Making a short trek down Rte. 202 from the Bucks County Courthouse, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners conducted business inside the impressive new, 450-seat Life Sciences Building Auditorium at Delaware Valley College. The auditorium is the showcase of the first building to be built at the college in the last two decades, and is “emblematic of Delaware Valley College reaching out to the Bucks County community,” according to President Dr. Joseph Brosnan. Dr. Brosnan also told the audience that Delaware Valley College expects to earn “university” status sometime this summer.
The meeting featured four proclamations and the approval of 47 contract resolutions involving 15 county departments, including 12 for the General Services division. Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW also unanimously approved a $155,000 (plus settlement charges and adjustments) expenditure to acquire 7.079 acres of parkland at the Bucks County Horse Park in Nockamixon Township. The meeting also included the approval of $90,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation service to perform flood mitigation work on the final home participating in the county program.
The board signed off on six contracts for the Children & Youth Social Services Agency, including $426,000 to provide mentoring and monitoring for youth and juvenile offenders with Neighborhood First Program, Inc. of Bristol and $1.065 million for emergency shelter, independent living program and group home services for dependent and delinquent youth with Valley Youth House of Allentown, PA. According to C&Y Director Lynne Rainey, demand for the Valley Youth House program has risen sharply during recent years.
The commissioners extended a pair of Corrections contracts with Aramark Facilities Services of Philadelphia, a one-year, $872,928.12 agreement to provide maintenance and project support services and a one-year, $265,000 deal for maintenance services outside of the first contract.
For the District Attorney, the board approved a $129,427 purchase of domestic violence incident tracking software through Dell Marketing, LP. County DA David Heckler explained the program to the board and noted how it will help first responders communicate about offender activity.
General Services’ discussion centered upon several items regarding the new Bucks County Justice Center. With Commissioner Marseglia dissenting, Commissioners Loughery and Martin approved a $21,961 change order with general contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. to install Moravian tile and meet code requirements and a $25,137.50 contract increase with project architect Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, P.C. for construction administration services. Commissioner Marseglia also voted against an electrical contracting change order for $25,308 with the Farfield Company to replace a motor for the air handling unit at the Justice Center.
For the Housing & Community Development department, the board approved a $150,000 contract for Community Development Block Grant funding directed to the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to establish a rehabilitation program for Interfaith Housing Development Corporation housing units.
The meeting opened with four proclamations, including Commissioner Marseglia recognizing May as “Lyme Disease Awareness Month,” Commissioners Martin declaring May 4-10 “Corrections Officers and Employees Week,” Chairman Loughery proclaiming this week as “Small Business Week,” and Commissioner Marseglia recognizing May 8, 2014 as “Foster Parent and Volunteer Recognition Day.” The Bucks County Foster Parent Association will celebrate the selfless contributions of these volunteers during the 19th annual Foster Parent and Volunteer Recognition Dinner – to be held on Thursday, May 8 at Spring Mill Manor, Ivyland.
Recorder of Deeds Joseph Szafran provided an update on the county’s successful Veterans ID Discount Card, which has enlisted almost 10,000 veterans in substantial discount opportunities with more than 1,000 county businesses over the past two-and-a-half years. Mr. Szafran told the commissioners about a new program, “Honor Flight Bucks County,” which will provide World War II veterans with a free trip to the memorial in Washington, D.C. The Recorder of Deeds office is partnering with sponsors American Heritage Federal Credit Union, Team Toyota and Parx Casino to raise funds for buses to the nation’s capital.
During his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler praised participants in the May 3 Active Shooter Drill in the Courthouse/Administration Building. He noted that the drill brought together multiple agencies, including county Security, Sheriff’s Department, local police, fire and EMS, and criminal justice students from Middle Bucks Institute of Technology (MBIT). Mr. Hessenthaler reminded the public that the dedication of the Global War on Terror Memorial will take place on Friday, May 16 at 2 p.m. in the Courthouse Memorial Courtyard, and the annual Moravian Pottery and Tile Works Tile Festival is slated for Saturday, May 17 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday, May 18 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Mr. Hessenthaler concluded by reminding residents that the polls will be open throughout the county for the General Primary election on Tuesday, May 20.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush informed the commissioners that the current round of federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be a “little over $2.6 million.” That allocation supports programs like the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Program and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG). The commissioners subsequently approved sending a letter regarding the allocation.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at Town and Country Players, 4158 York Rd., Buckingham, PA. For a complete audio account of the May 7 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.