Central Maine Power has notified Lincoln County commissioners it intends to seek Department of Environmental Protection water permits in Alna, Whitefield and Wiscasset. On Oct. 6, County Administrator Carrie Kipfer explained during the commissioners’ meeting the permits are part of the New England Clean Energy Connect project. CMP is part of the project which would extend its transmission lines from Quebec to Massachusetts, sending Canadian-generated hydropower. Kipfer reported application copies are available for inspection at the municipal offices.
Maine Department of Transportation also notified county officials it has filed five notices of layout and takings of several small parcels for right of ways in three towns. Three are for Wiscasset properties and one each for Edgecomb and Whitefield. “These are for shoulder work and paving projects. The department needs small slivers of land for right-of-ways,” Kipfer said. The notices of filings are available for public inspection at the Registry of Deeds.
In other action, Bristol resident Mark Ward encouraged commissioners to enter into a short term contract extension with Casella Waste Systems of West Bath. The contract expires Oct. 15 and the county and Casella are negotiating an extension. Ward co-authors a local trash and recycling column. He believes an exclusive contract with Casella would crowd out competition in Maine’s shrinking recycling market. “I ask you to do a shorter rather than a longer extension. Casella is the biggest player in the field and I think you should consider what that does to our future options.”
Commissioners unanimously approved buying six ballistic vests for the sheriff’s department. Funding was approved in 2019, but the department delayed purchasing until they found materials for a complete vest. The six vests cost $7,130.67. A federal grant paid for half and last year’s sheriff’s office budget funded the remainder.
Lincoln County Communications received approval for two purchase orders for a digital upgrade of law enforcement radio equipment. Commissioners approved $2,506.10 for the communication base radio upgrade. For programming the portable and mobile radios and adding additional channels, commissioners approved spending $3,840.
Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens reported the county received a federal Homeland Security grant funding several projects. The county received $38,000 for purchasing a drone. The grant provides $35,919.93 for the rescue task force team. Other grants included $5,000 for the DST (deconstruction strike team) Hazmat, $2,000 for the search and rescue team, and $2,500 for the amateur radio team. Stevens also reported the department received a second Homeland Security grant. Each year, the department receives a Homeland Security program grant which covers nearly half of department expenses. The HSPG 2020 totals $227,554 with the federal government providing $113,777 and the county accounting for $113,777. “It used to cover half of our costs but that was about five years ago,” Stevens said. “Our costs have increased, but the grant remains the same. So it’s now a 50/50 match.”
Commissioners also approved a $3,600 purchase order for a recently completed HazMat operations course for firefighters. Boothbay Fire Department hosted the training for 24 local firemen who either took the training or participated in a refresher course.
There will be no December Lincoln County Spirit of America ceremony at the courthouse. Several other counties have cancelled theirs due to the coronavirus, and Lincoln is following their example. Instead, the commissioners will send certificates to each recipient and recognize them with a formal ceremony along with 2021 recipients next year.
Commissioners concluded their meeting in an executive session on a legal matter. They took no formal action afterward. Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission Office.