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$45,970 lightning suppression system awarded for prison

Published June 29. 2012 05:02PM

Carbon County Correctional Facility will soon be better protected from lightning strikes.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted unanimously to award the lightning suppression system project contract to Albarell Electric Inc. of Bethlehem. Albarell was the sole bidder for the project and bid $45,970 for the work.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, explained after the vote that the commissioners had Mike Schade from Schade Engineering Inc., the project engineer, review the bid.

They also contacted the electrical union in Allentown to discuss questions the county had about the bid, including if the cost of the bid was appropriate for the scope of work.

Nothstein said the union said that after reviewing the scope of work, they believed it was a fair price for the project.

He added that the board then weighed the costs if they chose to readvertise, which would also include rewriting some of the specifications and those costs would far outweigh possibly getting more companies to bid on the project and a lower cost for the work.

"We felt it was best to award the bid," he said.

The lightning suppression system at the Broad Mountain facility has been in the works for over a decade, after the county's insurance provider told them that this system was necessary because the prison was the victim of numerous lightning strikes.

Since then, the county has discussed what should be done and decided to move on the project last year.

In other matters, Nothstein updated the board on the narrowbanding 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 the radios for the emergency medical services have been delivered to the installer for the project, and will be held because the installation plan has changed.

Now, 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.

Nothstein said this will cut down on travel time for the installers.

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.

The county then hired Delta Development Group Inc. of Mechanicsburg at a cost of $10,000 to handle a $1.4 million Local Share grant application.

In January, county officials received word that they will be receiving $907,453 of local share funds to complete the project.

The board of commissioners also discussed or took action on the following items:

• Authorized the Carbon County Action Committee for Human Services to continue uninterrupted the 2011-2012 Human Services Development Fund related to adult homemaker services to clients in need beyond June 30. Any expense incurred beyond June 30 will be recorded as the fiscal year 2012-2013 HSDF Related/Human Services Block Grant costs.

• Approved a time extension for preliminary design of bridge 16, located on Koch Road in Towamensing Township, from June 30 to Oct. 31. The reason for the extension was unexpected problems with the type, size, and location report as recommended by Carbon Engineering and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

• Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard read a letter from MaryAnn Rebar, a Nesquehoning resident, recognizing Bob Halenar, Ryan Richards and Tristan Balliet for cutting back the weeds along the railroad track near Coal Street.

"A lot of times these young people do go unnoticed and it's nice when the commissioners receive a letter like this," he said.

• Nothstein said that the Area Agency on Aging in Palmerton still has a few farmers market vouchers available to senior citizens who qualify for the program. To receive the vouchers, seniors must go to the Area Agency on Aging office.

• Nothstein also reminded people that there are a number of nice dogs still available for adoption at the shelter, located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning.

• Commissioner William O'Gurek voiced his concern about one seminar request that was approved by Nothstein and Gerhard. He voted "no" to approving Jane Krebs' request to attend the Pennsylvania County Election Officials Conference in State College because he felt this would be detrimental to the county's election operations for a few days as it prepares for the upcoming presidential election.

He said that since the county election office is only a two-person office, having both Krebs and Lisa Dart, director of the election office, out at the conference would cause the county to close the election office for multiple days during a busy time of the year when registering and absentee ballot registration would be happening.

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