To continue the operation of the bus system in Schuylkill County the commissioners adopted a resolution authorizing Schuylkill Transportation System (STS) to file a consolidated application for transit related capital improvement projects in action taken at Wednesday's public meeting.

These capital improvement projects consist of vehicle replacements and upgrades to the maintenance and office facilities as follows:

Five 14 to 16 passenger access small transit buses, $488,000; maintenance support vehicle, $35,000; administrative support vehicle, $35,000; upgrade radio system for narrowband requirements, $100,000; upgrades to maintenance facility, $100,000; and wayside signages, $402,200.

The various sources of funds that will be utilized for these projects consist of $537,758 in federal funds, $458,298 in state funds, and $64,144 in local matching funds from the county for 2013.

Other business

The board accepted the recommendation of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board for the distribution of funds received in state grants under the 2012 Schuylkill County Affordable Housing Trust Fund (Act 137).

Allocated to the bridge homes scattered throughout the county which provides shelter to battered women and their children caused by abusive husbands and boyfriends, was $18,740 to the counseling program to help first time homebuyers negotiating purchase of homes. Also allocated was $60,000 for modernizing the Hi Rise Building in Minersville which provides living quarters for senior citizens; and $70,000 to seniors or disabled people for housing repairs.

Approval was given to install security lights in two parking areas around the courthouse. They will be installed in the commissioners' lot, which fronts Laurel Boulevard, and the lot at the western end of the courthouse building which is used as the entrance. A contract was awarded to David W. Fannick, Frackville, to perform the installation at a cost of $46,061.

After reviewing the budget adopted by the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board in the amount of $4,953.60 for the fiscal year of 2012-13 the commissioners gave it a approval.

The contract with Larson Design Group for engineering design repairs for the covered bridge which carries Newswanger Road over Little Swatara Creek in Washington Township, was increased by $23,361.31 because of additional engineering and environmental changes which are required under the national historic covered bridge preservation grant. The revised contract's new total is $369,372.79.

Five current leases to strip mine for coal on county held land were renewed for one year with the following:

KK Coal Company, owned by Bernard Kuperavage, lease on land in Blythe and East Norwegian Township. Lease payment for past year, $10,977.60 and for life of lease, $1,255,130. (Coal companies pay the county a royalty of $3 per ton).

KK Coal Company for lease on land in Blythe Township, $13,741.92 for lease year and $1,459,470.06 total to date.

Kuperavage Enterprises Inc., for mining on land in Tuscarora, Schuylkill Township, $2,904 on current lease and $23,564.64 total to date.

Jett Contracting Company, Joseph P. and Dorothy A. Cromyak, operators, for mining on land in Blythe Township, $10,782.55 on current lease and $66,540.20, grand total.

Whitey Wash Enterprises, Russell White, owner, for mining on county held land n Reilly Township, $2,464 on current lease and $6,944 for life of lease.

A contract was approved with Quest Diagnostic Inc., Collegeville, for the provision of laboratory services for residents at Rest Haven Home. It is a fee for service contract estimated at $18,000 for the period from July 1, to June 30, 2013.

Numerous fee for service contracts were approved on behalf of the Office Of Senior Services for adult day care and meal services.

Included was a contract with Tamaqua Area Adult Day Care for 3,500 days of adult day care services at $51.50 per day and 5,000 meals at $3.44 per meal for a contract total of $197,450.

Other contracts were with Preferred Meal Systems of Berkeley, Ill., for 186,250 home delivered and congregate meals at $3.44 per meal for total contract of $640,700; Catholic Charities of Allentown for 3,759 days of adult day care services at $51.62 per day and 3,759 meals at $3.44 per meal for contract cap of $206,966; and Diakon of Allentown for senior centers management home delivery meals, prime time health and volunteer home care for $1,026,437.

Contracts were entered with attorneys to provide legal services to the Office of Senior Service and Children and Youth Service agencies.

Office of Senior Services - Contracts for one year ending June 30, 2013, were entered with Attorney Joseph Nahas, Frackville, Attorney Robert Lipkin, Attorney Lori A.Schafer Guzick, Pottsville, and Attorney William Burke, Shenandoah, each for 125 hours of legal service at $90 per hour for contract cap of $11,250.

Children and Youth Services - Attorney Karen Rismiller, Pottsville, and Attorney Maria Casey, Orwigsburg, each for legal services at a per unit of $2506.55, Department of Public Welfare appeals at a per unit rate of $80.

The commissioners approved the sale of properties to parties who submitted private bids on the parcels held by the Tax Claim Bureau.

Delano Township supervisors submitted a bid of $20 for the property at 124 Hazle St., which was owned by Cheryl L. Tomlin. The township plans to demolish the structure.

Luz J. Mercado submitted a bid of $600 for a property on the east side of South Kennedy Drive, Kline Township, owned by Etihad Enterprises Inc.; Natasha Roberts submitted a bid of $575 for the property at 66 S. Main St., Mahanoy City, owned by Jerry Chang; and Sean Licorish submitted a bid of $670 for the property at 535 W. South St., Mahanoy City, owned by Paul Young.

Personnel matters

It's official, all positions in the business office at Rest Haven Home will no longer be under county control as they were eliminated in action taken by the commissioners.

Commission George Halcovage noted that no one loses their job but positions will be under direction of Service Access and Management, Inc. (SAM), which the county contracted to operate Rest Haven Home. It involved eight positions.

Other actions taken were as follows:

Four people were hired as posters to post properties in which the tax claim bureau is acquiring for non-payment of real estate taxes.

They were David Bolish, Port Carbon; David Briggs, Union Township; Abigail Willard, Pottsville; and Benjamin Turrano, Walker Township. They will be paid $11 per diem.

Seven posters were terminated as they completed their jobs, Joseph Contrady, Jennifer Johnstone, and William Johnstone, all of McAdoo; John McGauley, Shenandoah; Gary Rhoades and Jason Rhoades, Branch Township; and Joe Stangl, Pottsville.

The commissioners approved Attorney Glenn Roth, Pottsville, as a full time assistant county solicitor at $55,958 per year. He replaces Attorney Bob Frycklund, Lehighton, whose position was changed to part time county solicitor at a salary of $28,784 per year.

Katelynn Steich, Eldred Township, was named victim witness assistant at $13.2805 per hour. The position is under jurisdiction of District Attorney Karen Noon Byrnes.

Closed Wednesday

The courthouse will be closed Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. The commissioners work session scheduled to be held that day has been moved to Thursday, July 5, in the Hoffman Room adjoining the commissioners board room at the courthouse.