The Board of Bucks County Commissioners reached a final milestone in the construction of the Bucks County Justice Center during its business meeting of May 4, 2016 at the Lower Southampton Township Municipal Building. By unanimously approving a $3.975 million cost for “extended general conditions” with Philadelphia-based general contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc., Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW closed a chapter on the biggest capital project in County annals. Although the 285,000-square foot Justice Center opened during January, 2015, the final terms of the closeout of the building contract remained under negotiation. The commissioners also approved a settlement agreement with Bock that is subject to final approval by the County Solicitor.
The Bock contracts were two of 28 presented for consideration during a brisk, 45-minute meeting that also featured three proclamations and a synopsis of the ongoing Core Creek Park Cat Collaboration effort that has addressed a burgeoning feline population in that County-maintained facility. Commissioner Martin proclaimed May, 2016 “Older Americans Month,” a celebration of the more than 100,000 Bucks County residents who have reached the age of 60. This year’s theme is “Blaze a Trail,” paying tribute to the federal Older Americans Act that was passed 51 years ago. Commissioner Marseglia proclaimed May, 2016 “Lyme Disease Awareness Month” throughout the county, noting the importance of checking for deer tick bites after spending time outdoors. Chairman Loughery presented the 2016 Bucks County High School Poet Laureate award to New Hope-Solebury High School junior Anthony Adams Lagana. Mr. Lagana was selected from more than 120 entries in the annual competition administered by Bucks County Community College professor Dr. Ethel Rackin. Mr. Lagana recited his work, “On Goat Hill,” for those assembled in the Lower Southampton supervisors’ meeting room.
For the Children & Youth Social Services Agency, the board unanimously approved a one-year, $1.25 million contract renewal with Warminster-based Christ’s Home for Children for group home services, transitional living services and a mother-baby program. Another big-ticket item came in the Housing & Community Development realm, where the board approved submission of the $2.564 million annual Action Plan for the Fiscal Year 2016 and acceptance of the 2016 grant award for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funding.
In addition to the Justice Center items, General Services’ approvals included engineering, design, and construction consultation services for five County-maintained bridges – No. 209 in Haycock/Nockamixon Township, No. 152 in Plumstead Township, No. 263 in Quakertown Borough, No. 306 in Upper Makefield Township and No. 352 in East Rockhill Township. Those contracts, ranging from $43,493 to $69,238, will be funded by the $5 registration fee the commissioners enacted last December.
The board also approved five contract resolutions for Neshaminy Manor, the County’s long-term care and rehabilitation facility in Warrington. For the Purchasing department, the commissioners locked in a one-year, $635,516 contract increase and extension with Riggins, Inc. of Vineland, NJ to provide heating oil, diesel fuel and gasoline for County facilities and equipment.
During commissioners’ comments, Commissioner Marseglia called on Director of Operations Kevin Spencer to provide an update on the Core Creek Cat Collaboration. Mr. Spencer noted that the effort has moved to the “maintenance and feeding” stage after approximately 500 cats were removed from the park, inoculated and spayed/neutered, and 160 were returned to the park after treatment. He thanked the 50-60 volunteers who helped with the collaboration, as well as the community service inmates who helped construct temporary shelters. “These groups were a pleasure to work with,” he added. “We are in a better situation to manage the cat population. Overall, this has been a successful operation.”
Both Chairman Loughery and Commissioner Martin complimented the Board of Elections staff for its efforts during the April 26 General Primary. “They did a fine job,” Commissioner Martin said. “I think it went very, very well.” He added the provisional ballots were counted on Tuesday, May 3, and the final totals from the General Primary should be certified soon.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported on the continued success of the County’s bi-annual Medication Take Back Program, which collected over 10,000 pounds (a one-day record of more than 5 tons) at more than 40 locations on Saturday, April 30. “This program has been fantastic,” he said. Mr. Hessenthaler also provided an update that the County’s PSEA union nurses have ratified a labor agreement that will be on an upcoming Commissioners’ agenda.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush told attendees how the Planning Commission has been working with businesses in the Brownsville Rd. area of Lower Southampton to provide assistance and planning services for the area’s viability in the present and future. Ms. Bush also mentioned work the Planning Commission has been doing in the area of long-term care for seniors in the community, an outreach that is particularly relevant given the continued advancement of the Baby Boom generation.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18 in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room (1st Floor) of the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the May 4, 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.