Lincoln County Commissioners

Brackett: Sheriffs making progress on ICE detainer question

Commissioners retire TAN, screen new EMA website
Posted:  Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 8:30am
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Lincoln County’s tax anticipation note has been retired after 206 days, finance director Michelle Cearbaugh told county commissioners Tuesday. That is 13 days fewer than last year, and saved the county $1,561 in interest income, she said. The county takes out the short-term loan annually to fund operations before tax payments come in from the towns.

The EMA department demonstrated its new website at lincolncountyema.net. In addition to breaking weather and emergency information, it will allow people to apply for volunteer teams and sign up for training online.  The Maine Emergency Management Agency is updating evacuation routes, which will then be added to the new website.

Sheriff Todd Brackett said he and his fellow county sheriffs had a productive meeting with Gov. Paul LePage following a dispute over whether or not sheriffs would continue to hold inmates beyond their jail terms or beyond the statutory holding period allowed for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to determine if the person could be arrested for entering the country illegally. Brackett said the sheriffs raised constitutional issues involving probable cause, and issues of liability to the counties if someone was detained unlawfully.

Brackett will hold an auction in November on items whose owners either couldn’t be located or abandoned the objects, from jewelry to tools to boats and ATV’s.

A new protocol for fire emergency communications is in place, and Bristol’s fire department is making reflective signs to be placed in front of residences as a small fundraiser for the fire department. Communications director Mike Westrich said he was hopeful other towns will follow suit because the cost is lower than the ordinary cost of making and posting the reflective signs.

Judge of Probate William Avantaggio discussed legislation which would have prohibited probate judges from appearing as lawyers before any other probate judge, but would have in time also prohibited them from practicing law at all. The measure passed both houses this session but was vetoed and sustained. Avantaggio said if the issue comes forward again and passes, many sitting probate judges would have to resign because their work as probate judges is, in most cases, only a day per week.

The registrar of deeds discussed a possible issue with the transfer tax revenue share the counties receive .As the deeds transfer tax reporting goes online, despite the work done in the counties, county employees are concerned the counties may stop receiving 10 percent for doing the transfer. All agreed to watch the issue and discuss its implications with the towns, which would end up shouldering the tax burden. Currently Lincoln County receives $112,000 per year.