Micah Gursky, Tamaqua, was appointed and Bud Quandel, Pottsville, was re-appointed by the Schuylkill County commissioners to serve as directors on the North Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) Board of Directors, in action taken at the commissioners' work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

They join with three other county people serving on the board, Robert Carl, Edward Clark, and Frank Staudenmeier.

The alliance has representatives on its board from seven counties including Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monore, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne. The board consists of 42 members. Carbon County members are Judy Borger, Stanley Costello, Michael Heeley, Wayne Nothstein, and Joseph Sebelin. The NEPA board meets in Pittston.

The alliance provides programs and services to customers in business, communities, and government throughout the region. It serves as the regional development district for the programs and services of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration. The federal agencies provide grant assistance in Northeastern Pennsylvania for a myriad of projects that have led to job creation, private investment, community improvements, and to provide an enhanced quality of life in the region.

In fiscal year 2011-12 the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development launched a new initiative named Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP). This program is designed to encourage regional coordination of economic development efforts, yielding superiors customer service in an integrated business focused manner. Under its Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) last year it provided one-on-one counseling and technical contracting assistance to regional small businesses.

Its Business Finance Center held 242 counseling sessions with businesses in the seven county area and 12 loans were approved by its Revolving Loan Fund Committee and 13 loans closed for a total of $1,060,000.

A projected 146 jobs were retained/created due to the program, it provides eligible small businesses with long term, market based fixed-rate financing for fixed assets. Small businesses must have a net worth of not less than $15 million and profit after tax of less than $5 million. The loan amount can go to $5,500,000 or 40 percent of the project cost, whichever is less.

The small business bank provides 50 percent of the financing and is responsible for 10 percent of the project costs. Loan terms range from 10 to 20 years and the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and is based upon current rate of U.S. Treasury issue of comparable maturities. Small businesses must create or retain one job for every $65,000. Currently it is servicing 504 loans.

Other services provided are as follows:

Houses an extensive reference library filled with information on local and national foundations; facilitates workshops to build nonprofit capacity in areas such as board development, proposal writing and fundraising; provides customized funding searches for nonprofit and community organizations and offers individualized assistance to nonprofit and community organizations.