Representatives from Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) outlined to the Schuylkill County commissioners at the board's byweekly public meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville Wednesday their plan in providing assistance to small and large businesses in Schuylkill County and adjoining counties of Carbon, Luzerne and Monroe.

Jeffrey K. Box, president and CEO of the firm said, "We want to get money out on the street in Schuylkill County."

Box and Paul Macknosky, business finance specialist, spoke of the services the regional multi-county economic development agency provides, "leadership, planning, expertise and services to regional and local governments, businesses, institutions and individuals through innovative and beneficial collaborations and partnerships to enhance the economic development and quality of life of the area."

Macknosky said, "NEPA provides a quality menu of programs and valuable services that best match the needs of our partners and add value to our region. NEPA is one of seven regional Local Development Districts that help to coordinate community and economic development activities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

He continued, "The programs feature market interest rates, low down payments, interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan, jobs must be retained or created, legal fees apply, loan terms range from three to five years." He pointed out a range of business sectors are eligible for loan consideration, depending on the program, and funds are available up to 50 percent of costs with a loan ceiling of generally $200,000.

Macknosky spoke of benefits provided.

"NEPA offers government contracting assistance, small business lending, international business development, research and information, nonprofit assistance, local government assistance and special incentives, " he said.

"NEPA supported 809 jobs in the region with loans, export sales and government contracts," he added and "helped clients generate over $63 million in export sales and funded over $1 million for ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) projects."

Box pointed out, "NEPA has several federal and state loans available for eligible small businesses in Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties and small businesses can receive subordinate financing of $50 funding; $200,000 in financial is available and fixed rate from 2.75 percent to four percent with lower down payments and standard loan term maturities. The loans are available for manufacturers, industrial, agriculture/agribusiness, hospitality, related enterprises, tourism, recycles, day care, computer related services, advance technology, retail, service related businesses and many other business sectors may also qualify.

They also reported NEPA has Small Business Administration (SBA) loans available for eligible small business in the county and small busineses can receive subordinate financing of 40 percent of funding up to $5.5 million in financing available loans at market base fixed rate financing with low down payment and long term maturities of 10 to 20 years.

Commissioners George Halcovage and Gary Hess thanked the NEPA representatives for their report and offered the county's support to help businesses in the county. Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier was not present.

Other business

In other business the commissioners renewed the site lease agreement for the county drop off recycling center with the Borough of New Philadelphia. The center is located at the Little League Field.

The food contract was extended for another three year period with the provider for meals for inmates in the county prison. The first year for the renewed contract with Trinity Services Group Inc., which runs from March 18, to March 17, 2014, the price per meal to remain at $1.248 and the costs for the second and third years the price will depend on the food price index.

A purchase of service agreement on behalf of Children and Youth Services Agency was approved with Bethany Home Inc., of Womelsdorf, for foster care at $90 per day, short term residental at $164 per day, and shelter care at $200 per day.

Approved was a cooperative agreement with Gaudenzia, of Fountain Springs Village, Butler Township, on behalf of the Schuylkill Community Action Committee and Schuylkill Women in Crises to continue to provide emergency shelters.

Action taken on personnel matters were:

Rest Haven Home - Jean Quinn, Pottsville, was transfered from part time licensed practical nurse to full time at salary of $15.9900 per hour and Tonya Styka, Gilberton, and Patsy Dower, Gilberton, part time nurse's aides, resigned.

Children and Youth Services Agency - Kaylee Moyer, Shenandoah, and Paige Nelson, Pottsville, caseworkers were promoted from caseworker 1 to caseworker 2 and salary set at $18.0415 per hour. Michelle Mikita, Shenandoah, was promoted from social services aide 3 to caseworker 1 and salary set at $18.0100 per hour.

The commissioners were informed of action by other department heads.

District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon announced the hiring Attorney Thomas Pellish, Potttsville, to serve as a part time assistant district attorney at salary of $22,061 per year. He fills the vacancy caused by the resignation of Attorney Robert Matta, West Mahanoy Township.