Commissioners sign MOU with corrections officer union, approve TIF funding limits

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[Update 6:27 p.m.] – Wednesday’s budget committee meeting will no longer be available by Zoom. Those wishing to attend can do so via Vast teleconferencing.


FARMINGTON – County commissioners met Tuesday, approving new limits on the amount of money that most projects and individuals will be able to draw from the county’s Tax Increment Financing fund and authorizing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and National Correctional Employees Union to temporarily serve meals.

The county’s TIF committee, consisting of residents of the Unorganized Territory responsible for helping distribute funds generated by the Kibby wind power project, have recommended limiting the amount of money a single project or individual could receive, to $100,000 and $50,000, respectively. The limit on project funding only applies to each project, County Clerk Julia Magoon said Tuesday, not to the organizations applying for funds. TIF funds may also be accessed by U.T. residents for education purposes; the $50,000 limit would be applied per applicant.

Commissioners could waive those limits for specific projects, Magoon and commissioners noted Tuesday – for example, additional funding could be provided to a large project capable of generating more jobs.

Commissioners approve the expenditures out of the TIF account, usually working off of the recommendations of the committee. The committee gathers periodically and evaluates proposals, weighing their merits with a scoring system.

On Tuesday, commissioners also agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and National Correctional Employees Union, representing personnel at the Franklin County Detention Center. The issue revolves around serving food to prisoners during the weekends. Previously, the jail used full-time cooks during the week and a part-time cooks to fill in weekends; however, both part-time cooks have since stopped working at the jail after one resigned and the other had issues with covering childcare. As there is no kitchen staff on the weekend, the jail has been having the full-time cooks prepare meals for the weekend, and then asked corrections officers to heat up and serve the food. The issue raised by the NCEU, Nichols said, was that request went beyond the bargaining unit’s typical duties.

The proposed budget includes funds for a 32.5-hour cook position to work weekends; that cost is somewhat mitigated by associated reductions in part-time lines. The MOU enables the corrections officers to assist with the weekend food service until June 30 or whenever the kitchen is staffed during the weekend, whichever happens later.

Commissioner Charlie Webster of Farmington said that he felt it was unnecessary to add a position just to serve food during the weekends. He said he wanted the point addressed in the next contractual negotiations with the NCEU. That contract will be entering its last year on July 1, 2020.

Tuesday’s brief meeting took place after the commissioners advanced $6.83 million in proposed expenditures last week. The county’s budget committee will begin their review at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the courthouse. To meet crowd size restrictions, only the nine committee members and a county official will be gathering in the same room at the county courthouse; members of the public wishing to attend will be able to do so via the Vast teleconferencing system by calling 207-560-0523 and utilizing the pin number of 196616.

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