Commissioners Address Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BCATO)
Providing updates on multiple topics impacting county and municipal government, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners visited the Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BCATO) during their Annual Business Meeting February 2 at Spring Mill Manor. The event brings together elected officials and administrators from Bucks County's 31 townships.
Commissioner Vice Chairman Charles H. Martin kicked off the board's remarks by updating attendees on the county's Veterans ID Discount Card Program, which currently boasts more than 6,000 cardholders and approximately 500 participating businesses. These establishments have committed to provide a substantial discount of 5-20 percent for their goods and services. A complete list is available on the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org. Commissioner Martin also highlighted the county's Municipal Open Space Program, which offers publicly approved funding for land preservation through the 2007 Open Space Referendum. He asked municipal officials to consider their open space planning options and decide if they intend to use their funding allocation.
Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery discussed the growth of the Commissioners' Municipal Economic Development Initiative, which was formalized last year. To date, 15 of the county's 54 municipalities have signed up to work with the Bucks County Planning Commission on this effort. He also provided an overview of the County's Emergency Communications "narrowbanding project." The project will convert 9-1-1 communications from 500 MHz to 700 MHz before the end of 2014 as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. He shared an informational handout about the endeavor, which also can be found on the county website. In addition, Chairman Loughery updated township officials on construction progress of the new Bucks County Justice Center and reuse planning for the existing Courthouse/Administration Building.
Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, detailed three topics: the county's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers; the Peace Center's anti-bullying initiatives, which are supported by local school districts and the District Attorney's office; and the county Code Blue program, which is now supported by community and church volunteers in both lower and central Bucks. CIT is an innovative, first-responder model of police-based, crisis intervention developed with community, behavioral healthcare, and advocacy partnerships.
County Emergency Services Director Scott Forster also delivered remarks about the ongoing effort to recoup damage funds from Hurricane Sandy. A recent Presidential declaration made Bucks County eligible to file claims related to the storm. County officials are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to meet with individual municipalities to address their needs.