In a meeting room named for former Commissioner and Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, the current Board of Bucks County Commissioners approved 33 contract resolutions involving 17 County departments on the morning of June 4. As an added bonus, the Michener Branch of the Bucks County Free Library (Quakertown Borough) served as the backdrop for an update on the status of county libraries from Executive Director Martina Kominiarek.
Ms. Kominiarek told the commissioners and meeting attendees that more than two (2) million books are checked out annually at the Bucks County Free Library’s 18 branches. In an age of Amazon.com and Google, e-book selections are increasing at the libraries, as well. Asking for a show of hands of library card holders, Ms. Kominiarek reminded the audience to have their children set a goal of six books during the summer months.
The meeting also featured the annual presentation of the Penn State Cooperative Extension’s “Fresh from Bucks County Farms.” The 32-page booklet featured information about 68 farms located throughout the county. Each year, the Cooperative Extension prints 10,000 copies of the booklet, which is also available at all 18 libraries and through the Commissioners’ Office of Public Information on the 5th floor of the Courthouse Administration Building. “This booklet brings consumers and producers together for mutual benefit,” said Scott Guiser of the Penn State Cooperative Extension. Mr. Guiser also presented each commissioner with a bunch of fresh rhubarb. “I’ll send you some recipes,” he added.
The business portion of the agenda featured a key license agreement related to the ongoing “narrowbanding” project. Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW unanimously agreed to spend $339,280.45 for a 15-year tower site in Kingwood Township, NJ (just across the Delaware River). The agreement was with American Towers, LLC of Woburn, MA.
For General Services, Chairman Loughery and Commissioner Martin approved a $21,587 contract increase with new Justice Center General Contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. for tile work in the hallways of the building. They also approved a $37,457.50 contract increase for construction administration services with project architect Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, P.C. According to Chairman Loughery, the architect contract will be paid on a monthly, as-needed basis over the upcoming months until the project reaches completion. Commissioner Marseglia voted against both contracts.
For the Planning Commission, the board unanimously approved $142,521 for one-year funding of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) annual program. They also signed off on a $40,000, five-year copier lease for the Planning Commission with XSE Group of Pennsylvania, LLC.The copier is a special piece of equipment that is used to produce color documents and annual reports that are generated by the Planning Commission staff.
For the Recorder of Deeds office, the board approved a three-year, $450,000 contract with IMR Limited of Camp Hill, PA for scanning and indexing of historic documents. Commissioner Martin noted that not one dollar of that contract is being paid through the Bucks County General Fund.
Commissioner Marseglia also voted against a three-month, $13,763 increase and extension of Builders Risk insurance for the new Justice Center. That contract passed by a 2-1 margin.
The meeting also featured a proclamation to the Bucks For Kids (B4K) organization in recognition of Graduate Month. B4K is now in its 23rd year of helping individual in the Bucks County Foster Care System. Over the last year, B4K has provided $24,744 in individual assistance to 171 recipients and $3,500 in educational scholarship assistance to seven recipients. The commissioners also approved a $2,400 “Other Civics” contribution for the B4K organization.
Chief Clerk Lynn T. Bush used her bi-weekly report to ask the commissioners to consider extending the deadline for Municipal Open Space grant applications from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2016. That suggestion was approved unanimously – with the pledge to continue working with the County’s 54 municipalities to identify their open space preservation priorities.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at TODAY, Inc., 1990 Woodbourne Rd.., Langhorne, PA). For a complete audio account of the June 4 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.