Commissioners Visit Newtown Township's Rose Bank Winery for May 1 Business Meeting
Each spring, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners shifts its bi-monthly business meetings from the familiar comfort of the Courthouse Community Room to a diverse array of locations throughout the county's 54 municipalities. On the morning of May 1, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW traveled to Newtown Township's spacious Rose Bank Winery banquet hall (room to accommodate parties of up to 500) to conduct a full business agenda. According to Chairman Loughery, the site was chosen as the commissioners seek to "highlight local businesses." Located on a tract of land originally deeded by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, to his daughters hundreds of years ago, Rose Bank Winery overlooks lush pastures with Baby Doll sheep. The land also features a Manor House from 1719 and a 3-story barn circa 1835. The chairman specifically noted the agricultural and tourism benefits of the county's multiple wineries, nine of which are part of the Bucks County Wine Trail (www.buckscountywinetrail.com).
After the board approved 32 contract resolutions involving 14 county departments, the commissioners unanimously signed off on County Ordinance No. 144. That ordinance authorized the incurrence of non-electoral debt by the issuance of $59.615 million federally taxable general obligation bonds, Series A of 2013, which will be used "to advance refund a portion of the county'soutstanding federally taxable general obligation bonds, Series of 2004, and to pay the costs of issuing the bonds." According to county bond counsel, the ordinance will result in an $8.9 million savings to the county (or 16 percent). In addition, during this process the county's Aaa rating from Moody's Investors Service was reaffirmed. "We have never seen savings of this magnitude," noted county Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola.
During the resolution portion of the meeting, the board approved a $74,943 annual revenue item for the Area Agency on Aging for the renewal of a federal grant award for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The board, by a 2-1 margin (Commissioner Marseglia dissenting), also approved a pair of one-year contract extensions and increases with Aramark Facilities Services of Philadelphia to provide maintenance and project support services to the Department of Corrections and Youth Center ($861,460.90) and for reimbursement of constructions, electrical and plumbing materials and overtime for emergency call-ins ($265,000) at those facilities.
Commissioner Marseglia requested more detailed information for residents about the approved purchase of pesticide/mosquito control products for the Health Department's West Nile Virus program. Health Department officials will prepare a fact sheet for public distribution in the upcoming weeks.
The meeting commenced with three proclamations. Commissioner Marseglia read one proclaiming May, 2013, as "Older Americans Month," noting two significant upcoming events - the May 16 Retired and Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) Appreciation Lunch at The Waterwheel Restaurant in Doylestown and the 31st Annual Bucks County Senior Games, which will held June 10-14. "With your support, we take care of a lot of seniors," commented Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council Chairman Fred Stewart. Mr. Stewart also asked those in attendance to remember long-time AAA Council member Jim Kinney of Northampton Township, who passed away last month.
Commissioner Martin proclaimed May 5-11 "Corrections Officer and Employees Week," praising Director of Corrections Bill Plantier and his staff for their around-the-clock efforts to provide public safety. Next week, the Department of Corrections will honor its 2013 Officers of the Year during a mid-day ceremony.
Chairman Loughery read a proclamation designating May 2 as "Foster Parent Volunteer Recognition Day." The 18th Annual Foster Parent Recognition Dinner will take place at 6 p.m. that evening at Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland. The Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency currently has 374 children in its foster care system. Bucks County foster care depends on a cadre of dedicated adults and volunteers interested in making a difference in the lives of children by welcoming them into 160 safe, nurturing homes throughout the county.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler provided an update on two upcoming Human Services Block Grant Hearings, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 at the Quakertown Library (401 W. Mill St., Quakertown, 18951-1248), and at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 9 at the Bensalem Library (3700 Hulmeville Rd., Bensalem, 19020-4491). Mr. Hessenthaler alsocommented on the April 27 Medication Take Back Collection, which netted 6,710 pounds in four hours. "This is a program that continues to grow and grow," he noted. "It is a wonderful thing for everybody involved."
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at the Lingohocken Fire Company, to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. For a complete audio account of the May 1 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the "Audio from Last Mtg" link on the home page.