Approval was given by the Schuylkill County Commissioners to Gary Bender, the county grant writer, to seek grants from state and federal bureaus for various projects, in action taken at Wednesday's board meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Two applications will be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Agency. One is for a grant of $450,000 to be used for operation of a shelter for battered women and for treatment of drug and alcohol addicts. A second application is seeking funds from DEP's Energy Grant Program to be used for the proposed prerelease county prison.

Another application is going to the United States Department of Justice's for Second Chance funding for counseling for drug addicts and treatment of those on probation who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. An application being submitted to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is for a $1,500 grant for training for probation personnel.

Bender was also given permission to enter into several cooperation agreements.

One agreement is with the Pottsville Housing Authority and Schuylkill County Housing Authority for the administation of the homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program. Another is with the Schuylkill Community Action organizaiton for the administration of the neighborhood stabilization program which is to build new homes on lots of torn down dilapidated homes.

A third is with Girardville and Gordon boroughs for the 2010 county demolition program and with Gaudenzia, Fountain Springs, Butler Township, for the administration of the 2009 emergency shelter grant.

Approval was also given Bender to hold two public meetings, one to get imput for the submission of a grant application to the Department of Community and Economic Development for the 2010 emergency shelter prorgam, and a second public meeting on a change of use in the 2010 county demolition program for construction of homes on lots acquired by demolition of dilapidated structures. In past years the lots were sold after the buildings were removed.

Last year the county received approval for a grant of $500,000 from the Office of the Budget's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program in Harrisburg towards the county's proposed children and youths building project. The commissioners directed a letter of committment be sent to the office to inform them the county is still seeking to purchase a building to house the agency.

Edward Barket, Pottsville, former county commissioner, a real estate agent, was hired to appraise a property at 33 S. Main St., Shenandoah, at a cost of $3,500, which is part of a suit appealing the real estate tax on assessment.

Need census workers

Commissioner Mantura Gallagher announced the U.S. Census Bureau is now accepting applications to hire temporary employees to assist with the upcoming 2010 census. The toll free phone number is 1-866-861-2010.

The commissioners assigned Charles Ross, executive director of the Schuylkill County Planning Commission, as the county's representative. Ross reported those hired would be used to go to homes which have not responded to letters sent to fill out questionnaires concerning the listing of those living in these homes to obtain the information. Gallagher stressed the importance of having every person in the county counted to keep the county a fourth class city. The population has been decreasing the past number of years.

Service contracts

On behalf of the Children and Youth Services Agency service agreement was entered with Saint Michael's School, Tunkhannock, for group home housing for an emergency bed at $180.40 per day and with United Children's Home, West Hazleton, for residential housing, providing emergency shelter and supervised independent living services, each at $116 per day. They also extended the contracts with two providers, Adelpbhia Village, of Latrobe, and Clear Vision Residential, Montgomery.

On behalf of the Human Services Agency a contract was entered with ReDCO Group for the Schuylkill Transportation System, which operates the county's bus line, for the option to purchase frequent rider tickets for the fixed- route system. The cost of the ticket would depend on where the rider originated, the destination and how many transfers were involved.

On behalf of Office of Senior Services, which serves the senior citizens, a contract with Diakon Lutheran Services, Allentown, was entered for $997,818 for various programs and a contract was entered with Access Ability Company, Bethlehem, for the installation of a stairglide system at the senior center at a cost of $2,240.

On behalf of the Drug and Alcohol Agency a fee for service contract was entered with Larry Palko, Branch Township, to update the agency's standard terms and requirement at a cost of $8,968. A fee for service contract with Schuylkill Health Counseling Center, Saint Clair, for case management and outpatient services at a cost of $140,000 was approved.

Approval was also given for increasing cost of three fee for service contracts: White Deer Run, Watsontown, from $162,352 to $192,352; Alicia Fleischut, Friedensburg, from $5,000 to $10,000 and Gaudenzia Inc., Harrisburg, from $60,000 to $90,000 and a decrease in the contract with Carbon-Monroe Pike Executive Commission from $99,651 to $39,651.

On behalf of the Public Works Office contracts were entered with Integretic Incorporation, Pittston, to perfom chemical analysis of the water in the county prison heating system for a three year period at a cost of $4,500 and the courthouse boilers, cooling tower and heat pump system at a three year cost of $7,200.

Personnell matter

After the commissioners took action to consolidate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) director position with the grant writer post and appointed the Grant Writer, Gary Bender, to head the combined offices, the county salary board later fixed his salary at $38,262 per year. The salary board also eliminated the CDBG director position and also the position of plumber in the maintenance department and map technician in the tax assessment office.

In the Juvenile Probation Department Edward Shearn, of Frackville, retired as chief juvenile probation officer and Kenenth Porter, Orwigsburg, took over the position and the salary board fixed his salary at $55,983 per year.

Two resignations were noted in the Children and Youth Services Agency; Erick Hoffman, Pine Grove, a caseworker and Loretta Ayello, Hamburg, a clerk.