Com­mis­sion­ers save money on nat­u­ral gas

The Republican Herald - - LOCAL - BY PETER E. BORTNER STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: pbort­ner@re­pub­li­can­her­ald.com; 570-628-6014

POTTSVILLE — Schuylkill County will be saving money on its nat­u­ral gas bill start­ing in Novem­ber, as the com­mis­sion­ers on Thurs­day ap­proved a three­year con­tract with a Berks County com­pany to sup­ply fuel to the court­house and prison.

Un­der the terms of the pact with UGI En­ergy Ser­vices LLC, Wy­omiss­ing, the county will pay $3.359 per de­catherm for the gas.

“We get com­pet­i­tive pric­ing. We go with the best price. That’s why we locked in to­day,” County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gary Ben­der said of the pact, which starts Nov. 1 and runs through Oct. 31, 2021. “That rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings from what we’re pay­ing now.”

The county cur­rently has a con­tract with Di­rect En­ergy, Houston, un­der which it pays $4.285 per de­catherm for nat­u­ral gas. That con­tract ex­pires on Oct. 31, Ben­der said.

Ben­der said the new con­tract does not deal with sup­ply­ing nat­u­ral gas for the Hu­man Ser­vices and Chil­dren & Youth build­ings on North Cen­tre Street in Pottsville. He said a new agree­ment will be reached soon con­cern­ing those build­ings.

How­ever, he said the pact for the court­house and prison is the big one.

“The prison and the court­house use the most” nat­u­ral gas, ac­cord­ing to Ben­der.

Also on Thurs­day, the com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved a grant agree­ment for the Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency to re­ceive $18,560 un­der the Haz­ardous Ma­te­rial Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Pro­gram. The com­mis­sion­ers said the money will go to­ward fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als plan­ning and/or train­ing, with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ing 80 per­cent of the money and the county 20 per­cent.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved a one-year in­tern­ship agree­ment be­tween McCann School of Busi­ness & Tech­nol­ogy and the Adult Pro­ba­tion and Pa­role Of­fice for in­tern­ships for crim­i­nal jus­tice stu­dents. Ben­der said four or five stu­dents will be able to take ad­van­tage of the pro­gram dur­ing the next year.

Also, the com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved con­tracts with 11 peo­ple to act through Dec. 31 as site su­per­vi­sors for ju­ve­nile pro­ba­tion of­fi­cers. The 11 are: Trent Barnes, Pottsville; Joseph Costa, Frackville; Kolby Kleck­ner, Pottsville; Jenna Porter, Or­wigs­burg; Mitchell Robin­son, Pottsville; Eric Rooney, Shenan­doah; Luke Rossi, Pine Grove; James Sper­herly, Pottsville; Marissa Sz­cyglak, Shenan­doah; John Toomey, Pottsville; McKayla Work­man, Min­ersville

In other busi­ness, the com­mis­sion­ers:

• Voted to ad­ver­tise for bids for ren­o­va­tions to the Hu­man Ser­vices Build­ing, 410-420 N. Cen­tre St., Pottsville. Bids will be ac­cepted until 3 p.m. June 18 at the con­troller’s of­fice, pub­licly opened and read aloud at 9 a.m. June 20 in the com­mis­sion­ers board room and re­ported at the com­mis­sion­ers work ses­sion at 10 a.m. that same date. The ten­ta­tive bid award date is June 27.

• Pro­moted Linda Deatrich, Schuylkill Haven, to chief county clerk. The Salary Board voted to set her hourly salary at $20.5752.

• Is­sued procla­ma­tions set­ting 2018 as the cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary of 4-H in Schuylkill County and June 21 as Na­tional Dump the Pump Day. The lat­ter also marks the 13th Na­tional Dump the Pump Day, an ef­fort to pro­mote pu­bic trans­porta­tion, and the Schuylkill Trans­porta­tion Sys­tem will be of­fer­ing free rides that day.

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