It is expected to cost $88,627.91 for Carbon County to replace communications center equipment used for dispatching fire, police, and ambulance services in Penn Forest Township. The work is expected to be finished by the end of August.

County 911 director Gary Williams budgeted for the replacement of the equipment this year, using funds from Act 78, the government's Two-Way Radio Communications Equipment and Accessories fund. Act 78 charges a $1.50 monthly fee to county residents for each landline they have, so the cost won't be charged to the county's general fund.

On Thursday the commissioners agreed to replace the microwave tower equipment on the Bear Mountain tower, which is one of five used by the county for 911 communications. The equipment "blew up" in August 2012, commissioners said, and has not been usable since.

Other towers are on the Broad Mountain, Nesquehoning; at Big Boulder, in Lake Harmony; on Pimple Hill in Tunkhannock Township, and in Summit Hill.

However, the county's contract with Tu-Way Communications provides for the company to loan equipment to the county for 90 to 120 days, so communications are not compromised.

Commissioner William O'Gurek thanked Tu-Way for providing the equipment.

"We're closing in on 300 days, with no charge," he said.

The commissioners signed an agreement with Aviat Networks, Santa Clara, Calif., to install new equipment. The expenditure is under a state contract that frees the county from having to seek bids for the work.

The cost breaks down to $61,295.27 for the equipment and $27,322.64 for labor, which is subject to state prevailing wage rates.

In other business, the commissioners authorized the seeking of bids for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects in Banks Township and Lansford borough. The county Office of Planning and Development administers the grants.

This was Lansford's final CDBG grant as an entitlement community. The grants stopped after the 2010 U.S. Census found the borough had fewer than 4,000 residents, the minimum needed to qualify.

The $75,500 grant, from fiscal year 2011, will pay for improvements to the 200 block of East Bertsch Street, from Walnut to Chestnut.

In Banks Township, $73,680 (from fiscal years 2010 and 2011) will pay for repaving 907 feet of Tamaqua Street in the Village of Audenried.

Also on Thursday, commissioners:

Ÿ Approved a Host Agency Agreement for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), National Council on Aging (Pathstone Corporation) for placement of on-the-job training participant at the Carbon County Parks Department/Mauch Chunk Lake Park. The agreement covers program year 2013-2014.

Pathstone provides an employee for the park through SCSEP funding. The county provides the work site and supervision. The employee will help the maintenance department with such chores as cleaning shower facilities and restrooms, taking out trash, painting and doing other light chores.

Ÿ Approved a $5,800 maintenance agreement with Edwards Business Systems, Wyomissing, Berks County, for a new Konica Minolta Model BizHub 423 black-and-white copier at the county prison.

The contract includes service and toner, and will be billable quarterly at 0.008 cents per copy; the price will remain fixed for three years from the June 21 delivery date. The estimated cost is $1,100 per year.

Commissioners also approved a $5,462 maintenance contract with Edwards for toner and service on a new Konica Minolta BizHub 363 black and white copier for the county Tax Assessment Office.

The cost will be 0.008 cents per copy, billable quarterly; the price will remain fixed for three years from the June 21 delivery date. The estimated cost is $500 per year.

Ÿ Approved a renewal agreement between the county and Julie Rovinski-Mann, Jim Thorpe, to continue in the position of link coordinator by a federally-mandated and funded program from July 1 through June 30, 2014.

Her hours/wages are not to exceed 1,000 and/or $18,000, and will be paid through the Agency Disabilities Resource Grant as long as funding is available.

The link is a collaborative effort to improve access to information about long-term services for those age 60 and older, or those between 18-59 who have disabilities.

The service is aimed at providing a basic understanding of the long-term living system and services that are available.

Rovinski-Mann works on a contract basis, and is not considered a county employee.

Ÿ Approved amending the county's contract with Waste Management to increase the refuse collection schedule at the county prison from twice per week to three times per week, at a cost of $51.75 per pickup. The additional cost is estimated at $2,020 for the remainder of the contract, which expires March 1, 2014.

The move was needed because the county ended its solid waste management office, which included recycling.

Ÿ Accepted the resignation of Robert Miller, Lehighton, from the Environmental Education Center Commission.

Ÿ Agreed to seek bids for the sale and delivery of office supplies to all county offices. Currently, the county contracts with Klingaman's. That contract expires at the end of the year.