Although Bucks County Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery was attending to other business on the morning of Wednesday, July 20, fellow board members Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW conducted a brisk, 33-minute business session in the County Administration Building Commissioners’ Meeting Room. The meeting featured the unanimous approval of 28 resolution items involving 11 County departments.
While the majority of the agenda items related to Human Services and Purchasing items, another highlight of the meeting was the approval of a $298,237.35 Municipal Open Space grant for the acquisition of the 65.52-acre Judith Johnson property in Springfield Township. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson (no relation), the Johnson tract is a “very unique property” that is situated near several previously preserved farms. It is a cattle operation with significant environmental features, as well. The amount the County agreed to pay represents 51 percent of the appraised value.
A lengthy discussion took place in the Behavioral Health realm prior to the approval of five 18-month contracts to fund participation in the Outpatient Enhancement Initiative with Aldie, Inc. of Doylestown, Family Service Association of Bucks County in Langhorne, Doylestown’s Lenape Foundation, Inc., Sellersville’s Penn Foundation and Hulmeville’s Penndel Mental Health Center, Inc. County Director of Human Services Jon Rubin explained that the contracts are meant to incentivize the providers while fostering greater access and quality.
Vice Chairman Martin questioned a one-year, $107,900 Board of Elections contract amendment with Doylestown’s PSI Personnel, LLC for temporary employees for the General Election. Board of Elections Director Deena Dean noted that her office met with PSI Personnel and will have input as to who joins her staff in the run-up to the Presidential election.
For the District Attorney’s office, the commissioners approved a $579,777.50 grant renewal and award to support the prosecution and investigation of insurance fraud from the Commonwealth of PA, Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority though June 30, 2018.
The Doylestown Branch of the Bucks County Free Library will be getting a new, $58,950 fire alarm system from Fidelity Burglar & Fire Alarm Company of Philadelphia as one of two Finance department approvals on the agenda. The other item was a one-year, $31,056 renewal with Wright National Flood Insurance Company of St. Petersburg, FL.
The board signed off on a trio of Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP) items totaling just under $200,000, as well as a $10,000 revenue item with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to provide GIS services.
The design and engineering of the Newtown Rail Trail in Upper Southampton Township moved forward with a $100,000 contact for design and engineering services by Michael Baker International, Inc. of Horsham, PA. Discussion of the scope of the Newtown Rail Trail is ongoing, particularly with regard to its place in the Northampton Township community.
The meeting opened with Commissioner Marseglia proclaiming July 13-19 as “Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week” throughout the County of Bucks. In so doing, she recognized that Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week is a time to honor and celebrate the dedicated individuals in our community who work tirelessly to make our neighborhoods safer. We also praise our Adult Probation officers and their agents who seek to give offenders another chance to be productive members of our society.
The Bucks County United Way presented the commissioners a large card with 200 signed pieces of fruit to express appreciation for the board’s recent support of the Bucks Knocks Out Hunger. The event took place on June 17, with more than 600 volunteers helping to stock the county’s various food pantries. Tim Philpot of the United Way also thanked the board for its support for those experiencing hunger and food insecurity during last year’s state budget impasse.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler focused his bi-weekly comments on the 2016-17 state budget, which was signed recently by Gov. Tom Wolf. While it benefits prisoners, it failed to restore the Human Services funding cuts of 2012-13 and could have an adverse impact on the County during the early months of 2017.
Chief Clerk Lynn T. Bush reminded residents the next Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) event will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at Central Bucks South High School, 1100 Folly Rd., Warrington, PA. “This is generally our most well-attended event,” Ms. Bush said. The 2016 HHW information flyer is available at the link: http://www.buckscounty.org/docs/default-source/pc/2016buckscountyhhwcollectionevents.pdf?sfvrsn=0
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 17 at the Middletown Grange Fair #684 at 576 Penns Park Rd., Wrightstown, PA, 18940, in the Entertainment Tent. A ceremonial opening of the fair will precede the meeting. For a complete audio account of the July 20, 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.