A Luzerne County Council committee formed to discuss infrastructure will meet for the first time Monday.

Council had first discussed the creation of the committee in 2022 to focus on county projects and overall development issues, but no meetings were held.

In January, council Chairman John Lombardo appointed four council members to the committee: Jimmy Sabatino, Harry Haas, Patty Krushnowski and LeeAnn McDermott.

Sabatino, the committee chairman, said the first meeting will include a status report on county projects from county Operational Services Division Head Jennifer Pecora and a discussion about 2024 project goals.

He also has scheduled a discussion about the county-owned Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge over the Susquehanna River. Council members are contemplating how to proceed in addressing the deteriorated span.

Monday’s meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre, with instructions for the remote attendance option posted under council’s online public meetings link at luzernecounty.org.

Thursday meeting

Council’s Strategic Initiatives Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the courthouse, with remote attendance instructions posted at the same link above.

Chaired by Haas, this committee also includes Council members Joanna Bryn Smith, Kevin Lescavage and Brittany Stephenson.

It focuses on long-term county goals and attainable steps to achieve them.

Employee honor

County Mental Health/Developmental Services Administrator Tara Fox was selected to be part of the state’s 988 Crisis System Response Training and Technical Assistance Policy Academy, county Manager Romilda Crocamo told council this week.

Pennsylvania has an eight-member core group aimed at improving the design of crisis systems, and Fox will represent county mental health administrators.

“It’s a very big honor that she was chosen, and I want to applaud her for the work that she does,” Crocamo said.

Parking lease

Council unanimously voted last week to approve a lease for King’s College to continue using an upper parking lot across from the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre — an arrangement first enacted by prior commissioners in December 2003.

County Chief Solicitor Harry W. Skene has told council the parking lease renewals are usually five years, but this one is for two years because the county will be completing an asset study that could identify a county use for the property.

The lease agreement was $10,000 annually in the first decade and locked in two additional five-year renewals at $11,000 annually and then $12,000 per year. The new agreement is $15,000 for 2024 and $16,000 for 2025.

Prison contracts

Also in a unanimous vote, council approved two contracts for work that will be funded by a $336,364 federal COVID-19 grant that came through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and originated from the Centers for Disease Control.

The first contract with Reassurance Solutions for $96,000 will purchase technology to monitor the vital signs of inmates under medical observation. Sixteen sensors will be used to check resting heart rates, respiration and movement in individual cells, the resolution said.

In the other contract, the prison will pay Vollara $266,121 for the purchase and installation of air purification units in the prison. These “ActivePure Technology” air and surface units will control and neutralize viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi and other contaminants to better protect staff and inmates from airborne diseases, the resolution said.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Dallas Post

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