An unconventional gas well ordinance was adopted by the Schuylkill County commissioners at their work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The ordinance reflects the recently passed Legislative Act 13, which amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania consolidated statues. The ordinance imposes a gas well fee on each unconventional gas well spud (actual start of drilling) in Schuylkill County. The fee imposed is under section 2302 of Title 58.

An unconventional gas well is defined under the ordinance as a bore hole drilled or being drilled for the purpose of or to be used for the production of natural gas from an unconventional formation and a percentage fee shall be applicable as provided under Title 58.

The ordinance takes effect immediately and shall remain in effect until repealed or amended.

West Penn program

Gary Bender, director of the county's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, discussed with the commissioners the hiring of the firm of Mullin and Lonergan for professional services associated with the West Penn and Pine Grove townships CDBD programs. Both townships qualified to make their own application to the state fund and no longer depend on participating for funds from the county's share from the state.

The grant money is distributed among a number of townships and boroughs whose populations are under 4,000 residents. West Penn and Pine Grove, under the census status of 2010, placed the two townships over the 4,000 population.

However, they have requested the county continue to administer the program because of its past expertise. West Penn is anticipating receiving $83,253 and Pine Grove $80,865.

Hire drivers

Ten machine delivery drivers were hired in the election bureau to transport the voting machines to the 129 polling places in the county for the Primary Election on April 24.

They are Kurt Yoder, Hegins, $200; Karen Davison, Tamaqua, $210; Joseph Contrady, McAdoo, $210; William Klinger, Frackville, $160; Thomas Kurtek, Pottsville, $140; Dennis Moyer, Pottsville, $210; Jason Frantz, Girardville, $160; Walter Leashefski, Orwigsburg, $220; Kenneth Eichenbert, Minersville, $170; and Kenneth Breisch, Schuylkill Haven, $210.

Lisa Mahall, director of the Real Estate Department, requested the commissioners set a fee of $750 for those who make a request for a special exception review of the county zoning law.

Personnel matters

The commissioners reviewed personnel matters on which they will vote at next Wednesday's public meeting.

Rest Haven Home announced the proposed retirement of Lori Cascarino, Barnesville, as its activities director and seeks the termination of Chad Bowen, Pottsville, as a part-time nurse's aide. Kathleen Ryan, Cressona, resigned as part-time nurse's aide and Maureen Manbeck, Girardville, as part-time activities aide.

The Children and Youth Service Agency seeks the appointment of Matthew Stine, Tamaqua, as a caseworker I and transferring Beth Cairns, Pottsville, as care manager with Office of Senior Services to caseworker 2.

Warden Eugene Berdanier announced David Carduff, Butler Township, resigned as a correctional officer.

District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon reported appointing Amanda Wessner, Wayne Township, as an unpaid intern.

Recovery

Attorney Christine Hohman, who is an assistant county solicitor, said the county will recover most of the funds due from the missed check.

The county received a check back in March 2009 for $52,000 as its share of a settlement in a class-action suit against Garden City Group of Ohio, but somehow the check wound up in the safe in the treasurer's office and was never cashed. The check was discovered by newly-elected Controller Christy Joy, who found the deadline for cashing it had passed.

Holman was assigned by the commissioners to attempt a recovery of the funds. The county will receive the check less about $5,000.

The commissioners announced the courthouse will be closed Good Friday, April 6.