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2015 News

Commissioners Visit Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce for Bi-Monthly Business Meeting

June 19, 2015

On a beautiful June morning with a scenic lake view from the parking lot, Bucks County Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW held a short business meeting at the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, in Fairless Hills, Wednesday, June 17. The meeting was highlighted by 29 contract resolutions, including one Agricultural Preservation, and a Proclamation for Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County.

The Commissioners proclaim June 17 as Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County Day, and present the Proclamation to the board.The business portion of the agenda included 15 County departments, as well as five budget adjustments to the General Fund Balance based on 2014 expenditures. The final 2014 audit will be available at the end of the month, according to Finance Director David Boscola. While the majority of the contract resolutions prompted minimal discussion, after a short back and forth between Human Services Director Jon Rubin and the commissioners, Item #2a, a contract for Behavioral Health with Gaudenzia, Inc. was tabled. Gaudenzia, Inc., a new drug and alcohol non-hospital detox and recovery center, on which the county has already spent over one million dollars in redevelopment money, was delayed roughly four months. The commissioners were interested to learn how money was spent during the delay.

Discussion was also given to Item #11a, PlayFlex Systems USA, Inc. with Commissioner Martin receiving clarification that this portion of the contract was a onetime charge and Item #13c, a contract increase for MH/DP with Voice and Vision, Inc. Mr. Rubin explained that Voice and Vision was asked to do more surveys, beyond the initial scope of the contract, by the Consumer Family Satisfaction Team for the county. Dawn Seader, MH/DP Interim Administrator explained that the workgroup uses Voice and Vision to assist with new initiatives, better benchmark information and wider sampling. Consumer surveys for Human Services initiatives and directives are state mandated, however, Mr. Rubin did express that the next contract would take this increase into account and further discussion would be held before a contract was placed on the agenda.

The highlight of the contract resolutions was Item #1a for Agricultural Preservation with Matthew T. and Thomas C. Mood, for a 19.33-acre agricultural conservation easement on the Mood Farm located on Myers Road in Milford Township. With its excellent soil and great location close to other preserved land, including the main Mood Farm parcel, this piece of working farm land, which grows hay and soybeans, was too good to pass up, according to Richard Harvey, director of the Agricultural Land Preservation Program. The program now stands at 179 farms preserved, totaling 14,773 acres; Mr. Harvey added he is currently working on three more farm applications, which he is hoping to complete by August.

The meeting opened with the commissioners proclaiming June 17 as Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County Day, and congratulating the board on their 100th home. One of the day’s contract resolutions was also with Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County for Housing and Community Development; 12 single family units will be constructed on Gibson Road in Bensalem Township.

Other civics money approved by the Board included $2,800 to SCORE of Bucks County and $2,000 to the Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield. Three board appointments were also made, two to the vacant seats on the Human Relations Council Board and a re-appointment to the Bucks County Housing Authority.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler updated the commissioners on the refinancing of the outstanding 2005 and 2007 bonds, an action previously estimated to save between $2.1 and $2.3 million. With the process complete, he was happy to report the refinancing is saving a total of $2,318,000.

Chief Clerk Lynn Bush provided a report on the Heritage Conservancy Awards program she attended with Richard Harvey, and noted two winners with ties to the County. The Hager Family received the Conservation Preservation Awards, for preserving their 195-acre farm in Durham a few months ago with the county; Dr. Ann Rose, a botanist, won the Lifetime Conservation Award, for among other things, her work on the Natural Areas Inventory, which she did with the county first in 1999, and is now the basis for spending for the natural areas of the county. Ms. Bush also reminded everyone that the next Household Hazardous Waste event is scheduled for Saturday, June 27 at Pennridge High School (9 a.m.-3 p.m., rain or shine).

Commissioner Martin noted that he attended a SEPTA meeting during which they began intense discussions on traffic, of all means, for the Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit. He advised that if you do plan to attend, to wear comfortable shoes, as there will be heavy amounts of walking. Chairman Loughery added that Ms. Bush attended the press conference Tuesday with Philadelphia Mayor Nutter for the event, which is at the end of September, and also discussed how the county and the Metropolitan Caucus are already planning and preparing. He said the event will have a great impact not only on County Emergency Services, but the municipalities as well; however, he emphasized plans are already being implemented three months out and will continue to be fined tuned to keep issues at a minimum.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, at the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave, Sellersville, PA 18960. For a complete audio account of the June 17, 2015 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.