Commissioners Help Dublin Borough Celebrate Its Centennial during September Business Meeting
Packed Agenda Features Preservation of 255-Acre Metzger Farm in Springfield Township
Meeting for the first time in more than a month, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners traveled to the Dublin Volunteer Fire Company to deliberate 123 agenda items involving 22 county departments on the evening of September 19. Ranging from Agricultural Land Preservation to Voting Machines, the list of contracts included nine grant applications for gaming money that will be forwarded to the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority for potential distribution. Those include $800,000 for annual operations of the Lower Bucks Public Safety Training Center, a recipient that Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW agree is significant.
The public meeting opened with a slew of proclamations, including recognition of Dublin Borough’s 100th anniversary. Incorporated in September, 1912, the Borough (with a population of just over 2,100 according to the 2010 Census) has maintained much of its historic charm through the years. Chairman Loughery welcomed Mayor Chris Hayes and members of Dublin Council, as well as Borough Manager Bill Wert. On behalf of the board, the chairman stated: “We support the citizens of Dublin, both past and present, in their efforts to create a strong and prosperous community as the borough has worked diligently to preserve its past while revitalizing its future.”
The commissioners approved the county’s portion of a 255.75-acre agricultural conservation easement on the Donald C. Metzger Farm in Springfield Township. The $1.15 million easement represents one-half of the total price, with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania footing the bill for the other 50 percent. The Metzger farm is the second largest the commissioners have preserved since the Agricultural Land Preservation Program began in 1989, according to Program Director Rich Harvey. A crop and horse farm with 144 acres in production, it ranked second of 55 preservation applications during 2012. It is situated near other farms that could subsequently be preserved as the program strives to reach its goal of 17,000 acres preserved by 2017. Currently, the total stands at 153 farms totaling 13,132 acres.
A wide-range discussion of local job creation accompanied the conditional approval of a PILOT agreement between the County of Bucks and Green Lane Properties, LLC, pursuant to the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development. The board was adamant that Green Lane seek local labor options when possible.
The board approved five contracts for the General Services division, including a $23,674 change order with Justice Center General Contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. for unforeseen required work on the existing Armory structure. County Director of Operations Jerry Anderson also provided an update on the Justice Center project, also sharing several digital pictures that were taken from the crane bucket 170 feet above the site. According to Mr. Anderson, the foundation work is done, as are the first two levels of structural steel. “This is the part where we start to move pretty quickly,” Mr. Anderson noted. He added that recent good weather has allowed workers to make up several days on the construction timetable. Mr. Anderson also offered a report on the number of workers on the job who are Bucks County residents employed by Bucks County-based companies.
The mammoth agenda also included the approval of 46 contracts (many of them renewals) for the Mental Health/Developmental Programs department. Commissioner Martin voted against one of those, an $812,425 contract renewal for residential services with Horizon House, Inc. of Philadelphia.
Commissioners Loughery and Martin voted to approve a $28,000 contract with county voting machine vendor Electec, Inc. for the rental of up to 80 additional voting machines for the November 6, 2012 General Election. Commissioner Marseglia voted against that contract.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported on several upcoming events, including the county’s 7th Annual Pandemic Flu Drill (three drive-thru locations from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, September 29) and another Drug Take Back event at multiple locations throughout the county (also on Saturday, September 29). At 10 a.m. on Sunday, September 30, the commissioners will host the annual Fallen Firefighters Ceremony in the Courthouse Memorial Courtyard. This year, they will honor Bristol Fire Police Captain Dave Wintz, who passed away during May, 2012.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reminded residents that the final electronic and computer collection will take place – rain or shine – from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 in the parking lot of the Almshouse Complex (1260 Almshouse Rd., Doylestown Township).
At the outset of the meeting, Commissioner Marseglia read two proclamations, one designating September, 2012 as “Recovery Month” and another marking September, 2012 as “Suicide Awareness Month.” Commissioner Martin proclaimed Friday, September 21 as “Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Day” throughout the county. Bucks County has 3 veterans listed as missing in action and all are from the Vietnam War: Air Force Captain Donald Kemmerer of Quakertown, Air Force 1st Lieutenant Walter Sigafoos of Richboro and Army Specialist 4th Class Clifford Van Artsdalen of Plumsteadville. Richard Scott of Doylestown VFW Post 175 asked meeting attendees to take a moment to pay respects to those 83,000 American service members who remain missing.
On behalf of FACT (Fighting Aids Continually Together), the commissioners proclaimed Sunday, September 23 “FACT AIDS Walk Day” throughout the county. The 13th Annual 10-Kilometer Walk will take place at 10 a.m. from the parking lot of New Hope-Solebury High School. More information about the event is available at www.FACTBucksCounty.org.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at ITT Technical Institute, 311 Veterans Highway, Levittown. For a complete audio account of the September 19 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.