For the first time in exactly five years, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners held a business meeting in the community room of the County-operated Silver Lake Nature Center October 19 in Bristol Township. The facility, which recently underwent significant renovations to its exhibit area, is one of three nature centers maintained and managed by the County Parks & Recreation department.
In recognition of Silver Lake’s 50th anniversary, Naturalist Jerry Kozlansky welcomed Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia to the center. He noted that the Friends of Silver Lake Nature Center will host its 50th Anniversary Fall Fling on Friday, Nov. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at the facility (1306 Bath Rd., Bristol, PA 19007).
The business portion of the meeting included the unanimous approval of 48 contract resolutions involving 14 County departments, 29 of them involving Human Services items. Those included a three-year, $80 million per year Behavioral Health funding agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Human Services to approve extension of the Health Choices Behavioral Health Agreement through Dec. 31, 2019. The board also approved six senior center services contracts for the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), six contracts for the Children & Youth Social Services Agency and 14 contracts for Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP). Among the MH/DP agreements was a one-year, $1.644 million contract renewal with BARC Developmental Services, Inc. of Holicong, PA to provide therapy services for children up to age three.
Agricultural Land Preservation Director Rich Harvey presented a pair of farms in Springfield Township for the commissioners to add to the County’s ever-growing easement program. The first property was the 16.75-acre Oraschin farm on Kellers Rd. According to Mr. Harvey, the Oraschin farm is an alpaca-raising operation situated next to a lot of previously preserved land. It is also an “important parcel” because the family does a lot of community outreach with young through its 50 alpacas and other programs, which include work with 4-H, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The County’s portion of the easement was $22,131 plus settlement charges and adjustments.
The second farm preservation involved the 44.8-acre Pitcairn farm located at 2415 Deer Trail Rd. The property featured 30 acres in hay production and, at an elevation of 780 feet, is one of the highest points in Bucks County. The County’s portion of the easement is $56,833 plus settlement charges and adjustments. According to Mr. Harvey, the two farm preservations lift the County’s Agricultural Land Preservation total to 195 farms comprised of 15,784 acres since 1989. He added that the Agricultural Land Preservation Board has a goal of 16,000 acres by the end of 2016.
For the Corrections department, the board approved four contracts related to Aramark Facilities Services of Philadelphia and maintenance of the Department of Corrections and the Youth Center. The largest chunk of those agreements involved a three-year, $2.645 million contract to provide maintenance and project support services for the Department of Corrections and Youth Center. The commissioners also signed off on a three-year, $795,000 contract for reimbursement of materials and overtime with Aramark.
In the Emergency Communications realm, the board approved a five-year, $180,341 contract with Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC to provide a direct connection between the County’s two 9-1-1 centers (Ivyland and Doylestown).
Work on the County’s 30 E. Court St. building is almost complete. To that end, the commissioners agreed to a $298,293 contract with Offix USA, LLC of Allentown, PA to purchase workstation furniture for that facility, some spaces in 55 E. Court St. and the Health Dept. office at the Levittown Government Services Center. The board also hired Warrington’s Carroll Engineering Corporation to a two-year, $300,000 (plus reimbursables) to provide bridge consultant services through Nov. 30, 2018.
The County’s Municipal Open Space program added a pair of properties totaling almost 30 acres as the board agreed to a $135,955 conservation easement on the 18.81-acre Danciger property in Nockamixon Township and a $68,742 conservation easement on the 9.64-acre Reinmann property in Springfield Township. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson, the Danciger property has “historical relevance” and the Reinmann property features a number of important springs and used to be a camp.
The meeting opened with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Richard Flinn, Jr. presenting a professional certificate of emergency management proficiency to County Emergency Services Director Scott T. Forster. The commissioners congratulated Mr. Forster on the achievement, which represents the highest level in the Commonwealth. Among his many duties, Mr. Forster works with Bucks County’s municipal emergency management coordinators to address public safety matters on behalf of residents and first responders.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported that the third Health Department flu shot clinic provided 840 doses to residents on Saturday, Oct. 15. The three fall clinics at three locations resulted in 2,140 shots for participants. Mr. Hessenthaler also reminded residents that the County’s popular bi-annual Medication Take Back Program will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 48 locations – including four hospitals.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the October 19, 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.