A contract to install a new telephone system and computer network in the courthouse, prison, adult probation and human services buildings was approved by the Schuylkill County commissioners at their public meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The contract for $422, 838.90, which is a state contract pricing, is with Lightspeed Technologies Company, Wilkes-Barre. The project will include an upgrade to the network equipment and interface to the 9-1-1 Emergency Management administrative building phone system.

Also approved was an agreement with Greens Communications, Pottsville, for a service maintenance agreement for a phone system installed in the 9-1-1 Center in 2007. The cost of the agreement is $274,03.24 per year and runs for one year, ending June 30, 2013. The cost is tariff eligible under Act 56 and 78.

An agreement was also approved with Essentials Management/Solutions, Pottsville, for a wireless post deployment maintenance services at a cost of $5,000 per month and also is tariff eligible under Act 56. The agreement is for two years ending June 12, 2014.

Tamaqua assessment

A settlement was reached between the county and 401 Hazle Associates, L.PO., relating to the tax assessment on its tract of land on which stands a 14 unit low-income apartment dwelling in Tamaqua. The proposed stipulation will be presented to court for approval.

The owner of the dwelling filed an appeal to court from a ruling by the Schuylkill County Assessment Appeals Board which made no change in the assessment of the building for tax purposes. Hazle Associates is seeking a reduction of the market value listed at $1,096,883 and assessment of $548,440.

In its appeal, it claimed the decision by assessment appeals board was an error, an abuse of discretion and contrary to law because the current assessment is based on information and belief from the prior years assessment and also based on a building permit issued and there was no credible evidence provided regarding the fair market value of the property. The owner claims the premises are subject to certain federal and state rent restrictions.

Recycling agreement

The recyclable material supplies agreement with Weiner Iron and Mental Company, Pottsville, was renewed for an additional one year ending June 22, 2013, with no change in pricing schedules. A recycling agreement was also approved with LV Industries, Deer Lake Borough, for and additional one year ending July 22, 2013, with the current cost of $12 per ton remaining the same.

To help cover the costs the board approved filing an application with the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency for the 902 Municipal Recycling Program grant. If awarded it will reimburse the county up to 90 percent of the cost. The application will include seeking a grant for a new recycling truck and bin refurbishment.

An agreement was entered with Vision Planning and Consulting Company, LLC, Clarksville, Md., for $57,000 to pay for the cost of updating the county's hazard mitigation plan. The project is funded through PEMA's (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) mitigation grant program.

Autopsy services

At the request of Controller Christy Joy the commissioners entered into a contract with Forensic Pathology Associates, Allentown, for the purpose of providing autopsy services as needed. The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1. Previously, the autopsies were performed at the Schuylkill Medical Center, Pottsville.

Approval was given to the tax claim bureau for the private sale of a property located on the east side of South Kennedy Drive, Kline Township, owned by Etihad Enterprises Inc., but taken over by the bureau for unpaid real estate tax, to Luz J. Mercado, who submitted a bid for $600.

At the request of Grant Writer Gary Bender, the board authorized he file an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Justice for the state criminal alien assistance grant program. This is money paid for housing in the county prison aliens arrested and being held for deportation.

Personnel matters

The commissioners approved hiring Amber Chemewski, Mahanoy City, as a county social caseworker intern in the Office of Senior Services at $7.25 per hour; Amanda Brach, Pottsville, as a county caseworker I with Children and Youth Services Agency at $16.7612 per hour; Molly Brown-Steranko, Port Carbon, as assistant administrator in the Drug and Alcohol Agency at $39,727 per year; and Jesselyn Heaps, Schuylkill Haven, as per diem investigator for the public defender's office at $17.96 per hour.

At Rest Haven Home, Donna Dayson, Schuylkill Haven, full-time activities aide is retiring but will be using her available time until retirement on July 16 to work as an interim full time activities aide at $15.0667 per hour.

Brenda Helt, Schuylkill Haven, is being transferred from full time housekeeper to full time activities aide at $15.0667 per hour; and Shannon Grutza, Mahanoy City, is being transferred from part time nurse's aide to full time nurse's aide at $11.72 per hour. Antonio Lesher, Pottsville, hired as per diem licensed practical nurse at $18 per hour.

Hired as nurse's aides were Desiree Blum, Port Carbon; Cathy Gregory, Saint Clair; and Morgan Ferrari, Orwigsburg, at $11.72 per hour. Nancy Donlen, Pottsville, full time housekeeper at $9 per hour.

Ten people were admitted at Rest Haven Home into the part time nurse's aide program as trainees at $7.70 per hour. They were, Holly Kellman, Schuylkill Haven; Crystal Cortez, Pine Grove; Angela Marmes, New Philadelphia; Brandie Hamilton, Pottsville; Melissa Lucas, Lykens; Dakota Wills, Pottsville; Clare Hosier, Pottsville; Kristi Burke, Port Carbon; Matthew Beene, Schuylkill Haven; and Eufemia Crishock, Minersville.

The board was informed of personnel transactions in other departments not under their jurisdiction.

Julia Blackwell, Pottsville, unpaid intern in the law library; Bernard Boran, Minersville, resigned as court attendant; Patricia Joseph, Mahanoy City, transferred from victim's witness coordinator position to secretary II at $15.5450 per hour; and Lawrence Lonergan, Orwigsburg, resigned as aging care manager with the Office of Senior Services.