While winter’s wrath forced postponement of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners’ February 5, 2014 meeting, the items of that agenda received consideration during the regularly scheduled meeting of February 19. Ultimately, the crowded resolution portion of the meeting featured the approval of 48 contracts involving 19 county departments. The Courthouse Community Room provided the backdrop for the unanimous decision to preserve 82 acres of the Croydon Woods in Bristol Township through the County Natural Areas Program, to expend $1.338 million to supply and install 462 workstations in the new Bucks County Justice Center, and to enact three contracts for the Children & Youth offices to re-locate from its current location on Swamp Rd. in Doylestown to an office location off York Rd. in Buckingham Township.
Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery opened the meeting by welcoming Pennsylvania Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who will serve as the grand marshal of the 2014 Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sen. McIlhinney will lead the 26th annual event, which steps off from St. Joseph The Worker Church on New Falls Rd. in Falls Township at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15. Commissioner Charles H. Martin read the proclamation honoring the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, praising Sen. McIlhinney for his charitable work and his family’s longstanding commitment to the parade. “I hope you all come out on March 15,” Sen. McIlhinney told meeting attendees.
Chairman Loughery untabled three items from previous agendas, including a pair of Board of Elections contract for the 2014 advertising of the May 20 Primary and November 4 General elections with The Intelligencer and Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers. Prior to the approval of those items (2-1 vote, with Commissioner Marseglia dissenting), the board engaged in a discussion of the concept “newspaper of general circulation.” The commissioners also approved a $228,192 contract with Reliance Graphics of West Chester, PA to provide various ballots for the 2014 and 2015 elections.
The board approved 11 contracts for Children & Youth, among them a $60,474 agreement with Anchor Moving & Storage of Edgewater Park, NJ to move the current offices to their new location, a $128,974 contract with NACR, Inc. of Eagan, MN to provide telephone service at the new offices, and a $90,581 contract with Pomeroy IT Solutions of Hebron, KY to provide information technology network equipment for the new location. Also for Children & Youth, Commissioners Loughery and Martin signed off on a one-year, $7,689 contract with Child & Family Focus to provide specialized foster care (Commissioner Marseglia cast a no vote).
The third untabled item involved a $124,999 contract with Clean Rental Services to provide uniform services to the County General Services department. Commissioner Marseglia suggested that the commissioners form a task force to identify companies that sell American made uniforms, distributing information to that effect to her colleagues. She voted against the untabled item, as well. “It’s not as black and white as you think it is,” Chairman Loughery added.
According to General Services Project Manager Kevin Spencer, the General Services workstation contract for the new Justice Center includes 237 open office stations, 216 private office systems and nine pedestal desks. The average cost per station is $2,895. Mr. Spencer noted that the $1.338 million contract was actually re-bid, coming in approximately $100,000 less than the previous number. County Director of General Services Jerry Anderson added that approximately 520 employees will be moving from the current Courthouse/Administration Building to the new Justice Center upon completion.
The $500,000 Croydon Woods Open Space acquisition will be managed by the Heritage Conservancy. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson, the 82-acre property is adjacent to previously preserved land and has a Priority 1designation. It features seven endangered and four threatened plant species and some unique wetlands. It is also adjacent to 14 acres of ball fields that are used by the youth of the Croydon Little League. The Hog Run Creek meanders through the property, as well.
The commissioners also approved the County’s portion of four contracts to upgrade the facilities at the Bristol Township-based Silver Lake Nature Center. A $57,400 contract with B&E Boiler Works, Inc. of Red Hill, PA will provide mechanical services for replacement of the HVAC systems; a $21,889 agreement will provide electrical services to support renovations and new exhibits; a $394,145 contract with Premier Builders, Inc. of Yardley will provide renovations and new exhibits at the center, and another $15,750 contract with QPI Electrical Co., Inc. of Levittown will provide additional electrical services.
Commissioner Marseglia voted against a pair of Finance contract resolutions (a one-year, $149,082 contract renewal for general and professional liability coverage at Neshaminy Manor) and a $2.5 million grant application to the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for construction of an Integrated Life Science and Applied Learning Center at Delaware Valley College. She also voted against a Letter of Agreement to provide outside counsel to the Solicitor’s Office with Offit Kurman, P.A. of Philadelphia in connection with labor and employment matters. Commissioner Marseglia also read a proclamation designating February, 2014 as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.”
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler praised the Community Corrections Center for its recent 100 percent compliance award from the American Corrections Association (ACA). He also congratulated the Youth Center for its 100 percent compliance with the state Department of Public Welfare. He concluded his report by expressing appreciation to all of the County departments that have handled the challenges of this winter’s weather. He specifically thanked the General Services staff and the Emergency Management staff (which took turns manning the Emergency Operations Center in Ivyland in 12-hour shifts for a total of 76 hours during the Feb. 4-8 ice storm/power outage event). “I like to equate things to sports, and the EOC was the quarterback of the event,” Mr. Hessenthaler added.
One personnel action that stood out was the promotion of Mark Kramer to County Fire Marshal.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 in the Bucks County Courthouse Community Room, 1st Floor, Doylestown, PA. For a complete audio account of the February 19 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.