Prior to the County Commissioners’ meeting Jan. 3, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap swore in recently reelected officials. William Blodgett, commissioner for the second district, Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett, Treasurer Richard Newell, and Registrar of Probate Catherine Moore all took the oath in the Superior Courtroom. Registrar of Deeds Rebecca S. Wotton, who was also reelected, was sworn in earlier and did not take part in the ceremony.
Dunlap could perform the swearings-in since he is also a Dedimus justice, whose sole function is to swear in elected officials. Dunlap said that in the past, Maine had justices of the peace who could perform this task and the tasks of a notary public and probate judge. The justices of the peace were broken into separate jobs between 1981 and 1988. A new office called justice of the peace performs the duties formerly of the “complaint justice,” an officer of the court allowed to issue search and arrest warrants within the district courts.
Members of Blodgett's family surrounded him for the event. His wife Carol died Dec. 29 after a long illness. A small reception was held prior to the commissioners’ meeting, which followed the swearings-in.
Blodgett will serve as chairman for the next year. Blodgett asked Lt. Rand Maker about the status for replacing Bill Ellsworth in the ARC program. Maker said they are working on that, and volunteers and other staff members are currently helping with the program. “They want to make sure they have the right person,” he said. “But at the same time, none of us want to lose any momentum. Volunteers are great, but we need a real plan.”
The commission, short Mary Trescott, approved the shellfish contracts for Bristol, Bremen and South Bristol. Newcastle and Damariscotta were still outstanding.
The Communications Department had its Zetron service contract for the 9-1-1 software approved, for $8,750; and the Homeland Security grant for the Emergency Management Agency budget of $113,777 was accepted. It represents half the agency’s budget.
Administrator Carrie Kipfer announced the county will use Constellation Energy at a set rate of 0.08760 cents per kilowatt-hour, a price locked in before a 15 percent hike took effect Jan. 1. Kipfer is looking to work with the Department of Corrections to sign a lease agreement for $10 per square foot for space the DOC leases in the old jail, for a two-year term. Several members of the Two Bridges Regional Jail Authority, including Brackett and Blodgett, will renew their terms on the board.
Some newspapers kept in the vault for public use will be digitalized using local and grant funding. Lisa LaPlante resigned as Probate Clerk as she and her husband prepare to move, and the county finalized the $16,000 snow plow contract with Steele’s Landscaping for the courthouse complex and the planning office.