June 21, 2012
Commissioners Visit Crossing Vineyards & Preserve Two Key Open Space Properties
Annual Conservation District Awards Presented during Meeting
As 2012 chairman of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners, Robert G. Loughery has stated his goal of visiting county businesses of all sizes to highlight their contributions to the Bucks County economy. On the steamy morning of June 20, Chairman Loughery joined Commissioners Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW to approve 40 contract resolutions involving 16 county departments during the board’s bi-monthly business meeting.
“We are trying to get out to (Bucks County) businesses,” Chairman Loughery stated, mentioning a recent meeting at Lockheed Martin in Newtown Township and other upcoming business sessions. He praised Crossing Vineyards for its role in the Bucks County Wine Trail (www.buckscountywinetrail.com) and noted its prominence in Washington Crossing/Upper Makefield Township. He also reminded attendees that the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River will take place in 2026.
The business agenda featured a pair of prime open space acquisitions, the 13.05-acre Moore property in East Rockhill Township and the .55-acre parcel around the Dorothy Henry School in Ivyland Borough. The county’s contribution to the Moore preservation is $122,647.80. County Open Space Coordinator Kris Kern explained that the parcel will be cleaned up prior to settlement and represents “connectivity” to previously preserved land. The Ivyland preservation had personal significance for Commissioner Martin, who attended Ivyland Elementary when the student-teacher ratio was one instructor for four grades. He thanked the Open Space program for pursuing this preservation (which does not include the actual school building). “I was one of the few people still around who attended (Ivyland Elementary),” Commissioner Martin added.
For the Planning Commission, the board unanimously approved the Pennypack Creek Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan that includes portions of Warminster and Upper Southampton townships. For Emergency Communications, the board signed off on a $251,712.12 contract renewal with Motorola Solutions for technical support and repair of the county’s 9-1-1 radio system.
At the suggestion of Commissioners Marseglia and Martin, the board tabled two Mental Health/Developmental Programs contract to provide additional Reinvestment funds for Peer Support programs. The commissioners requested more information about the scope of the service.
For the Purchasing department, the board approved two natural gas purchase contracts that will save the county approximately $26,000 on an annual basis. The agreements are with Compass Energy Gas Services, LLC of Houston and Hess Corporation of Woodbridge, NJ. They involve transportation and
distribution of the natural gas commodity to county facilities.
Following a discussion of county legal services, Commissioners Loughery and Martin approved a letter of agreement to provide outside counsel with Archer & Greiner, P.C. in connection with labor and employment matters. Commissioner Marseglia voted against the contract.
The meeting opened with a pair of annual commendations, recognizing the Bucks County Conservation District (BCCD) Conservation Individual and Educator of the Year. The first award went to educator Kathryn Leber of United Friends School, who led students in field studies of Licking Run Creek, which flows through Memorial Park in Quakertown. She and her students became increasingly alarmed by the number of leeches, yard waste and trash found in the creek. Thanks in part to a DEP grant and collaboration with the Upper Tohickon Watershed Association and the BCCD, the students monitored the stream, over a span of three years, in order to gain a thorough understanding of the stream’s condition and water quality. Students came to find that residents were dumping lawn waste in or near the creek, causing the water to become polluted. Upon the study’s completion, students made brochures to explain the issue to borough residents.
Ms. Smith, the Conservation Individual of the Year, is the administrator of the Bucks County Audubon Society, overseeing a 70-plus acre preserve in Solebury Township. In the words of one award nominator, “Diane’s contributions to BCAS and environment conservation are incalculable and she is the exact exemplar of going above and beyond the call of duty where natural preservation and education are concerned…No one is more deserving of recognition for her unique contributions to environmental preservation and conservation.” Ms. Smith expressed surprise at the award, noting that “educating the next generation (of youngsters) is one of the salvations of our natural world.”
BCCD Manager Gretchen Schatschneider thanked the commissioners for their support and invited county residents to make nominations for future award winners through the district’s website, www.bucksccd.org.
During miscellaneous comment, Commissioner Marseglia thanked local firefighters for their dedication to recent incidents, including the June 19 incident in Falls Township. Commissioner Martin added his thanks to local SWAT team members during the June 17 residential standoff in Doylestown Township.
In his chief operating officer’s report, Brian Hessenthaler noted that the county workforce is down 179 positions, a number that he confirmed during a meeting with Finance Director David Boscola. The county continues to monitor the Pennsylvania budget negotiations, which are ongoing.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at Lake Towhee Park, Old Bethlehem Pike, Applebachsville. For a complete audio account of the June 20 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.