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Settlement approved on real estate taxes for two former churches

Published December 06. 2012 05:02PM

A compromised settlement agreement worked out between the county's solicitor's office and property owners on the amount of real estate tax to be paid in 2013 was approved by the Schuylkill County commissioners at their work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville. The stipulations will now be presented to the court for final approval.

Two of the properties are church buildings in McAdoo which are no longer used for worship and were removed from the tax exoneration by the county Board Assessment Appeals Board.

The former Saint Mary Slovak Church on East Grant Street had the marked value set by the assessment appeals board at $133,758 and under the stipulation agreement will be set at $46,000; and the former Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, 17 N. Cleveland St., which had a market value of $223,412 set by the assessment appeals board will now be set at $61.500. Both are owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown.

A property owned by Bertram H. Berk Jr. and Karen M. Berk, 141 Ridge St., Coaldale, had a market value set by the assessment bureau at $60,330, was reduced under the stipulated agreement to $24,000. The property of Robyn Osiecki, 155 W. Adamsdale Road, North Manheim Township, had a market value of $274,000 set by the assessment bureau and under the stipulated agreement the market value will be reduced to $270,000.

Budget adjustments

The commissioners reviewed budget adjustments for several departments.

Schuylkill County Prison to transfer from several accounts $27,700 to meet expenses for the balance of the year to pay for cleaning and material supplies; Voter Registration Bureau, transfer of $813 from various accounts to pay for material supplies; MIS Department, transfer $765 from other accounts to pay for purchase of a laptop computer; Planning and Zoning Commission, transfer of $1,001 from other accounts to pay for Executive Director Sue Smith to attend Chamber of Commerce Leadership Seminar and Drug and Alcohol Department, to transfer funds from various accounts to pay for 2011 actual indirect costs.

To keep a tight reign on the budget seven years ago the commissioners adopted a policy of any change in expenditures in the budget must first be approved by the commissioners. The policy help reduce deficit spending.

The commissioners reviewed with various department heads requests on which action will be taken at next Wednesday's public meeting.

Real Estate Director Lisa Mahall reviewed a proposed renewal of a lease for five years with Tamaqua Borough for rental of 2,094 square feet of office space at the rear of the borough hall building for offices of Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer. The rental fee proposed is $1,875.87 per month.

Mahall also submitted for review the 2012 annual liquid fuels report to be presented to PennDOT and also requested extension of agreements for engineering repair by Alfred Benesch and Company for a county bridge in Norwegian Township close to the Intermediate Unit school complex and engineering design repairs to the county bridge in Barry Township.

Director Georgene Fedoriska, Office of Senior Service, reviewed a proposed contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging for the senior community service employment program for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. She reported at this time the state had not disclosed the allocation fee the agency will receive but is requesting approval of the grant by the commissioners. For the current year the agency received $66,004. No county funds are included.

She also submitted the names of five people proposed to serve on the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Advisory Council. They are, Janice Johnson, Pottsville; Debra Herring, Orwigsburg; Joanne Plaxo, Auburn; Rae Thompson, Pottsville; and Marie Fuss, Cumbola, Blythe Township. She also proposed Loretta Zienkiewicz, Shenandoah, fill the unexpired term of Jill Salmona's on the advisory council board.

Public Works Director William Liptok asked the commissioners to approve an extension of a contract with David W. Fannick, Frackville, for more time to complete installing parking lights for the Rest Haven parking lot and security lights in the courthouse parking lot.

County Administrator Mark Scarbinsky presented the name of Ms. Rose Marteslo, of the Cass-Minersville Family Development Agency, to serve on the Schuylkill County Housing Authority's board of directors.

Director Fedoriska, Office of Senior Services, is proposing layoff of five employees from the senior center in Pottsville because of funds cut by the Department of Welfare.

They are, Erica Fritzinger, Tamaqua; Dawn M. Williams, New Philadelphia; and Tiffany Kielh, Butler Township, all clerk typists; Amber Chernewski, Shenandoah, social casework intern; and James Bankes, Frackville, aging care manager. The layoffs to become effective Dec. 28.

Rest Haven Home is requesting Jane O'Reilly, Pottsville, transfered from part time ward clerk to part time switchboard operator and appointment of Susan Carr, Pottsville, as a part time activity aide.

Clerk of Courts Stephen Lukach informed the board Janice Boychak, Frackville, clerk, will be retiring on Dec. 14.

Besides the regular meeting of the commissioners next week the county Employees Retirement Board and the county prison board will be holding their monthly meetings.

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