A letter of commitment was approved by the Schuylkill County Commissioners to North Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) in the amount of $56,667 as a cash match in order to receive a $48,484.37 grant from NEPA for energy efficiency lighting upgrades and retrofits for three county owned properties in Pottsville housing county employees, in action taken at Wednesday's work session held at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The properties to be upgraded are the 9-1-1 and human services buildings located in the 400 block on North Centre Street and the adult probation building located on Third Street, all within two blocks of the courthouse.

This is a continuation of a project which was started in 2008 for the courthouse, prison and Rest Haven Home. The electric savings up to 2012 for the three buildings was $34,300 and natural gas savings totaled $34,900 which was a total savings of $69,200.

Other business

A contract with M&T bank was entered for an internet merchant account to allow the county to process credit card payments from the county's public website.

The commissioners reviewed a resolution, which the planning commission requests they adopt at next week's public meeting, which supports the designation of a five-county Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) which realigns the geographical boundaries for a transportation planning area to carry out a continuous cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning program by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The planning area includes the counties of Schuylkill, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne. Added to the geographical boundary is the East Stroudsburg UZA (Urbanized Area), which consists of the boroughs of East Stroudsburg and Delaware Water Gap, and portions of the townships of Hamilton, Middle Smithfield, Stroud, and Knowlton of New Jersey.

Prior to the name change PennDOT has previously established the Northern Pennsylvania Alliance to be the Rural Planning Organization (RPO), which was responsible for coordinating transportation planning and the distribution of federal and state transportation funding in the five counties.

Serving on the planning organization committee from Schuylkill County are Sue Smith, executive director, and Gary Bender, president, of the county planning commission.

Paul Buber, fiscal analyst, presented two resolutions for the commissioners to take action on at next week's meeting.

The county had established a Marcellus Legacy Fund in complying with Act 13 passed by the state legislature which was an amendment to the Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. This law provided for the imposition of an unconventional gas well fee (also called a drilling impact fee) and the law mandates the fee to be disbursed to local and state entities for the purposes specifically outlined in the law.

The county received $208,064.59 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under Act 13. Buber requested the county to deposit the fund into the Marcellus Legacy Fund, bridge account.

He also requested the transfer of $182,500 from the county's general fund to Rest Haven Home's budgetary revenue account of 2012 to cover expenses.

At the request of Paul Straka, assistant county administrator, budget adjustments for various departments were approved as follows:

Administration, $1,125 for travel expenses; $700 to out-of-county public defenders representing county people arrested in other counties and who couldn't afford legal fees; $14,201.43 to Visitor's Bureau from the hotel tax collected; 9-1-1 Agency, $2,601 for phone lines; district attorney's office, $335 for travel and other expenses; law library $1,060 for subscriptions, periodicals, and reference publications; treasurer's office $362.04 for advertising tax payment notices; county prison $170.90 for materials and supplies and dues to conferences; and recycling program $429 for contracts. The funds were transferred from other accounts and were not additional spendings.

Personnel matters reviewed were as follows:

Solicitor's Office - Extension of Attorney Robert Fruycklund's per diem position in the county solicitors office to June 30, 2013.

District Attorney's Office - Retirement of Attorney William Reiley as first assistant in the district attorney's office; promotion of Kelley Murphy, Norwegian Township, to secretary III to fill vacancy caused by the sudden death of Donna Clemens, late of Auburn; and change of job status of Attorney Robert Matta, West Mahanoy Township, to part time assistant district attorney from full time under a grant program which has expired.

Children and Youth Services Agency - Retirement of John Hammond, Pottsville, as a case worker and hiring of Adrien Heffner, Pottsville, to the vacancy; resignation of Kristi Bennett, Palo Alto, as caseworker.

Election Bureau - Retirement of Deborah Danchak, Coaldale, as clerk.

Public Defender - Creating a new position as per diem investigator and appointment of Jesselyn Heaps, Schuylkill Haven, to fill the position.

Rest Haven Home - Transfer of Angelique McGlinchey, Tamaqua, from part time to full time licensed practical nurse.

Domestic Relations Bureau - Hiring of Eugene John Tray, Wayne Township, as enforcement officer; transfer of Russell Pellegrino, Frackville, from Protection From Abuse (PFA) coordinator to enforcement officer and Cathleen Andrescavage, Minersville, from enforcement officer to conference officer and promotion of Christopher Breisch, Norwegian Township, from conference officer to supervisor; Michelle Spolski, from conference officer to conference hearing officer; and Michelle Reider, Denver, from enforcement officer to conference officer.

Reorganizes

The commissioners held their reorganization meeting Tuesday with no changes in leadership.

Frank Staudenmeier was re-elected chairman by Commissioners George Halcovage Jr. and Gary Hess.

The meeting dates remain the same with work sessions alternating with public meetings each week.

The Schuylkill County Prison Board also reorganized and returned President Judge William E. Baldwin as president, and named District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon as secretary.