A compromised settlement worked out by the county solicitor's department in connection with setting the fair market value of properties owned by Fairlane Village Mall, LLC, was reviewed by the Schuylkill County Commissioners at their work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville. A vote on stipulation agreed will be taken at next week's public meeting.

Back in 2009 Fairlane Village Mall appealed to the county Tax Assessment Appeals Board to reduce the market value for 2010 to $9,200,000 which would set the assessment at $3,670,800 for tax purposes. The assessment board denied the appeal and the property owner appealed the decision to the county court where it is still spending.

Assistant County Solicitor Robert S. Frycklund reported to the commissioners after extensive negotiations, and based upon the affected taxing districts review of comparable sales and expert appraisal opinions obtained, the parties will stipulate that the fair market value of the mall properties be set at $10,025,063 as of Jan. 1, 2010; set at $9,615,385 as of Jan. 1, 2011; set at $8,455,666 as of Jan. 1, 2012, and set at $10,483,262 effective as of Jan. 1, 2013, for the taxes for each year.

The Fairlane Village Mall properties are located at the west side of SR61 (also known as Pottsville-Saint Clair Highway) partially in Norwegian Township and East Norwegian Township and close proximity to the City of Pottsville.

One parcel contains 726,667 square feet and stores of Sears, Kmart, Bon-Ton and Black Diamond Antiques are located-commonly known as the Schuylkill Mall. The second parcel consists of 560,000 square feet and has stores of Boscov's, JC Penny, and Regal Cinema located-commonly referred as the Fairlane Village Mall.

In its appeal the owners said that it has experienced a moderately high level of vacancies. Frycklund reported they had regained some tenants. The townships of Norwegian and East Union, Pottsville Area School District and the county are recipients of taxes paid by the mall.

Also reviewed were two proposed settlements of properties acquired by Apartment and Acquisition, LP, of Allentown, located in Shenandoah area. The proposed settlement is a $14,000 market value on each property.

Other business

County Engineer Lisa Mahall reviewed two resolutions she seeks adoption for submission for two applications for traffic signals at the intersection of state routes 61 and 901 (near Manheim Diner), and SR61 and University Drive (Schuylkill Penn State Campus) in North Manheim Township. Mahall said both intersections are upgrades and are part of the SR61 widening project in Schuylkill Haven and North Manheim Township. Mahall said the traffic signals are maintained by the county.

The commissioners approved extension of the contract it has with Met Life Insurance Company for life, accidental death and long term disability coverage for county employees. The contract is for the period from April 1, 2010, to Dec. 31.