The Board of Bucks County Commissioners returned to the comfort of their new Doylestown Administration Building Meeting Room for a jam-packed business agenda on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. In addition to a Recorder of Deeds video chronicling the Bucks County Veterans Tour of Honor trip to Washington, D.C., Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW issued three proclamations, expressed their gratitude to participants of the Core Creek Cat Collaboration, and unanimously passed 35 contract resolutions involving 17 County departments. Summing up the proceedings, Chairman Loughery said, “Today we touched on a lot of aspects impacting lives (of resident). It’s not just one thing or another."
A highlight of the agenda was a 15-minute video of last September’s Tour of Honor trip to the nation’s capital. It featured video footage of the day’s emotional events, including a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a surprise audience with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and an interview with Commissioner Martin – who was a member of the 2015 entourage. Members of the Road Warrior motorcycle escort group joined the commissioners for a photo opportunity and stood at attention during the playing of the video. The commissioners also approved a $3,000 “Other Civics” appropriation for the upcoming Tour of Honor trip, which will take place on Monday, September 26, 2016. Recorder of Deeds Joseph Szafran reported that the Bucks County Veterans ID Discount Card Program is approaching 13,000 cardholders since its 2001 inception. “We are getting a reputation in Bucks County that we take care of our veterans,” Mr. Szafran said.
The Core Creek Cat Collaboration, which addressed the problem of approximately 500 feral and other cats in the County-maintained facility, took place in earnest during the first two weeks of April. Volunteers from multiple organizations helped to remove, shelter and inoculate a large number of those animals. Chairman Loughery event adopted three of the animals that have since taken up residence in his barn. Denise Bash of Warrington-based Animal Lifeline, who tagged and recorded every cat that was part of the operation, thanked the commissioners and the County General Services/Parks & Recreation staffs for their support of the endeavor. Commissioner Marseglia also presented each of the volunteers in attendance with a special 4x4-inch cat tile that was produced at the County’s Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.
A full slate of contract resolutions opened with the approval of two Area Agency on Aging (AAA) items and five items involving the Children & Youth Social Services Agency. Among them was a one-year, $1.898 million contract renewal with the Pipersville-based Community Service Foundation to provide restorative reporting centers, foster care, home and community and intensive program services.
The commissioners continued to underscore their commitment to Emergency Communications through the approval of a $626-700 contract with BSI Electrical Contractors of Montgomeryville, PA for the installation of emergency generators at the 9-1-1 center in Ivyland. The board also agreed to a $38,000 contract with MBR Construction Services of Reading, PA for the plumbing involved with the generator project. In addition, the commissioners signed off on a $55,818 purchase of a software application for the CAD system from Northrup Grumman Systems Corporation of McLean, VA.
The Administration Building rehabilitation project also took another significant step ahead with the approval of a $1.938 million contract increase with Dewberry Architects, Inc. of Fairfax, VA for Phase 2 and 3 construction design. Phase 1 of the project is currently underway with work ongoing in the areas of the first and fifth floors. The rehabilitation will allow multiple County departments to move into the Administration Building full-time.
For Emergency Management, the commissioners approved a $93,894 contract with Guard911, LLC to purchase a smartphone application for a pilot public safety project in the Neshaminy School District. In the Human Resources realm, the commissioners approved a four-year contract renewal of Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), Union(s) 06 and 86, for 60 employees in the Health Department and Neshaminy Manor. Those union agreements will be in effect from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020.
Two Open Space items met with approval, including a $230,397 Municipal Open Space Improvement Grant for additional trails and streambank rehabilitation at the Catawissa Nature Preserve in Langhorne Borough. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson, the preserve which fronts Maple Ave. is a “gem of a property.” The allocation uses up the entirety of Langhorne Borough’s municipal allocation. The commissioners also approved a $77,500 Muncipal Open Space Improvement Grant for tennis and basketball court renovations at Albert Reese Park in Silverdale Borough.
Finally, the board approved three three-year Purchasing agreements to purchase bags and can liners at a substantial decrease to previous contracts. The three resolutions totaled just over $90,000 for the various products.
The proclamation portion of the agenda included Chairman Loughery re-reading Foster Parent Month as a May observance. The County’s annual Foster Parent Recognition Dinner was May 5 at Spring Mill Manor. The chairman also proclaimed May as “Community Action Month” throughout the County as a commitment to fight poverty through support of residents in every economic class. Commissioner Martin proclaimed May 15-21 Emergency Medical Services Week. County Emergency Health Director Jeryl DeGideo thanked the board for its support, noting that a patient in cardiac arrest now has a 23-percent chance of survival as opposed to just eight (8) percent a few years ago.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported that County Emergency Management officials recently met with 71 applicants for disaster relief from the January, 2016 blizzard. The applicants for reimbursement include the County of Bucks, municipalities, school districts, hospitals and other agencies. Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reminded residents the first Household Hazardous Waste event will take place Saturday, May 28 at Harry S. Truman H.S. in Bristol Township (9 a.m-3 p.m., no electronics). She also reported that the April 26 General Primary election results were certified May 11. In addition, the Veterans/Military Affairs office is working to place Memorial Day flags at cemeteries around the County.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1 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 18, 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.