During a business meeting that approached two hours on the morning of November 20, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners approved 32 contract resolutions involving 15 county departments. Of those 32 resolutions, 12 were devoted the county’s General Services department. As construction progresses on the county’s new, 280,000-square foot Justice Center across Main St. from the current Courthouse/Administration Building, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, agreed to finance one of the Justice Center’s key interior components. They voted to approve a $1.984 million contract with Security and Data Technologies, Inc. of Newtown to provide installation of the audio visual systems in the new building. According to County Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, this bid came in well under the anticipated cost.
By a 2-1 vote (with Commissioner Marseglia dissenting), the board approved three change orders with new Justice Center general contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. of Philadelphia. The first of that trio involved a $56,870 contract increase for setting the remaining brick at new wing wall and stone coping and flashing for the preserved 1909 Armory, which is part of the new structure’s Shewell Ave. façade. The second was a $31,107 contract increase for setting of new coping stones and installation of stainless steel flashing for the reconstruction of battlements on the Armory roof. The third change order was a $394,233 contract increase for a revised roofing panel system in lieu of ballast as a result of a design omission.
Another pair of Justice Center-related change orders involved electrical contractor The Farfield Company of Lititz, PA. A $39,920 contract increase was related to changes required by code for Domestic Relations, and an $85,992 contact increase was necessitated for changes required to meet the building’s elevator code.
The commissioners also approved a $300,000, not to exceed, one-year contract with Carroll Engineering Corporation of Warrington for bridge consulting services. According to Chairman Loughery, this contract resulted from a process that included 11 initial, highly qualified companies. For the County Children & Youth Social Services Agency, the board approved a 37-month, $1.573 million lease of 22,000 square feet of office property at 2325 Heritage Center Dr., in Buckingham Township. Early next year, Children & Youth Social Services personnel will relocate from its current home at Cross Keys in Doylestown Township to the Heritage Business Center.
The County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program’s stated goal of reaching 17,000 preserved acres by the end of 2017 inched 52.59 acres closer to fruition through the unanimous vote to place a conservation easement on the David Library of the American Revolution farm in Upper Makefield Township. Located at 1201 River Road - approximately one-half mile north of the Washington Crossing Visitors Center - the farm ranked No. 1 on the 2012 list of preservation applications. According to County Director of Agricultural Land Preservation Rich Harvey, the David Library farm boasts some of the highest quality soils ever seen in the 24 years of the program. The County will pay 70 percent, or $202,472.50 plus settlement charges and adjustments, of the easement price. The contract lifts the County Agricultural Land Preservation total to 162 farms comprising 13,800 acres, and it also represents one of the few recent preservations in the lower portion of Bucks County.
The board also approved the purchase of 38 chairs for 9-1-1 Emergency Communications personnel from CR Solutions, Inc. of Eagleville, PA at a cost of $36,861. County Director of Emergency Communications Pete Ference explained that the chairs represent a specialty item for emergency call takers who sit for 12-16 hours shifts.
For the Neshaminy Manor long-term care facility, the board signed off on a one-year, $1.644 million contract increase and extension with The Wood Company (Sodexo) to provide dining services to residents. The board also approved the County’s $19,000 portion of a Delaware Riverfront open space grant that will allow Morrisville Borough to conduct ecological restoration along the Delaware River. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will contribute 50 percent of the total project cost.
The meeting opened with a pair of proclamations, as Commissioner Martin recognized November as Epilepsy Awareness Month throughout the County and Chairman Loughery congratulated 2013 Bucks County Poet Laureate Alexa Gutter of Yardley. Ms. Gutter, who teaches at New Hope-Solebury High School, recited her award-winning poem “Traveling to a New Job.” She was selected from a field of 78 entries. Now in its 37th year, the Poet Laureate program is funded by Bucks County Community College and administered by Dr. Christopher Bursk and Dr. Charlie Groth.
The board game “Bucks County Opoly” is a fundraiser for HealthLink, a clinic for low income workers that provides medical and dental care. Mr. Bernie Maopolski of One Point Promotions, who coordinated production of the game, called it a “labor of love” and invited residents to purchase the games at local Giant grocery stores and other participating outlets. It retails for $24.99, and features prominent Bucks County attractions such as the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, the Michener and Mercer museums, and local businesses, theaters and restaurants.
The commissioners also accepted a $57,456 rebate check from PFM Advisors representative (and former Philadelphia Eagles tight end) John Spagnola. The rebate is part of a County purchasing plan.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported that last month’s Medication Take Back Day netted 6,700 pounds of drugs – more than the other four southeastern PA counties combined. He also reminded attendees that County Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola will release the 2014 Preliminary Budget figures at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 27, in the 5th Floor Commissioners’ Conference Room. Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reported that the 2013 Bucks County Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Recycling Program netted 460 tons of material – up substantially from last year’s total of 320 tons – all at “zero cost to taxpayers.”
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 in the Bucks County Courthouse Community Room, 1st Floor. For a complete audio account of the November 20 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.