Dead River keeping county out of ‘fuelish’ situation

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 8:30am

    With diesel fuel prices soaring, Dead Rive Co. is delaying 12-month fixed price contracts. As of May 16, AAA reported a gallon of diesel averaged $6.378 in Maine. So Dead River is telling their volume customers, like Lincoln County, not to enter into a fixed price deal. Instead, Finance Director Michelle Richardson told commissioners at the May 16 meeting, Dead River is charging bulk customers market price plus 25 cents per gallon. “The market is too volatile and the last thing they want is for their customers to lock into a high price then have the price drop,” she said. “We’re still paying  between $1 and $1.15 less than the pump price.”

    In other action, commissioners unanimously approved a contract renewal with the state for court security and entry screening. Chief Deputy Rand Maker updated commissioners on the contract details. The two-year agreement runs from Oct 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2023. The county receives $210,980 which Maker reported was a 10% increase. Commissioners also conditionally hired Rockland Police Sgt. Scott Solorzano of Jefferson. Maker told commissioners Solorzano’s background check was still pending.  

    Solorzano has worked in the Rockland department since 2008. Maker reported Solorzano was attracted by the department’s new compensation and incentive programs. “This is a win for us,” Maker said. “Scott has been interested in working here for a while. The numbers now finally matched up  through changes in our  department’s retirement package and hiring incentives. We hired someone who lives here in Lincoln County ready to go on the road,” he said. 

    While the sheriff’s department has added an employee, the communications center lost one. Director Tara Doe reported a probationary employee Heather Murphy-Shipley resigned May 4. This leaves the center with two dispatcher openings and one person in training. Doe reported the center will continue to advertise for new dispatchers. Doe had some good news. She reported the new five-console dispatcher center was finished. The county used American Rescue Plan Act funds to refurbish the center to meet COVID-19 safety protocols. Commissioners approved a $20,227.02 payment authorization for the remaining console. 

    A new face will join the county staff June 9. Commissioners approved hiring Laura Graziano of Vermont as the assistant county planner and GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping coordinator.  

    Commissioners also approved a deck railing replacement for the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission building. Krah Builders of Newcastle was the project’s only bidder. Commissioners accepted Krah’s $9,658 bid. “Contractors remain short-staffed and materials are hard to come by so that’s why we received only one bid,” County Administrator Carrie Kipfer said.

    Commissioners will meet next at 9 a.m. Monday, June 1 in the courthouse.