During its February 17, 2016 business meeting, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners was seeing green. Precisely one month before St. Patrick’s Day, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW honored the 2016 Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal, Mrs. Maggie Lorady, and preserved the 187th farm in the County’s growing Agricultural Land Preservation program.
Mrs. Lorady will lead the 28th annual parade at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, as it moves down New Falls Rd. in Levittown. An Irish Dance teacher who founded the McCoy School of Irish Dance in honor of her father, she also serves as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Frances Cabrini Parish and previously worked as a paraprofessional in the Special Education Department at the Pennsbury School District. After accepting a proclamation from the commissioners, she said she is particularly pleased to be the selected as the 2016 Parade Grand Marshal because the theme is “Honor the Police” and her son is a law enforcement officer.
The business portion of the 29-minute meeting – which took place without Commissioner Charles H. Martin – included the unanimous passage of 29 contract resolutions involving 11 County departments. For the Agricultural Land Preservation Program, Commissioners Loughery and Marseglia were pleased to approve the County’s $177,134 (plus settlement charges and adjustments) portion of a 17.71-acre conservation easement on the Serwell farm in Buckingham Township. The Wycombe property is surrounded by 200 acres of previously preserved land and is a “key component” of the program, according to County Agricultural Land Preservation Program Director Rich Harvey. The Serwell farm is the 187th farm preserved in the program over the last 27 years, lifting the total acreage to 15,749.
For the County Open Space Program, the commissioner duo approved a $25,099 improvement grant for 13 percent of the estimated costs of the Neshaminy Greenway Trail in Chalfont Borough. They also signed off on a $195,058 improvement grant for 67 percent of the estimates costs of the first phase of Veterans Park in New Britain Township. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson, those contracts complete the municipal allocations from the 2007 Open Space referendum for Chalfont and New Britain.
The board approved seven Children & Youth Social Services totaling more than $2.5 million, including a one-year, $1.545 million contract renewal with Youth Services Agency of Jim Thorpe, PA to provide case management, counseling and residential treatment services for adolescents.
In the General Services realm, the commissioners moved ahead with plans to renovate the Administration Building and Rotunda at 55 E. Court St. with a $595,000 agreement for general contracting services with CMG of Easton, PA. The renovation plans also include a $92,000 contract for mechanical work with Myco Mechanical of Telford, PA and a $522,100 contract for electrical work with Pinnacle Electrical Construction, LLC of Warminster. The General Services business also included $216,979 for the purchase of three vehicles for the Dept. of Corrections a van for General Services, two utility vehicles for Parks & Recreation, and two vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department, $47,598 for two Police Interceptor Sedans for the Sheriff’s Department, a $29,368 work truck for the Fire Marshal’s office, and $62,073 for two additional work trucks for General Services.
During the bi-weekly chief operating officer’s report, COO Brian Hessenthaler updated meeting attendees on the County Emergency Management Agency’s effort to recoup funds for overtime and other costs associated with the late January, 2016 blizzard. County municipalities and other agencies have exceeded the threshold for reimbursement, accounting for $3.1 million spent during the winter event. The next step is for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to determine if it reached the $18 million threshold for the combined claims of its affected counties.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush mentioned one item related to historic resources, noting that the Perkasie Park (which dates to the late 19th Century) has been granted state designation as a historic site due to recent efforts by the commissioners and other advocates.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2 in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room (first floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA. For a complete audio account of the February 17, 2016 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.