B. Johnson seconded to set the assessment at $7,587,701.14 with the MIL rate of 0.001752821. Unanimous.


The next regular Commissioners Court Session will be Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

**B. Johnson moved, A. Fowler seconded to adjourn the court session at 10:55 a.m. Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted by Waldo County Clerk