Approval was given by the Schuylkill County commissioners to Grant Writer Gary Bender to allocate $5,000 from a Department of Community Economic Development (DCED) grant to be used to purchase bullet proof vests for members of the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force, in action taken at the work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The board also approved filing of an application to the U.S. Department of Justice in the amount of $500,000 for the SMART probation program grant for the probation department.

The commissioners also approved a contract with PPL Energy Plus Gas at a rate of $5.369/MMBTU, which is 16.4 percent less than the current contract price of $6.423/MMBTU. Real Estate Director Lisa Mahall cautioned the board the price may fluctuate slightly due to the market conditions. Gas is used in the county prison and courthouse buildings.

At the request of County Treasurer Jacqueline McGovern the commissioners approved a master treasury management service agreement with M&T Bank effective immediately so that the county can perform electronic banking. McGovern announced the bank waived all fees for the service.

Discussions were held with Mike Micko, manager of the Schuylkill Transportation System which operates the county bus line, concerning adoption of resolutions to execute grant agreements with PennDOT for operating grant assistance from the federal and state governments.

When received the monies will be used to provide 25,928 hours of bus services to an estimated 274,160 passenger trips from July 1 to June 30, 2013, at a total project cost of $2,058,451 plus 60,244 discount shared ride trips to older adults, 15,090 trips for persons with disabilities and 4,500 trips for the welfare to work program.

The commissioners ratified a previously approved resolution for the submission of a grant application to the Department of Community and Economic Development for the 2012 Community Development Block Grant Program in amount of $275,494.

Currently Gary Bender, head of the county's CDBG program, has 24 applications from municipalities for various projects. Bender reported the funds have been decreasing yearly and in 2010 the county received $441,000 and last year $341,000. The commissioners make the final decision on which municipalities receive grants and in what amounts.

Personnel matters

The commissioners reviewed proposed hirings and resignations submitted on which action will be taken at next week's public meeting.

Paul Fetterolf, Ashland, is recommended to be hired as superintendent of the courthouse building to fill a vacancy and Jill Delong, Schuylkill Haven, for appointment as a per diem nurse's aide at Rest Haven Home

Also, two part time nurse's aides are to be transferred to full time. Kelley Murphy, Norwegian Township, is being appointed as part time secretary III for victims services; and Kelly Truck, Pottsville, and Cynthia Nowak, Shenandoah, are resigning as aging case managers with Office of Senior Services.