Cumberland County Newsletter

Legislative Activity

As the new legislative session gears up, all eyes are on the election. The January session will depend totally on how the November election goes, with the entire House and Senate up for gra bs, as well as the Governorship. The Commissioners, staff and the Maine County Commissioners Association are currently reviewing possible options for bills. Included are thoughts on upgrading old statutes on the books for county government which no longer apply (i.e. too old), means to improve county government, possible charter revisions and others. We have also reached out to the municipalities in the county for their thoughts on potential Legislation affecting them. All ideas are welcome and can be sent to Assistant County Manager Bill Whitten

Commissioner Mark Grover

Commissioner Update

We wish Commissioner Grover the best and thank him for his dedication. Due to changes in the districts, Commissioner Grover  will no longer be a Cumberland County Commissioner effective December 31. Former Commissioner Gorden is running unopposed in District 3. Commissioner Cloutier and Commissioner Coward’s terms are up, effective December 31. Their districts did not change and they are running for re-election, both unopposed. Commissioners Jamieson and Witonis will not be up for re-election until 2016.

Board of Corrections

Over the summer, several of members of the County have been working on many committeesto bring the Board of Corrections (BOC) up to the standards required by the Legislation passed last spring. This involves setting requirements for operational, financial and program procedures for all fifteen county jails statewide. A report will be presented to the Corrections Working Group (CWG) and then passed along to the “full” Board of Corrections. With the new legislation, a five member board of directors is required, but the Governor has refused to appoint two new members, leaving the board with only three of the five necessary members. This is due to him opposing the bill and it being passed via a veto override in May.

Cross Insurance Arena

Cross Insurance Arena

The $33 million renovation has been completed and Cross Insurance Arena (CIA) has already hosted several concerts and events, including the Pirates coming back celebration. Over the summer, long time General Manager Steve Crane retired after 37 years working for the CIA, 27 of them as general manager. Dale Olmstead, former town manager of Freeport, has been filling in as “Interim Manager.” The Board of Trustees is currently negotiating a management contract with the private firm, Global Spectrum. This will provide the arena with many more resources, including a better opportunity to attract acts because of the number of arenas they manage around the world, staff training and food services opportunities. We also thank Cross Insurance and all of our sponsors for their willingness to support the new arena.

Grant Funds Received

Over the course of the summer, Nadeen Daniels and the Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, The Ferguson Group, provided technical and grant writing support for two distinct grant applications. Both submissions were successful in the receipt of a grant award. The first grant involves an award of nearly $600,000 to reduce recidivism among inmates with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. This application was co-motivated by the county Sheriff's Office and several local area service providers with history serving adult offenders. The grant will fund a two year program to provide support to eligible inmates for the development and implementation of comprehensive and collaborative strategies to address the challenges posed by reentry. The objective of the program is to provide offenders with appropriate evidence-based services including addressing individual criminogenic needs based on a reentry plan that relies on a risk and needs assessment. Approximateately 100 offenders will be served and will receive a continuum of care through forensic case management, in-jail treatment and social programming. Upon release, the participants will continue their engagement with treatment, health treatment, peer support services, vocational services, community supervision and community services.  

The second grant award consists of a $97,000 Farmers Market Promotions grant for a Gorham Farm, Plowshares to provide a marketing and promotion program to increase consumption of and access to locally grown products produced and sold at Plowshares. Ten Maine farms/farmers will benefit from the program through sales of their products at Plowshares' on-site farm market. For more information on either of these grants, contact Nadeen Daniels, Grants and Special Projects Liaison. 

CCRCC Tower

CCRCC's New Tower

A new 190 foot communications tower has been erected at the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center (CCRCC), completed this summer. This project has been years in the making, but with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and the help of Bill Holmes, Jim Budway and staff, the funding was appropriated. Bruce Tarbox and his team achieved the very difficult task of raising the tower, which is now operational to better serve our community police and fire departments, as well as the Sheriff’s Department.

GPCOG Membership

The County is now officially a paying and voting member of GPCOG and a formal member of their new Executive Committee. Commissioner Witonis is now involved with the development of a new strategic plan for the organization. This allows Cumberland County to collaborate on a larger level between the two organizations for better develop of programs for our citizens.

Cumberland County's new website

Cumberland County Updates Website

The new county website is now up and running smoothly. Lead by the “Fickett Team” of staff members from most all county departments, they worked tirelessly taking the old site to a new level, with many changes, but most importantly the ease of  updating the site by each department. This new version also allows us to live stream meetings. Stay tuned for updates! 

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