Commissioners sign onto class action suit against opioid drug companies
Lincoln County Commissioners on Tuesday joined a class action lawsuit against companies that manufacture and distribute opioid drugs, to recoup the costs of law enforcement, emergency medical response and medical treatment for people suffering from opioid overdose or rehabilitation.
Commissioners agreed to authorize County Administrator Carrie Kipfer to engage the services of Napoli Shkolnik and Trafton, Matzen, Belleau, and Frenette to pursue the suit. The county joins Cumberland and Penobscot counties, and Biddeford, Saco, Waterville and Bangor.
There is no financial risk to the county, according to James Belleau. There is a 25 percent contingency fee, plus expenses, if the suit is successful, Belleau said.
The Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce has entered into a no-cost lease agreement with Lincoln County to rent space in the lobby area of the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission building on Route 1 across from Big Al’s. The Chamber will maintain its summer presence on the Main Street Pier, but will be at the Planning Commission building year round. Although the Chamber will pay no rent, it will do some of the renovation work to improve the lobby.
The commission approved the request; the Chamber will take the issue to its board Feb. 22, although Chair Monique McRae said the board has been in favor of the move. Currently, the Chamber has no winter quarters. The plan is to staff the new facility from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The county agreed to go with The First National Bank for its tax anticipation note. The bank had provided the low bid at the last meeting.
The Sheriff’s Department announced the resignation of Special Services Deputy Will Owen, who is moving to the Yarmouth Police Department, but has agreed to stay on part time with the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioners accepted three highway safety grants totaling $24,620 for OUI, speed enforcement and distracted driving. A fourth grant, for seatbelt enforcement, is anticipated.
According to Communications Director Joseph Westrich, all 22 fire departments in Lincoln County have signed up for the “I am responding” system that provides people at an emergency scene with information about who is coming to the scene, and provides maps and information about fire hydrants, among other support services.
According to Emergency Management Director Casey Stevens, all the towns turned in their paperwork for the federal disaster declaration. The initial estimate was about $500,000 for public agency costs, mostly in debris removal and overtime. Stevens said the actual figure is somewhat lower. He said towns that are working toward mitigating future hazards may be eligible for additional grants. The Project Lifesaver program, which could find people prone to wandering, such as adults with dementia or children with autism, will be tested and training will be offered May 7 and 8.
The fee for passport applications increases April 1, from $25 - $35.