Traveling to Middletown Township's sprawling Pennswood Village continuing care retirement community on the morning of September 4, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners approved 40 contract resolutions involving 16 county departments during its bi-monthly business meeting. The agenda also featured the commendation of five members of the county 9-1-1 Emergency Communications department, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary (July 13, 1963) and also became a nationally certified training program in compliance with APCO Project 33 Certification.
The quartet of Operations Superintendent Dennis Forsyth, Operations Supervisors Walter Hartranft and James Thompson and Squad Coordinator David Hagerty earned acclaim from Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia for their visionary efforts to establish a telephone tip line. On July 3, 2013, an elderly gentleman suffered stab wounds that turned out to be fatal during a Doylestown Borough incident. The accused attacker was detained less than 48 hours after the establishment of the tip line, a development that led county District Attorney David Heckler and his staff to offer their congratulations for the 9-1-1 staff's actions, as well.
Commissioner Martin followed with a commendation to Dispatcher Colleen Sturkey, who was instrumental in handling a February 19 emergency communications call from a Warminster Township apartment complex. The incident, which involved an intoxicated caller and a loaded .44 Magnum in the vicinity, lasted more than a half hour. According to District Attorney Heckler, Dispatcher Sturkey "remained thoroughly professional and calm throughout. I simply cannot imagine that any dispatcher could have done a better job in these extraordinarily difficult circumstances. It seems to me that (your response) should be used as a training model for others."
The business portion of the meeting featured the 2-1 approval (Commissioner Marseglia dissenting) of a pair of change orders for the new Bucks County Justice Center. Those items included an $81,711 contract increase with general contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. of Philadelphia associated with Armory wing wall and parapet reconstruction and a $29,969 contract increase for corrective measures to the 6th floor precast tube steel connection. According to county Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, the change orders (numbers 33 and 34 for the general contractor to date), put the project 1.69 percent over budget at this juncture. During the September 18 Commissioners' Meeting, Mr. Anderson will update the progress of the Justice Center construction in a more detailed manner.
For the Community and Business department, the board unanimously approved $2.62 million of grant award agreements for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) programs for the period April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. The commissioners also approved three legal representation contracts for the Emergency Communications/Narrowbanding project.
The board also agreed to purchase the county's annual influenza vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur of Swiftwater, PA, at a total cost of $75,339.89. That contract will cover approximately 11,000 doses of seasonal flu vaccine that will be administered by Health Department personnel and medical volunteers at multiple county sites.
For Human Resources, the commissioners approved an Act 195 Arbitration Award for approximately 260 Corrections Department employees over the period January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015. For the Planning Commission, the board signed off on a $40,000 grant agreement from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to develop the Middle Neshaminy Creek Trail Feasibility Study over the next three-and-a-half years. According to Planning Commission Executive Director Lynn Bush, this feasibility study will be the third one conducted within the county - linking with previous studies of other portions of the Neshaminy Creek.
Ms. Bush also praised Pennswood Village for its exemplary stormwater management protocols, which have been a model for other Bucks County facilities. The Pennswood Village community was established in June, 1980 on the site of the former George School dairy farm.
In addition to her General Services change orders dissent, Commissioner Marseglia also voted against a $95,216, three-year contract for purchase of Corrections inmate clothing and a $265,025 one-year contract renewal of Miscellaneous Professional Liability Insurance for the Finance department. The board also untabled an inmate telephone contract with Global Tel* Link of Mobile, AL that had been shelved during the August 14 business meeting. All three commissioners approved the untabled item.
Commissioner Marseglia also issued a proclamation designating September 8-14 at "Suicide Awareness Week" to Patricia Lufkin of the organization Survivors of Suicide, Inc. Suicide Awareness Week is a key part of Survivors of Suicide, Inc.'s mission to provide a support network for those who are left in the wake of a tragic loss sparked by suicide (which takes place approximately every 40 seconds in the United States).
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler again reminded residents that the county's 8th Annual Pandemic Flu Drill will take place on Saturday, September 28 at four walk-in locations around the county. County Health Director Dr. David Damsker noted the drill will offer free seasonal flu shots for residents ages 3 and up from 11 a.m-2 p.m. To simulate emergency preparedness, county officials will ask that no bags be brought into any of the four sites. Mr. Hessenthaler also noted that the county will conduct another prescription drug take back event on Saturday, October 26 at locations throughout Bucks.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at Byers' Choice, 4355 County Line Rd., Chalfont, PA 18914 (please note: night meeting). For a complete audio account of the September 4 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the "Audio from Last Mtg" link on the home page.