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2015 News

Commissioners Celebrate Fire Prevention Week with Business Meeting At Warminster Fire Department Station 90

October 8, 2015

The theme of National Fire Prevention Week 2015 is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep,” and it is dedicated to the importance of having working smoke detectors in both your home and workplace. During a 57-minute business meeting at the Warminster Fire Department Station 90 on Madison Ave., fire safety and service was at the forefront for Bucks County Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW.

Warminster Supervisors greet the Commissioners at Wednesday's local meeting.Following a brief presentation about smoke alarm safety, Bucks County Fire Marshal Mark Kramer noted that fire safety is celebrated during the annual October prevention week, but it truly is a 52-week commitment for residents. The proceedings also included copies of the Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association 390-page book, “The History of Bucks County, PA Fire Service,” which were presented to the Board of Commissioners. The book “is the first comprehensive collection of historic information of its kind. Drawing on the records of the fire companies, it tells the story of the struggles and bravery of the men and women who sacrificed their time and energy to protect the lives and property of others.” Founding father Benjamin Franklin formed the first truly organized fire company in Philadelphia in 1736. The book retails for $34.95 at local outlets.

The contract resolution portion of the meeting featured the unanimous approval of 23 agreements involving 10 County departments. The board also unanimously tabled a proposed $98,184 General Services contract with Winterspring LLC dba Archewild of Quakertown, PA to provide cleanup and riparian buffer restoration of six County owned sites along the Neshaminy Creek. Commissioner Martin motioned to table the proposal in order to look at the cost breakdown of the work and explore the possibility of having work release inmates do a portion of the job.

For the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), the board approved a one-year, $180,000 contract renewal with Bucks County Transport, Inc. of Buckingham Township to provide subsidized transportation services for seniors. The commissioners also signed off on a one-year, $19,374 contract renewal with the Council Rock Senior Citizens Association of Northampton Township to provide senior center services.

Peer Support Proclamation A pair of Children & Youth agreements generated debate and explanation before ultimately earning approval. The board agreed to a one-year, $58,000 contract renewal with Allan Collautt Associates, Inc. of Broomall, PA to provide transitional Information Technology database administration. The second contract is a one-year, $30,000 agreement to provide drug testing services with Redwood Biotech, Inc. of Santa Rosa, CA.

The commissioners also approved the sale or transfer of three land parcels located within the Urban Development Area of the Sellersville Business Campus through the Redevelopment Authority of Bucks County and the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority. Those lands are part of the former Ametek site that is being repurposed as the new business campus. Ground was broken for that project earlier this year and work is proceeding.

In the General Services realm, the board approved a one-year, $300,000 contract increase and extension with Carroll Engineering Corporation of Warrington for bridge consultant services. The agenda also included two general contracting change orders related to the Bucks County Justice Center for Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc. of Philadelphia – one a $250,403 increase for labor and material escalation costs, the other a $174,763 increase for design rework.

Proclamation presentation for 16th annual FACT AIDS WalkFor the Human Services division, the board authorized seven contract for various organizations – including three items for the Bucks County Opportunity Council, Inc. related to rental assistance, counseling and case management service for low-income households, and to provide homeless assistance case management services. For A Woman’s Place, the commissioners approved $5,050 to provide counseling to victims of domestic abuse and violence for the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The contract was fitting as earlier in the meeting Heather Giampapa from A Woman’s Place accepted a proclamation from the commissioners designating October, 2015 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” A Woman’s Place is “Bucks County’s only domestic violence service and prevention organization, which envisions a society where all individuals are safe in their relationships and can flourish.” The commissioners also approved a $4,000 “Other Civics” appropriation to A Woman’s Place.

The board also approved a one-year, $5,000 contract renewal to provide shelter during periods of inclement (cold) weather with Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need (AHTN). As an aside to that contract, County Deputy Director of Human Services Christine Finello announced that the County has 400 “barn” jackets that it will be donating to various non-profit organizations around the County. The jackets, which are a blue denim, were part of a Department of Corrections order that did not result in the correct delivery. Rather than return them, the County was told to keep them and remove the word “Inmate” from the reverse. To date, 100 of the coats have been committed to the Family Services Association, which runs the Levittown Homeless Shelter. Another 50 will go to the Code Blue shelters. Others may be donated to various areas of need.

The agenda concluded with approval of an $85,879.95 pass through grant from PennDOT to the Bucks County Transportation Management Association for highway safety programs from Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016.

A Woman's Place - Domestic Abuse Awareness ProclamationThe proclamation portion of the meeting also featured the annual recognition of the FACT AIDS Walk, which will take place this weekend. FACT Bucks County was established in 1992 and remains dedicated to raising money through aggressive fund raising efforts and providing direct emergency assistance for those citizens in our communities infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. FACT will hold its 16th annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, October 11, 2015, 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. A third proclamation was read by Chairman Loughery and recognized Global Peer Supporters Day.

Commissioner Martin thanked the Recorder of Deeds office and Joe Szafran for their role in the Oct. 5 “Honor Flight” bus trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Veterans toured the memorial and met former Secretary of State Colin Powell before returning to a celebration at Parx Casino in Bensalem Township.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler mentioned the Corrections coat donation before providing an update on the Pennsylvania state budget impasse, which stood at 99 days on Oct. 7. “We don’t see an end in sight,” Mr. Hessenthaler lamented. “It’s really not fair to the counties.” At the current time, Bucks County is fronting about $6.5-7 million per month to fund Human Services programs that are funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center, 1811 Mill Rd., Perkasie, PA 18944. For a complete audio account of the October 7, 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.