Six days in advance of an election that will determine the identity of the 45th President of the United States of America, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners returned to its first-floor meeting room November 2 in the County Administration Building. Reminding attendees that the County Board of Elections staff is preparing for a Nov. 8 General Election that includes more than 20,000 absentee ballot applications and an extra 115 voting machines, the commissioners approved 33 contract resolutions involving 15 County departments.
Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery reminded residents to head to their polling place on Tuesday, while Chief Clerk Lynn T. Bush and Commissioner Charles H. Martin praised the hard work being performed by the Board of Elections. “Our dedicated staff is making sure we have a sufficient number of machines and that they have battery backup,” Ms. Bush said. “We are confident that we have done everything we can to get ready (for a large election turnout).”
The business of the morning included 18 contracts involving the Human Services division – eight for the Children & Youth Social Services Agency and eight for Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP). The Children & Youth items included a one-year, $603,704 renewal with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Jamison to provide counseling and case management services for adolescents, a pair of one-year renewals totaling $1.3 million with Doylestown’s Edison Court, Inc. to provide residential and case management services, and a one-year, $754,000 renewal with Trevose-based YWCA of Bucks County to provide life skills, camps, literacy and employment services programs.
For the Human Services division, the board unanimously approved a nine-month, $1.899 million contract with Holicong-based Bucks County Transport, Inc. to provide transportation services. This contract offers much-needed Medical Assistance Transportation to residents.
In the MH/DP realm, the commissioners approved a one-year, $838,647 renewal with Philadelphia’s Horizon House, Inc. to provide residential services. Commissioner Martin voted against that contract, which passed by a 2-1 margin via Chairman Loughery and Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW. The board also approved a one-year, $1.157 million renewal with T.E.C., Inc. d/b/a Family and Friends of Point Pleasant to provide supported living services.
The General Services department continued to move forward with renovations to the 30 and 55 E. Court St. locations through the commissioners’ approval of a $119,893 contract with Conshohocken, PA-based Convergent Solutions Group, LLC d/b/a CSG Global for the installation of a phone system at both locations.
The $87 million Bucks County Open Space referendum of 2007 continues to wind its way to a conclusion. County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson presented the final Municipal Open Space for Springfield Township, the 24.449-acre Zeigler property on Peppermint Rd. near Rte. 212. The County will pay $158,170 to purchase a conservation easement on the active horse farm. The Zeigler family also has agreed to allow parking on the property for a nearby park that is quite popular as a destination for residents. Chairman Loughery noted that the deadline for municipal open space project requests involving the 2007 Open Space referendum monies is Dec. 31, 2016.
For Purchasing, the commissioners were pleased to approve a three-year contract with Houston, TX-based EDF Energy Services LLC to provide electricity for various county departments at a rate of just over five (5) cents per kilowatt hour (kwh). According to Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler, if the County’s power usage remains consistent with past years, the contract could save taxpayers between $250,000 and $275,000. “This is a great job by our energy consultants,” Mr. Hessenthaler stated, and Chairman Loughery noted it is a “great rate.”
One final piece of the contract business involved the $32,594 purchase of two “hi-tech” ovens for the Bucks County Youth Center from Benjamin Foods LLC of Hatboro.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reported that the Bucks County Corrections Department received 100-percent compliance status on both mandatory and non-mandatory inspection items during a recent visit from ACA officials. The inspection is performed on a three-year cycle. Mr. Hessenthaler congratulated County Corrections Director William Plantier and his staff for their work to meet the high standards. Mr. Hessenthaler also extended his appreciation to Bucks County’s Medication Take Back Program, which collected more than 8,000 pounds of medicine on Saturday, Oct. 22. That total led all Pennsylvania counties and represented almost 50 percent of the collection in the five-county Philadelphia region.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 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 November, 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.