A settlement was approved by the Schuylkill County Commissioners in the appeal initiated by a West Penn Township property owner in action taken at the public meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Daniel M. and Linda J. Davies had appealed to the county court from the decision of the Schuylkill County Assessment Appeals Board which increased the assessment on their property by action started by the Tamaqua Area School District.

County Solicitor Robert Frycklund, who was the negotiator for the county, reached the settlement agreement. The parties stipulated to a decrease in the fair market value of a single family residence on 6.8 acres of land in the township from a $160,000 to $113,952 for only the 2010 real estate tax because the home, which formed the basis of the appeal, was subsequently demolished.

The agreement on the tax assessment for 2011 will be based upon the new combined fair market values of the land and the newly constructed home at $141,440. The action now has to be approved by a county judge.

The commissioners also approved a settlement in the appeal of Joseph H. Jones Jr. to decrease the fair market value of his property consisting of a single-family townhouse on 0.07 of an acre in West Brunswick Township from $152,000 to $145,000 for the tax year 2011.

Renew leases

Two lease renewals were approved by the commissioners.

One was for office space for District Justice James Ferrier in the Orwigsburg Borough Building for a period of five years from Jan. 1, 2011, and ending Dec. 31, 2015, at $3,000 a month. The rent for 2010 was $2,900 per month. The rental rate payments will increase yearly.

A lease renewal was approved between Stephen and Ann Marie Buzalko and the county for rental of the premises at 201 N. Centre St., Pottsville, for a five-year period with the rent increasing from the current rate of $2,900 per month to $3,000 on Jan. 1, 2011, for the duration of the lease which ends Dec. 31, 2015.

Other business

Bids are being requested for the disposal of solid waste from the courthouse, prison, solid waste and adult probation buildings in Pottsville; Rest Haven Home and Hospital in North Manheim Township; and the Senior Resource Center in Mahanoy City.

Approval was granted to pay $11,000 from the county's liquid fuels fund to Merrick Contracting Company for repairing abutments beyond the scope of the project for the county bridge which carries Mill Road over Deep Creek in Hubley Township.

A software support agreement was renewed with Enroute Emergency Systems, Tampa, Fla., for $93,568.96 for support of the Enroute cad system which was installed in 2002 at the 9-1-1 Emergency Center. The annual plan and five year plan of the Schuylkill County Housing Authority was approved through 2015.

A contract was approved with Benefits Data Trust, of Philadelphia, which has been designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging as the clearing house for the processing of low income subsidy and Medicare saving program applications that will be received from appraised programs statewide. The contract is for $47,100.

Two contracts to provide services to the Children and Youth Services Agency were approved. One was with Access Services, Inc., Orwigsburg, for the life sharing foster program at $110 per diem and the second with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Pottsville, for pre-match at $1,000 per unit and continuing client services at $250 per unit.

Five contracts were approved for Rest Haven Home and Hospital.

A contract was entered with Advance Medical Staffing and Prostate Company, both of Reading, for temporary nurse staffing; a contract was entered with GTS-Welco, Reading, for provision of medical oxygen for residents at a cost of $22,000 for the coming year; a contract was entered with On-Site Health Services for the provision of optometry and ophthalmology services for residents with payments from resident insurance billings; and a contract with Symphony Diagnostic Services, Horsham, for provision of mobile x-ray, EKG and ultrasound for residents at fees based on current Medicare fee schedule.

Personnel matters

Four county employees announced their retirement.

Charles Ross, Orwigsburg, executive director of the county's planning and zoning commission on Dec. 24 after 38 years of service; Diane Nevadomsky, Pottsville, second deputy, Register of Wills Office, Dec. 3; Sally Koons, Shenandoah Heights, second deputy, Clerk of Courts Office, Dec. 3; and Joseph Yesavage, Brockton, correctional officer in the county prison, Nov. 30.

There was one new appointment. Holly Landeck, Schuylkill Haven, as a part time licensed practical nurse at Rest Haven Home and Hospital at 15.99 per hour.

Two resignations were announced at Rest Haven Home. They were Erin Ernst, Schuylkill Haven, a full-time nurse's aide and Deborah McCready, Pottsville, part time nurse's aide.

Two promotions were announced in the Register of Wills Office, including Nancy Briggs, Auburn, to Clerk IV at $17.54 per hour, and Jeffrey Marnell, West Mahanoy Township, named second deputy at $18.50 per hour.

There was one termination, John O'Connor, Frackville, a caseworker with the Children and Youth Services Agency.

Public meeting

The public is invited to attend a meeting in the commissioners board room at the courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m. to review the proposed changes being offered by the Schuylkill County Planning Commission for the revised county zoning ordinance, which applies to all counties and boroughs which do not have their own ordinance.

Retirement board

The Schuylkill County Employees Retirement Board held its monthly meeting following the commissioners meeting and Controller Melinda Kantner, who serves as the secretary, announced the market value of the fund as of Wednesday was $93,761,927 and continues to rise slowly.

One member during the month of November upon retirement received an annuity in the amount of $404,965.20; two members received refunds totaling $11,794.74; and one retiree passed away with no remaining annuity.