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Carbon narrowbanding project moving along

Published July 06. 2012 05:02PM

Carbon County is moving forward on its narrowbanding project.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, updated the board on the current status of the project. The reason for the project was the Federal Communications Commission mandated a reduction in the radio frequency to 12.5 kHz bandwidth to allow for more radio channels for emergencies. All municipalities and counties in the country must comply with this mandate by Jan. 1, 2013 or they could face a $10,000 a day fine.

He said that work on the tower sites in the county for the project is expected to begin Monday.

"We're moving along," Nothstein said.

Currently, the radios for the emergency medical services in the county have been delivered to the installer for the project, and will be held because the installation plan has changed.

Last week, Nothstein explained that the county will wait until all radios for the fire and police have also been received. Installers will then install the radios one municipality at a time instead of one type of service at a time.

Carbon County has been working on the narrowbanding project with area municipalities since early last year when the county commissioners decided to help ease the burden of emergency personnel by applying for a countywide grant.

In other matters, the board voted on the following items:

• Approve a letter of award from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for Carbon County's Restrictive Intermediate Punishment project. The county will receive $12,226 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

• Reschedule the monthly prison board meeting to Thursday, July 12, immediately following the commissioners' and election board meetings at the courthouse annex. The reason for the change from its scheduled date of July 18, is due to a lack of quorum expected.

• Award contracts for Community Development Block Grant projects for street improvements. They are: in Franklin Township, Pennsy Supply Inc. of Wapwallopen with a bid of $65,444.75; in Nesquehoning, Hazleton Site Contractors of Hazleton, $83,534.75; and in Parryville, Bracalente Construction Inc. of Northampton, $73,500.

• Approve an agreement with Essential Management Solutions LLC of Pottsville, to aid the 911 Communications Center in submitting a mandatory triennial plan that outlines the expenditures and other upgrades using Acts 78 and 56 funds, as required by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. The contract shall not exceed $15,000.

• Approve the Shepherd House State Plan for the state food purchase program for July 1 through June 30, 2013. The revenue allocation has not been finalized.

• Approve an agreement issued by PennDOT between Carbon County and Carbon Engineering to cover the interim inspection of bridge 3, located on East Penn Street in Lehighton. The action moves funds in the amount of $9,575.78, originally allocated for crane rental, to be moved and used for bridge inspection costs.

• Authorized the withdrawal of Carbon County from the State Civil Service Commission, effective Jan. 1, 2013. The reason for the withdrawal was because there were some issues with the hiring process and the county felt it could handle it better.

• Approve the 2012 program year Work Force Investment Area financial agreement between Carbon County, the administrative entity, and Pike County for employment and training and related administrative services. The maximum payment for Pike shall not exceed $395,506. The agreement will be from July 1 to June 30, 2013. The Pocono Counties WIA provides employment training opportunities to help people get back into the workforce.

• Forgive delinquent county taxes, as well as bureau costs and fees, at the request of the Tax Claim Bureau director, for the Ridgewood Country Estates. The amount forgiven for the years 2006-2007 is $1,129.13. The reason for the action is because a court stipulation on the land in question placed a zero assessed value on the property because it was considered a common area.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard thanked state Rep. Doyle Heffley and Henry Desrosiers, county Veterans Affairs director, for organizing a veterans program at Jim Thorpe Area High School recently. Over 100 veterans from the Gulf War to the present received medals for their service.

He also thanked a number of people who have either donated money or their services to the animal shelter.

Gerhard also clarified his reasoning for voting in favor of sending both Jane Krebs and Lisa Dart from the county elections office to a seminar at State College in August. Last week, Commissioner William O'Gurek voiced his concern with having both women attend the seminar because it would mean closing the elections office.

Gerhard said that he voted in favor of it because he felt it is very important they both get trained with the new photo identification rules and because it is an important election race.

If someone brings in an absentee ballot or needs a registration form to register to vote, Gerhard said they could visit the planning office between Aug. 21 and 23, when Krebs and Dart will be at the conference.

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