Pennsbury Manor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bucks County. Nestled along the Delaware River, it pays homage to the county’s founder, William Penn, in a way that evokes and honors the traditions of the late 17th century. The Manor’s Visitors Center is a special place to learn about William Penn’s legacy. On the morning of October 15, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW conducted the board’s bi-monthly business in the Visitors Center meeting room. It was the third time in seven years the commissioners held a business meeting in the facility.
Historic site Director Doug Miller welcomed attendees, noting that the Delaware River was the equivalent of today’s I-95 some 330 years ago. “William Penn was interested in a government in which people had a say so,” Mr. Miller observed. “He understood that the public must be served, and served well.” Maintained by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsbury Manor celebrates its 75th anniversary during 2014. Earlier this year, the commissioners contributed $25,000 of “other civics” money to the Manor’s anniversary fundraising campaign.
The commissioners’ business included the approval of 36 contract resolutions involving 12 County departments. They also unanimously tabled a pair of Juvenile Probation contract proposals involving the new Justice Center for further consideration.
The County’s Agricultural Preservation stockpile swelled by 128 acres with the addition of the 50.1-acre Jacob S. and Sarah M. Crooke farm in Bedminster Township and the 77.8-acre John M. and Elizabeth A. Diehl farm in Nockamixon Township. The Crooke farm is the third the family has preserved. It features corn that was recently razed for the season and lies in close proximity to several previously preserved County properties. The Diehl farm, according to County Agricultural Preservation Director Rich Harvey, is a hay and corn producer that is adjacent to a farm that will be preserved in the near future. The two additions, for which the County paid $212,725.25 and $350,109 respectively, lift the 25-year Agricultural Land Preservation total to 170 farms comprised of 14,378 acres.
For the Children & Youth Social Services department, the board unanimously approved six contracts for various services, including a one-year, $654,400 contract renewal with NHS Montgomery County to provide Therapeutic Family Care, Foster Care Plus, and Mother/Baby programs.
For Courts, the commissioners approved and authorized a pair of three-year federal awards totaling more than $1.2 million for the Bucks County Drug Court Enforcement Grant. The first ($945,504) is with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The second ($278,156) is with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The General Services department featured a slate of eight general contracting change orders related to the new Justice Center. Six of the items were contract increases ranging from $1,095 to $54,621, and two were credits. According to Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, the County maintains a list of errors and omissions that will be addressed with project architect H.O.K. in the near future. The building is slated for a winter, 2015 opening.
Commissioner Marseglia voted against all eight General Services change orders, which passed by a 2-1 margin.
The commissioners also reinforced Bucks County’s participation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Human Services Block Grant program by approving reallocation of funds to needed areas within the Human Services division.
During his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler offered an update on free flu vaccinations being offered through the County Health Department. Previous events in Levittown and Doylestown provided residents ages 3 and over with approximately 2,900 flu shots. A third public event will take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Upper Bucks Govt. Services Center, 261 California Rd., Quakertown, 18951. Information about the shots (no appointments will be taken) is available through the Health Department.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, 2014, in the Bucks County Courthouse Community Room (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the October 15 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.