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Schuylkill courthouse roof repairs complete

The roof of the Schuylkill County Courthouse is complete and the cost is lower than expected, commissioners announced Wednesday.

Schuylkill County commissioners chairman Barron “Boots” Hetherington and Gary Hess approved a change order for $11,040 from J.M. Young & Sons Inc. of Belle­ville, bringing the cost to $740,240.

The savings is due to money set aside if rotten wood was found, Gary Bender, county administrator said.

“We didn’t have a lot of problems,” he said Thursday.

Hess said the cost savings is a good thing.

“That project is essentially completed,” Bender said.

Work to remove the slate tiles started in October. A section of rubber roof was also replaced. The project stopped over the winter and finished earlier this month.

Bender said some of the old tiles were very thin, necessitating replacement. Asphalt, a less weighty material, was chosen to reduce the load on the roof of the courthouse due to its age.

Money for the project is from a prior bond issue, Bender said. He didn’t know the exact age of the roof.

Work completed should last for possibly “another 60 or 70 years,” Bender said.

Tax sale

Commissioners approved two properties for repository sale, one in Ashland and the other in Ringtown borough, and tabled five others, two in Wayne Township and three in South Manheim Township.

Jeff Dunkel of Palo Alto, who called in for the meeting, said he was interested in potentially purchasing the five properties and wanted an opportunity to do so.

Angela Toomey, tax claim director, said the respective municipalities and school districts had signed off on the bids prior to Wednesday. All properties that were up for approval for repository sale had been available at prior upset and judicial sales and didn’t sell, Toomey said.

The following items were also approved:

A lease renewal between the county and the Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services for the Mahanoy City Senior Service building, 138 W. Center St., Mahanoy City, for a five-year term from Sept. 1, 2020, through Aug. 31, 2025, at a monthly rental of $4,765.63

Seven budget adjustments, MH/DS $3,806; Planning and Zoning, $4,150; Courts $10,000; Emergency Management $8,239; Public Works $30,720; and Human Resources $210,361.

The amounts for public works and human resources are related to COVID-19 expenses, Paul Buber, finance director said. The $30,720 was for the purchase of transparent security screens for various areas in the courthouse. The $210,361 is related to an invoice for unemployment compensation due to the virus, adding both are reimbursable expenses under the COVID-19 Block Grant the county received.

Bender said no county employees remain on furlough.