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123 recycling bins now owned by Carbon man

Published May 31. 2013 05:03PM

A Nesquehoning man now owns the 123 blue recycling bins that once held plastic, metal and paper for the now-defunct county Solid Waste Management Department.

Shawn Quigley submitted the highest bids to buy the bins. County commissioners on Thursday agreed to sell him the bins.

Efforts to reach Quigley to find out what he plans to do with the bins were unsuccessful.

Other bidders were Nick Boyle of Tamaqua, Barry Fisher of Lehighton, and Robert Balch of Palmerton.

Quigley bid a total of $4,457.01 for 112 six cubic yard containers, and a total of $200.28 for 11 three cubic yard containers. The containers had been in Banks, Lehigh, Lower Towamensing, Towamensing, and Franklin townships; in Nesquehoning, Palmerton, Parryville, and Weatherly boroughs; in Bowmanstown; and at several county properties: the main parking lot, animal shelter, communications center and prison.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said he was pleased with the bids.

The recycling program was part of the county's Solid Waste Management Department. As they crafted the 2013 budget in January, commissioners decided to scrap the department as a cost-cutting measure.

In other matters Thursday, commissioners:

• Opened bids for replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in Courtroom 2. Spotts Brothers Inc., of Schuylkill Haven, bid $44,850 for the job. L&S Electrical Construction of Summit Hill bid $23,660. The bids will be reviewed, and commissioners expect to award the work when they meet at 10:30 a.m. June 5.

• Approved the reappointment of Kim Miller to the Pocono Counties Workforce Investment Board for an additional three years, effective July 1 through June 30, 2016;

• Agreed to send a letter of intent to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency concerning participation in a regional assessment regarding a regional initiative to create an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) that would connect the 911 centers. There is no cost to the county; $25,000 has been awarded to the project.

County Commissioners Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that only Act 56 funds would be used if the project is approved. Act 56 provides for a $1 per cell phone fee to be contributed to 911 centers.

Schuylkill, Lehigh, Pike and Monroe counties, and Bethlehem and Allentown have already submitted letters of intent.

The assessment will show current equipment and network capabilities of the 911 center, initial capital expenses, future (five years) capital expenses, recurring charges and anticipated savings for each PSAP (Public Safety Answering Points).

For this initiative, the county will be joining Schuylkill, Lehigh, Pike and Monroe counties and the cities of Bethlehem and Allentown to form one region, said Commissioner William O'Gurek.

"This is being done in anticipation of PEMA implementing a statewide program called New Generation 9-1-1, an enhanced program that will, among other things, enable wireless callers to the 911 centers to transmit text, images, video and data to the centers, relying on something called ESInet (Emergency Services IP Network)," he said.

"The assessment will help all of the participants of the region to determine what they need to do to become compatible with the ESInet. It is anticipated the participants may be able to share equipment and save tens of thousands of dollars in costs by using the regional approach," O'Gurek said.

Benefits of Next Generation 9-1-1 equipment and the regional sharing approach include: enhanced collaboration, increased operational efficiency, improved interoperability, greater situational awareness, better disaster recovery, enhanced fiscal control and common network solutions.

For the cost of the assessments, PEMA granted $45,000 to first through third class counties, $35,000 for fourth through fifth class counties and $25-30,000 to sixth through eighth class counties. Carbon's grant is for $25,000.

• Agreed to renew the 2013-14 insurance policy with the Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool from June 1 through June 1, 2014, at a total cost of $266,058. That's a decrease of $5,542, or 2.1 percent, over last year in the county's annual premium.

PCorp is an insurance pool operated by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. Forty-five of the 67 counties participate in the pool, as well as four other county-affiliated entities.

Carbon's costs have dropped over $100,000 in five years. The county paid $259,521 in 2011, $357,598 in 2010 and $386,446 in 2009, O'Gurek said.

"We average between 10-15 claims a year, which is a low number attributable to a conscious effort to reduce risk, safety committee, for examples. Claims in last four years were: 2012-13, 11; 2011-12, 15; 2010-11, 10; and 2009-10, 13," he said.

The premium is based on insuring $90.3-million worth of property (including buildings, personal property and computers) and 57 vehicles. The premium is also based on payroll. This year, the county's payroll is $11,466,845.

The coverages include: property, general liability, law enforcement liability, automobile, errors and omissions and crime.

• Approved the revised amendment attachment 1A of the Child Care Information Services grant agreement between the county and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for fiscal year 2012-13.

The revision changes the amount of the fiscal year 2012-13 grant extension to $2,000, covering only the salary of the county Child Care Information Services director to perform turnover and payment activities during July and August.

Commissioners on May 9 voted to not finalize a proposed five-year, $7 million contract with the state to administer subsidized child care services in both Carbon and Monroe counties. Commissioners said they were concerned about potential costs to the county, and that the state changed the contract during the proposal process.

The county had initially offered to administer the program after the state decided to consolidate it in Carbon and Monroe counties. The decision to not enter into the contract may cost three county employees their jobs.

• Approved a tax assessment tax refund to Lake Harmony Resorts in Kidder Township. The assessment was reduced from $1,266,094 to $651,222 for the 2012 tax year. That reduced the property tax bill by $4,662.14.

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