The Carbon County Tax Collection Committee has hired a contract attorney to review documents relative to the committee.

During the monthly meeting of the tax collection committee, the board voted to accept a proposal from Steckel and Stopp of Lehigh County for services over the next few months.

Attorney William Schwab, chairperson of the committee, explained the fees would be $112 to $132 an hour for an attorney and $85 per hour for paralegals.

Schwab added that Steckel and Stopp was the only group to submit a proposal.

The committee briefly discussed Steckel and Stopp's experience; as well as what should be the group's next step.

A motion was then made to accept the proposal.

The group plans to have Steckel and Stopp review the current bylaws; as well as the proposed changes that are in the works.

The committee also discussed the next step in determining which of the four tax collection companies Berkheimer and Associates of Bangor; Central Tax Bureau of Pennsylvania Inc., of Pittsburgh; JP Harris Association of Mechanicsburg; and Capital Tax Collection Bureau of Harrisburg should be the county's earned income tax collector.

After much discussion, it was decided that each vendor should give a presentation on its proposal for tax collection services.

Schwab said he will set up the presentations for next month's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m., Aug. 18, in the large group room at Jim Thorpe Area High School.

During the presentations, the committee will have the opportunity to ask any questions that it currently has on each company's proposal. The deadline for appointing a tax collector is Sept. 15.

In other matters, the board discussed proposed bylaws changes and determined that more works needs to be done before a vote could be made.

Changes that are proposed include the weighted vote system and operating expense allocation and payments.

The county tax collection committee was formed in October 2009 because of Act 32 of 2008, which amends the Local Tax Enabling Act.

Under Act 32, counties are now required to form a countywide collection committee and delegate one tax collector who will be responsible for the collection of earned income tax. Act 32 takes effect in 2012.

This new law states that this reduction in the amount of earned income tax collectors will provide for quicker money turnarounds, which means municipalities and school districts will get paid sooner.

The Carbon County Tax Collection Committee members include delegates from Jim Thorpe, Kidder Township, Penn Forest Township, East Penn Township, Franklin Township, Lehighton, Mahoning Township, Parryville, Weissport, Bowmanstown, Lower Towamensing Township, Palmerton, Towamensing Township, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Coaldale, East Side, Lausanne Township, Lehigh Township, Packer Township, and Weatherly; as well as Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton, Panther Valley and Weatherly school districts.

More information on Act 32 can be found at www.act32info.com [1].