During a rare mid-afternoon business meeting November 5, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners considered a large slate of resolutions in the familiar confines of the Bucks County Courthouse Community Room. The meeting also featured three proclamations, a presentation supporting Calkins Media’s “Buck Up Bucks 2” community fundraising campaign, and the unanimous approval of an ordinance to provide a $30 million bond issuance for capital improvements at Bucks County Community College.
Less than 24 hours after the Nov. 4 General Election returns showed that just under 46 percent of the Bucks County electorate cast a vote at one of 304 voting districts, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW deliberated an agenda that included several significant items for the Human Services division.
In the Behavioral Health realm, the board approved an amendment to the HealthChoices Behavioral Health Agreement through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The commissioners also approved a $6 million contract increase with Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania, Inc. for the HealthChoices agreement. According to County Behavioral Health Director Mary Beth Mahoney, the program is intended to assist those in Pennsylvania who want health insurance receive health insurance according to “low risk” and “high risk” designations. The program currently serves 40,000 and could add an additional 35,000 members through this amendment.
After some discussion, the commissioners also agreed to a three-year, $1.978 million contract with the Lenape Valley Foundation of Doylestown to cover costs of project development, construction and start-up of a Crisis Residential Program (CRP) on the campus Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. Commissioner Martin abstained on the vote after questioning who would have ownership rights to the property in the event of a future real estate transaction.
The board unanimously approved a one-year, $1.945 million Children & Youth contract renewal with Community Service Foundation of Pipersville to provide restorative reporting centers, foster care, day treatment, home and community, and intensive program services.
The commissioners’ “Bucks 2 Invest” economic development program continues to prosper through the administration of the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority (BCIDA). The multi-pronged outreach will enter its third year in 2015. To that end, the board agreed to appropriate $250,000 for the BCIDA’s administration of Bucks 2 Invest.
Work to re-open County Bridge No. 221 at Traugers Crossing over Gallows Run in Nockamixon Township will commence after the approval of a $594,070 contract for repairs with Eastern Highway Specialists of Wilmington, DE. This repair contract is funded with Act 13 money, which comes from the gas drilling legislation.
As the projected opening of the new Bucks County Justice Center draws closer, the commissioners approved two contract increases (change orders) with project electrical contractor The Farfield Company. The first, a $51,154 item, addresses receptacles and switches in the elevator shafts. The second, billed at $46,792, is for additional work on the fire alarm system and sprinkler equipment.
The agenda also featured a multitude of one-year Mental Health/Developmental Programs service contracts totaling over $10 million. Of those, $3.034 million is with Langhorne’s Penndel Mental Health Center for various community supports and $2.873 million is with Sellersville’s Penn Foundation, Inc. for similar services.
For Parks and Recreation, the board agreed to acquire 14 acres in Springfield Township from David H. Vickery and Suzanne A. Leeson for $125,000 plus settlement charges. The property is located on Buckwampum Mountain, which is an area that the County has targeted for open space/parkland acquisition for many years.
The meeting commenced with the reading of three proclamations. The first, offered by Commissioner Martin, celebrated the Nakashima property on Aquetong Rd. in Solebury Township as a National Historic Landmark - a designation bestowed earlier this year. George Nakashima passed away in 1990, but his legacy and work continues to this day through his daughter, Mira, and a partnership of designers. Tourists continue to visit the George Nakashima Woodworker Complex, which was listed on the National Registry of Historical Places by the state in 2008. The Nakashima family was on hand to thank the board for the public recognition.
Commissioner Marseglia proclaimed Nov. 19 “Random Acts of Kindness Day” throughout the County of Bucks, remembering in particular 10-year-old Abby Schumer, a Chalfont resident and Groveland Elementary School student who passed away at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on March 24, 2012. In honor of Abby Schumer’s birthday, the commissioners challenged all Bucks County residents to do something kind for a friend, loved one or even a stranger.
Chairman Loughery proclaimed Dec. 2 “Giving Tuesday,” or a counter-narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In Bucks, approximately 100 non-profit organizations will participate in Giving Tuesday, which will be in its third year. The Giving Tuesday website is filled with information about the event, and can be accessed at www.givingtuesdaybucks.org.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, in the Bucks County Courthouse Community Room (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the November 5 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.