For the second consecutive meeting, the three-member Board of Bucks County Commissioners conducted its bi-monthly business without one of its own. On the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 2, Commissioner Vice Chairman Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW conducted a 28-minute session that was dominated by contract resolutions for Information Technology, Purchasing, and a three-acre Open Space acquisition in Trumbauersville Borough. Chairman Robert G. Loughery was not in attendance, although he returned for the public budget meeting that took place two hours later. The business meeting opened with 10-time Commissioner Chairman Martin asking attendees in the Administration Building Community Room to “remember the victims of the shooting going on in (San Bernardino) California.”
The agenda featured one proclamation, read by Commissioner Marseglia – which was issued to the PA STOP campaign aimed at substance abuse prevention. Accompanying the proclamation was a brief PowerPoint presentation and a video public service announcement. The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) have developed resources for anyone looking for help, called “PA STOP.” PA STOP is designed to educate Pennsylvanians about the risks of prescription painkiller and heroin use, the relationship between painkiller and heroin use, and what to do when you need help. The PA STOP.org website contains free materials about opiate addiction which drug and alcohol professions may download and distribute, as well as information for anyone looking for help.
Among the 22 contract resolutions that met unanimous approval was a $29,000 contract increase for the District Attorney’s office with National Medical Services of Willow Grove to provide DNA and drug analysis. A $336,977 General Services item approving authorization of payments for preliminary design engineering for the rehabilitation of Bridge No. 333 on Strocks Grove Rd. over Beaver Creek in Nockamixon Township generated several questions from Commissioner Martin – mainly about the large amount of the contract. General Services Director Jerry Anderson explained that the bridge was built in 1920 and is a 24-foot by 16-foot structure. It is part of a selection and review program through PennDOT, requiring heightened scrutiny from an environmental standpoint.
The two commissioners also approved four contracts for the Information Technology department, including a three-year, $753,508 agreement with Pomeroy IT Solutions Sales Company, Inc. of Hebron, KY to upgrade data storage capacity and capabilities to allow for current and future growth. The board also signed off on a $241,761 contract with Pomeroy IT Solutions to upgrade network equipment at the Neshaminy Manor Long-Term Care Facility and the IT Data Center.
For Juvenile Probation, the duo approved a one-year, $325,000 contract renewal with Community Commitment, Inc. of Doylestown to provide in-home counseling and community youth work. The department, which has been headed by Robert Stanzione for the last 11 years, will be headed by former Youth Center Director Ted Rice when Mr. Stanzione retires this month.
Neshaminy Manor will continue to receive food service from The Wood Company, a subsidiary of Sodexo Operations, LLC, during 2016 as the result of a one-year, $1.773 million contract extension. In the Open Space realm, the board signed off on a $52,500 Municipal Open Space grant for Trumbauersville to purchase the Gruver property. This three-acre tract is adjacent to an existing municipal park, according to County Open Space Coordinator David Johnson.
The commissioners also approved seven items for the Purchasing department, including a two-year electricity contract with Talen Energy of Allentown, PA that will cost just over six cents per kilowatt – a “very good rate,” according to Commissioner Martin (who previously worked for PECO).
Commissioner Martin thanked Jerry Anderson for his service to the County as he approaches a January, 2016 retirement, adding, “We will miss you.”
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reminded meeting attendees that the Pennsylvania state budget impasse had reached 155 days as of December 2, with no apparent end to the impasse in sight. Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reported that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Bucks County will be honored for its Open Space preservation efforts. According to Ms. Bush, approximately 21 percent of Bucks County’s 620 square miles has been permanently preserved from development by a number of sources – or more than 80,000 acres in total.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at the headquarters for Visit Bucks, 3207 Street Rd., Bensalem, PA 19020, and it will include consideration of the final 2016 County Operating Budget. For a complete audio account of the December 2, 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.