Schuylkill County commissioners are requesting that residents reduce water use voluntarily by 10 to 15 percent in action taken by the Schuylkill County Commissioners at their public meeting held Wednesday at the Sweet Arrow County Park in Pine Grove.

The request, which was made at a public meeting Wednesday at the Sweet Arrow County Park in Pine Grove, is in compliance with a drought warning issued by the Department of Environmental Protection for Schuylkill County and 23 other counties and a drought watch for 43 other counties.

DEP monitors a statewide network of groundwater wells and stream gauges that provide comprehensive data to the state drought coordinator. It also monitors soil moisture and water supply storage.

DEP offers the following tips for conserving water around the home:

In the bathroom, install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerator on faucets, check for household leaks, as a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day and take short showers instead of baths.

Kitchen/laundry area, replace older appliances with high efficiency, front loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40 to 50 percent less energy; run dishwasher and washing machines only with full loads and keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from faucet until it is cold.

The department also offers water conservation recommendations for commercial and industrial users, such as food processors, hotels and motels, schools and colleges as well as water audit procedures for large water customers.

Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency will work with water supply partners to monitor current conditions and to plan for future water restrictions if necessary.

No action

No action was taken on the bid for cleaning the courthouse as a controversy looms and no action taken on a ratifying a contract with the AFSCME union for employees in non-court related positions at the courthouse.

A contract for $17,531.85 was awarded to First Precinct Uniforms, Reading, for Schuylkill County Prison employees uniforms, and another for $14,041 to Antz Energy Systems, Inc., Shenandoah, to replace refrigeration units for the walk-in freezer and cooler at the count prison. The two companies were the only bidders for the uniforms and refrigeration units.

A contract was awarded to Merrick Group, Inc., Dupont, for $2096,350 to replace the county bridge which crosses Deep Creek in Hubley Township. They were the low bidder.

Three companies had submitted bids for cleaning the courthouse. Avenues Pottsville, currently employed to do the job, submitted a bid of $310,298.15 for three years and over $100,000 for one year. Two other companies submitted only one year bids – Joanne M. McGee Cleaning and Janitorial Services, Inc., Lebanon, bid $95,000, and TKO Cleaning Service, Pottsville, $92,000. The commissioners are caught in a bind because Avenues employs handicap people from Schuylkill County.

The union contract is also involved in a controversy. Controller Melinda Kantner claims if the contract provides pay hikes it should go before the county salary board for approval. The county's assistant solicitor, Edward Brennan, who negotiated the contract on the county's behalf, claims there is no need because the contract deals only with existing positions and no need for action by the salary board.

Seek consultants

An agreement was entered with the Schuylkill County Housing Authority to prepare the environmental review record for the construction of an elevator at the Ashland five-story hi-rise building. The housing authority will pay all costs associated with the environmental review but not limited to consultant fees and advertising costs.

A consulting firm is being sought and costs not to exceed $1,800. A contract was entered with Mullin and Longergan for consulting services for the county's CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Program for years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) was designated as the industrial development organization under the Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA) Program which provides for financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Development (DCED) to industrial development agencies to implement comprehensive economic development programs at the county level .

Service agreements

On behalf of Children and Youth Services, the commissioners approved purchase of service agreements with the following:

Ÿ Clearbrook, Inc., Forty-Fort, for adolescent in patient non-hospital detox at $205 per day,adolescent inpatient non-hospital rehab, short term at $190 per day and long term rehab at $180 per day.

Ÿ Alere Toxicology, Gretna, Louisiana, for orasure collections at per cost of $3, video conference testimony at $250 per cost and expert witness testimony in person at $600 per cost.

Ÿ United Children Home, West Hazleton, for residential services at $116 per day and emergency shelter at $116 per day.

Personal matters

Four members of Schuylkill County Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board were reappointed for two year terms ending Feb. 24, 2012. They were, William Mackey, 112 Limekiln Drive, Andreas; Kenneth J. Huebner, Orwigsburg; Ann Hoover Smith, Frackville; Randy Stump, Pine Grove and Kay Williams, Pottsville.

The promotion of Krystal Andricks, Shenandoah; Justin Wank, Branch Township and Holly Zvorsky, West Brunswick Township, to caseworker 2 with the Children and Youth Service Agency, were approved at $16.8419 per hour.

Kimberly Loutsenhizer and Heather Reber, both of Schuylkill Haven and Amy Phelan, Frackville, were hired as part time nurse's aides at Rest Haven Home and Hospital at $11.72 per hour.

Mark Pothering, Schuylkill Haven, was hired as a temporary recycling driver for the Office of Solid Waste at $13.3779 per hour.

The commissioners were informed by Children and Youth Services Agency of the resignation of Sean Reeves, Pottsville, as a caseworker 1.

The court announced the promotion of Charles Begansky, Saint Clair, as supervisor 2 with salary at $27.16 per hour and William T. Moran, Jr., Pottsville, as probation officer 1 at salary of $20.82 per hour with the adult probation department and the promotion of Neil Stefanisko, Gordon, as firearms training officer at $46.01 biweekly.

Warden Eugene Berdanier announced the resignation of Vincent LaSelva, Pottsville, a correctional officer who is entering the state police academy.

Rest Haven Home announced the resignation of Catherine Samsone, Landingville, as part time licensed practical nurse and Deborah Zelinsky, Minersville,as full time assistant director of nursing.

No meeting

There will be no commissioner workshop next Wednesday as it is the fifth Wednesday of the month. The next workshop will be Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse and the next public meeting on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.