Commissioners Proclaim April "Child Abuse Awareness Month" During Bi-Monthly Business Meeting
There was a theme of community benevolence running through the April 3 business meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners. With members of several prominent organizations in attendance - including the Children's Advocacy Center, the United Way of Bucks County, the Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA) and State Representative Kathy Watson - Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, issued three proclamations, among them the designation of April, 2013 as Child Abuse Awareness Month.
"Life is all about children," Representative Watson told the audience in the Courthouse Community Room. She praised Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler for his work on the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, while pledging to continue her work at the state level to advance child protection legislation. "We can all learn to be good observers," she added. As part of the countywide awareness effort, the Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency has partnered with the District Attorney's Office, Children's Advocacy Center and NOVA to plant three "Pinwheels to Prevent Child Abuse" gardens. Each garden will include 806 colorful pinwheels, and every pinwheel will represent one brave person who stood up for a child and reported abuse in 2012. The gardens will be planted at the following locations: United Friends School in Quakertown, Hartsville Fire Company in Warminster and Newtown Middle School in Newtown.
In addition, the commissioners proclaimed April 10, 2013 "Operation Helping Hand Day" throughout the county. Participants are asked to join the effort by placing non-perishable items in bins located on the 2nd floor of the Bucks County Courthouse. Food will be collected in public and private schools throughout Bucks County and in other community locations including many senior citizen centers, and will be distributed to those in need by a network of 10 emergency food cupboards and two residential programs. Last year these groups provided an aggregate total of more than 95,000 Bucks County residents in emergency need with 41,716 pounds of food.
The business agenda featured the approval of 21 contract resolutions involving 14 county departments. Among them was a $75,259 credit from Motorola Solutions Inc. to allow the exchange of a paging system and eliminate hardware that is no longer need for the "narrowbanding" radio project. The board also unanimously approved County Ordinance No. 143 to incur non-electoral debt pursuant to the issuance of general obligation notes in the aggregate principal amount of $15 million to finance the purchase of radios for the federally mandated, countywide project.
The board also unanimously approved a refinancing of the 2004 Pension Obligation Bond, which will save the county approximately $8.5 million due to the current favorable interest rate environment, according to Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola.
The board also signed off on the purchase of seven new county vehicles that will replace high-mileage fleet members, four 2013 Ford Utility Police Interceptor AWD vehicles ($107,900) for Park Rangers and three 2013 Ford Explorers to replace vehicles currently in the Sheriff's fleet.
Commissioner Martin voted against a three-year, $32,704 Information Technology contract with Verizon Business Network Services, Inc. to provide voice and network services for the Juvenile Probation satellite office in Quakertown.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported on three items, including two public hearings on the Pennsylvania Human Services Block Grant Program that will take place on Tuesday, May 7 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Quakertown Library and Thursday, May 9 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Bensalem Library; the Saturday, April 27 Drug Take Back Event at locations throughout the county (last fall's event collected 5,300 pounds of medications; and the recent award of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) "21st Century Best Practices Award" to the Bucks County Department of Corrections for its House Arrest Program.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush offered an update on two items - a "Leadership Award" that Buckingham Township recently received from the Pennsylvania Land Conservation Trust, and the announcement of the first of two public visioning workshops to discuss Neshaminy Trail Feasibility, which will take place from 7-9 p.m. on April 3 at the Doylestown Public Library (150 S. Pine St.).
Chairman Loughery shared excerpts of a recent letter he received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding the county's successful hazard mitigation program, crediting the county Emergency Management Agency and Planning Commission staffs for their work on that endeavor. Commissioner Martin called on his board colleagues to write a letter supporting CCAP's effort to endorse the elimination of the office of jury commissioner at the county level.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in the Community Room (1st Floor) of the Bucks County Courthouse, 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the April 3 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the "Audio from Last Mtg" link on the home page.