May 3, 2012
Commissioners Visit Lockheed Martin’s Patriot Center for Bi-Monthly Business Meeting
“Public-Private Partnership Celebrated at Newtown Twp. Complex”
As the 2012 chairman of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners, Robert G. Loughery has a stated goal of visiting some of the county’s largest “private employers and businesses” to conduct the board’s bi-monthly business agendas. On May 2, Commissioners Loughery, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW presided over a two-and-a-half-hour session in the state-of-the-art Patriot Center meeting room at Lockheed Martin.
The spacecraft corporation, which employees approximately 1,100 at its Newtown Township facility, served as a most gracious host, with a unique connection to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners. Lockheed Martin Vice President of Delaware Valley Operations Joe Trench, whose mother served as a county commissioner from 1983-1991, welcomed a nearly filled room by explaining the work that is done on the corporate campus as a communications and power center which creates full scale spacecraft. In fact, 20 Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites currently in orbit were built at the Newtown facility. “When you think of GPS, think of us,” Mr. Trench stated. Lockheed Martin moved into its Bucks County location 16 years ago. “We are a happy Bucks County employer, resident and good neighbor,” he added.
The resolution portion of the agenda featured the approval of 16 contracts for 12 county departments, and the tabling of one item. Agenda discussion centered largely upon a pair of proposed Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) approvals for PILOT agreements that previously were approved by the Bristol Township School District and Township of Bristol. Following a lengthy presentation the commissioners unanimously approved the KOEZ designation for a dedicated18-acre parcel on behalf of Airgas Safety, Inc. The approval will allow Airgas to add significant square footage to its operation and add approximately 70 employees at the Bucks County location.
The board also tabled a KOEZ proposal involving the Bristol Township School District, the Township of Bristol and Green Lane Properties, LLC in order to gather more information about the agreement, which would impact four tax parcels in the same industrial park as the Airgas site (formerly owned by 3M).
For the county Emergency Management Agency, the board approved a 15-month contract for the Roam Secure Alert Network (RSAN)/Cooper Notification that is used to notify residents of emergencies such as floods, severe thunderstorms and other potential threats. The system, which was used widely during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, is billed at $.15 per call, but is 100 percent funded by state grant money.
The board approved a Redevelopment Area Plan for the Shenandoah Woods area of Warminster Township. The contract with the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority involves 51 acres that previously served as 199 residential housing units for service members stationed at Willow Grove. The contract allows the tract to be declared “blighted” and targeted for reuse.
Commissioners Loughery and Martin voted to approve a $21,395 insurance premium to cover the county against Employee Dishonesty, while Commissioner Marseglia voted against approval of that contract.
The meeting opened with four proclamations and a presentation to the commissioners on behalf of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra (DVPO), which is celebrating its 58th season. The DVPO will conduct a free concert at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, in the Bensalem Township TD Bank Amphitheater.
The commissioners proclaimed May, 2012 “Workforce Professionals Month” in recognition of the need for training of a vital and skilled workforce to meet today’s needs. Commissioner Martin read a proclamation designating May, 2012 as “Older Americans Month” throughout the county, specifically mentioning two upcoming events for seniors - the 30th Annual Bucks County Senior Games (which begin May 7) and the May 17 Retired and Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) annual Appreciation Lunch at King’s Caterers. The theme of this year’s Older Americans Month is “Never Too Old To Play.”
In an annual recognition of good deeds done by the U.S. Postal Service Community, the commissioners proclaimed Saturday, May 12 “Letter Carriers Food Drive” throughout the county. On that day, letter carriers will pick up non-perishable items at mailboxes and take it to the local Post Office for sorting and local delivery to food banks. This will be the 20th annual event, which involves 300,000 letter carriers each year. Since its inception, more than one billion pounds of food have been donated.
The fourth proclamation designated May 6-12 as “Corrections Officers and Employees Week.” The Bucks County Department of Corrections has approximately 350 employees who ensure public safety on a daily basis. Next week, the department will name its officers of the year during an annual awards ceremony that coincides with Corrections Officers and Employees Week.
During his chief operating officer’s report, Brian Hessenthaler reminded attendees of the 30th Annual Senior Games (information available on the home page of www.BucksCounty.org), noted that the Saturday, April 28 Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Take Back event netted almost 4,400 pounds (the most of any county in Pennsylvania), and provided a brief update on the Emergency Communications Radio Narrowbanding project, which is moving ahead.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, 655 York Rd., Warminster, PA 18974. For a complete audio account of the May 2 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.