Visiting Levittown’s ITT Technical Institute for the second time in the last two years, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners unanimously approved 17 contract resolutions involving 11 County departments on the morning of April 16. The vast majority of discussion and explanation was devoted to a $696,952 General Services contract amendment with Dewberry Architects, Inc. of Fairfax, VA to proceed with construction design for the existing County Administration building. That contract moved forward in conjunction with the ongoing construction of the new Justice Center.
Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery explained that the approved contract will impact the first and fifth floors of the existing Courthouse/Administration Building as well as the 20/30 N. Main St. property that currently houses Domestic Relations business. In addition, the County General Services department will complete some of the work related to roof repairs and window repairs at the respective facilities. In addition, the Main St. entrance to the current Courthouse will be reconfigured as part of this phase of work. Chairman Loughery described the contract as the result of a “cost benefit analysis,” or a hybrid option for the future of the Administration Building that takes into account the likely sale of the 20 N. Main St. building.
Another significant contract approval was a $276,700 grant application and award through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to fund the construction of the final segment of the paved multiple-use trail around Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park. That project also will include resurfacing of two miles of the original trail. The trail is highly used and will be completed over the next four years.
Also of note was a contract with the Bucks County Youth Center and the County of Lehigh to provide temporary housing for detention of out-of-county juveniles at a per diem rate of $350 per day per resident. According to Youth Center Director Ted Rice, this is the first time such a contract has been approved to house out-of-county individuals at the Bucks County facility. “This is a revenue opportunity for us… based on potentially available bed space.”
Commissioners Loughery, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW also approved a one-year, $121,792 contract for Emergency Communications with NICE Systems, Inc. of Reston, VA to provide maintenance for the 9-1-1 voice recorder.
The meeting commenced with two commendations and a pair of proclamations. Chairman Loughery opened by reading a commendation to Sheriff’s deputies Justin Sturkey and Dale Walton for their efforts of January 16, 2014. It read: “While on patrol they heard an incoming radio call at approximately 11:30 a.m. reporting a strong armed robbery at a 7-Eleven store on New Falls Road in Falls Township. Information also was provided that the actors involved were also part of a similar robbery in the vicinity the previous night. About an hour later, they heard a broadcast of a second strong armed robbery at PNC Bank at Routes 13 and 413 with a description of a female actor and her vehicle. The vehicle was last seen on Route 413 and since you were close to the scene, they responded to the area in search of the vehicle. They eventually observed a vehicle fitting the description but when you approached the vehicle, the driver immediately fled. After a short pursuit, the driver turned into the parking lot of F.D.R. Middle School. The driver and two passengers stopped the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene. They were able to apprehend all three suspects without any further disruption.”
The Commissioners also proclaimed April, 2014 as “Child Abuse Awareness Month” throughout the County. Again this year, 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 includes 886 colorful pinwheels, and every pinwheel will represent one brave person who stood up for a child and reported abuse during 2013. The gardens have been planted at the following locations: United Friends School in Quakertown, Hartsville Fire Company in Warminster and at the Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau in Bensalem. In addition, Bucks County’s successful Medication Take Back Day program will continue with another event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at dozens of locations throughout the County.
During his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reminded residents of the Medication Take Back Day opportunity, noted that April 21 is the final day to register for the May 20 General Primary election, and announced there will be a County Board of Elections meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 28, in the Administration Building 5th Floor Training Room. Mr. Hessenthaler also told attendees to be aware that the County Emergency Services Division will collaborate with police, fire and emergency medical personnel to conduct an Active Shooter Drill in the Courthouse on the morning of Saturday, May 3, 2014. “There will be a lot of activity, but rest assured it is a drill,” Mr. Hessenthaler stated.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush introduced Mike Bannon and Dennis Livrone, co-chairs of the Bucks County employees’ Green Committee, or BEGIN. They provided a comprehensive update of the County’s ongoing efforts to recycle, reduce vehicle fleet size and make other environmental impacts through work policies.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at the Delaware Valley College Life Sciences Building Administration, 700 E. Butler Ave., Doylestown, PA. For a complete audio account of the April 16 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.