Traveling a short three blocks from the Bucks County Courthouse, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners conducted the first of two September business meetings in the second floor conference room of the Doylestown Inn September 2. The Inn, located on scenic State St. in the heart of Doylestown Borough, recently underwent extensive renovations aided in part by the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority’s Bucks Renewed program.
“This (public meeting) is a great opportunity to show off our building,” owner Todd McCarty told a standing-room only gathering. He explained that the conference room was created by knocking out a brick wall. He also noted that the Inn features a 150-seat, bi-level restaurant and 11 hotel rooms, as well as a refurbished bar.
The unique setting provided the backdrop for a large agenda that included 69 contract resolutions involving 18 County departments. A significant portion of that business was related to General Services’ construction change orders at the new Bucks County Justice Center – which is approaching completion at 100 N. Main St.
Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery commenced General Services discussion by motioning to table a pair of items for further consideration – a one-year, $100,000 contract increase with Carroll Engineering Corporation of Warrington for bridge consultant services, and a $22,380 contract increase with Dewberry Architects, Inc. of Fairfax, VA for additional design services for building rehabilitation. Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, seconded the chairman’s motion and Commissioner Charles H. Martin also agreed to table both items.
Ten of the General Services contracts involved Justice Center general contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. of Philadelphia. A $34,345 increase for resizing of attorney tables did not pass, as Chairman Loughery voted to approve it, Commissioner Martin abstained and Commissioner Marseglia voted “No.” An $8,475 contract increase for additional gun lockers at the main lobby receptionist desk ultimately was tabled. Discussion of that item also prompted President Jeffrey Finley to make the short walk from the Courthouse to Doylestown Inn to offer his thoughts on the matter.
The eight general contracting items that passed by a 2-1 margin (Commissioner Marseglia dissenting) included a $9,990 increase for metal closure interface between the terracotta and curtain wall assembly at the main entrance; a $4,722 increase for additional wood panels in place of a security door; a $38,677 increase for upgrade of sliding glass track assemblies; a $22,303 increase to provide solid surface window sills at the Armory; a $14,862 increase for interior tile modifications in the elevator lobby areas; a $17,934 increase for epoxy fill for terrazzo application; a $1,055 increase for additional survey layout for an inlet; and an $86,411 increase for the second half of operator costs for the work elevator. According to County Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, the Justice Center project is running 3.6 percent over the initial contract cost, but that is well within the County’s budgeted contingency plan.
The board unanimously approved six contracts for the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), including one-year funding agreements to provide senior center services in Warminster, Bensalem, Richboro and Levittown. The commissioners also signed off on a $491,107.50 contract with Sentinel Offender Services of Irvine, CA to provide and maintain global positioning system (GPS) monitoring for offenders under house arrest for the next three years. That agreement will be offset by the house arrest inmates who have to pay for the daily use of the monitoring system.
As part of the ongoing Emergency Communications Narrowbanding Project, the board approved a three-year, $166,840 increase with Verizon Business Services to purchase 20 T1 lines to support the existing radio system.
For the Emergency Management agency, the commissioners approved a one-year, $57,300 agreement for the operation and maintenance of six gauging stations in the Neshaminy Creek Basin with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Geological Survey. Those gauges are a key component in flood protection for residents who live along the Neshaminy Creek.
Commissioner Marseglia voted against a pair of Finance department contracts, the first a three-year, $7,200 renewal of the Neshaminy Manor patient trust bond with Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland and the other a $15,178 increase to audit premium for excess workers compensation insurance policy with Midlands Management Corporation of Oklahoma City, OK.
The Health Department will continue to issue free flu shots to residents following the approval of a $29,020.54 purchase of influenza vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, but the fall of 2014 will mark the first time in eight years the County will not conduct a large-scale Pandemic Flu emergency preparedness exercise. Instead, Health Department officials will offer three public clinics to provide free vaccination. The first will take place at the department’s Doylestown office (1282 Almshouse Rd., 18901) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, October 4. The second will be at the department’s Levittown office (7321 New Falls Rd., Levittown, 19055) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11. The third opportunity will take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, October 18 at the department’s Quakertown office (261 California Rd., Quakertown, PA 18951).
Although Commissioner Martin voted against a $520,000 Delaware Riverfront Program Improvement Grant for construction of floating docks at the Bristol Borough waterfront park, the contract passed by a 2-1 vote. County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson told the board that the project will “encourage recreational use of the Delaware River.” Commissioner Martin countered with his feeling that “this is an economic development project, not an open space project.”
The meeting commenced with a pair of proclamations. Commissioner Marseglia proclaimed Sept. 8-14 as “Suicide Awareness Week” throughout the County, noting that a suicide occurs every 13.3 minutes in the United States. Commissioner Martin issued a proclamation for the 15th Annual FACT AIDS walk, which will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014, rain or shine. The scenic 10-kilometer walk will begin at 10 a.m. at New Hope-Solebury High School, 180 W. Bridge Street in New Hope.
During his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler spoke of a recent phone call with the Standard and Poors rating agency. The County currently holds an AA+ rating (Aaa from Moody’s Investor Services) from S&P. Mr. Hessenthaler also reminded the public that the annual “Operation Stand Down” for veterans will take place in Levittown September 5-7. Lastly, he invited residents to the County’s 13th annual Sept. 11, 2001 Ceremony of Remembrance at 8:30 a.m. in the Courthouse Memorial Courtyard.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reported on five Bucks County municipalities that recently received “Green Region” awards from PECO. They include Doylestown Borough, Langhorne Borough, Upper Southampton Township, Morrisville Borough and New Britain Borough.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce (LBCCC), 409 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills. For a complete audio account of the September 2 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.