As Fiscal Year 2016 winds down and the 2017 budget season heads to a conclusion, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners continues to address contracts affecting many of the county’s 630,000-plus residents. To that end, the November 16, 2016 business meeting conducted by Chairman Robert G. Loughery, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW featured 20 resolutions involving Human Services departments and another five impacting the Housing & Community Development realm.
The two largest-ticket items were in the Behavioral Health department: the first a $24 million/year revenue agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Human Services to increase the HealthChoices Behavioral Health Agreement and $91.666 million/year renewal of the Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania, Inc. Agreement. Both of those contracts span the time period January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.
The meeting opened with Commissioner Marseglia joining her colleagues to proclaim Nov. 19, 2016 “Random Acts of Kindness” throughout the County of Bucks. Accepting the proclamation on behalf of her late daughter, Abby, Ms. Meg Schumer noted that Abby would have celebrated her 15th birthday this week (she passed away in 2012). Ms. Schumer encouraged those in attendance to do something nice for others as a way of honoring Abby and the Abby’s Light Memorial Foundation (www.abbyslight.org).
Chairman Loughery wished those present a Happy Thanksgiving holiday, noting that this would be the last Commissioners’ Meeting before that celebration. All three commissioners and Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler thanked the County’s Board of Elections for its work during the Nov. 8 General Election, which produced a turnout of almost 75 percent. “(BOE Director) Deena Dean and her staff did a tremendous job with a heavy workload and a short time frame,” Mr. Hessenthaler said.
For the Children & Youth Social Services Agency, the board unanimously approved seven contracts, including a one-year, $515,000 with Pittsburgh-based Cornell Abraxas Group, Inc. to provide long-term drug and alcohol treatment services.
In the Human Services realm, the commissioners signed off on a one-year, $96,872 contract renewal to provide adult day services and personal care services with the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging. For the Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP) department, the board approved eight agreements, among them a one-year, $2.526 million renewal with Salisbury Behavioral Health, Inc. to provide supporting living and residential services. The MH/DP resolutions also included a one-year, $622,614 renewal for supported living and community residential services with CO-MANS, Inc. of Penndel and a one-year, $578,122 renewal with Blue Bell-based KenCrest Services to provide home and community habilitation and early intervention therapy services.
In the Department of Corrections realm, the commissioners approved a one-year, $104,201 contract increase and extension to purchase inmate clothing from North Carolina-based Bob Barker.
The General Services bridge rehabilitation program continued to progress with the approval of a $635,000 contract for repairs to County Bridge No. 15 through Clearwater Construction, Inc. of Mercer, PA. Bridge No. 15 is located on Frosty Hollow Rd. East over Mill Creek in Middletown Township. The board also agreed to a $35,099 contract increase with Clearwater Construction, Inc. for completed repairs to Bridge No. 280 in Upper Makefield Township that carries Brownsburg Rd. East over Jericho Creek. Bridge No. 280 will be opened to traffic on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Another item of note on the agenda was the approval of a one-year, $618,339 Human Resources contract renewal with Harrisburg-based United Concordia Companies, Inc. to provide dental coverage to eligible County employees and their dependents through Fiscal Year 2017.
During commissioners’ miscellaneous comment period, Commissioner Martin pledge that Bucks County will offer “I Voted” stickers to those at the polls next year after feedback received on Nov. 8.
In her bi-weekly report, Chief Clerk Lynn Bush mentioned a newspaper editorial that praised the County’s Open Space program as a “true success story” for current residents and future generations. As executive director of the Planning Commission, she also noted that Nov. 16 is designated National GIS (Geographic Information System) Day. The County Planning Commission maintains a free, searchable GIS website, and the GIS service is also used for maps, the County 911 Emergency Communications department, determining voting districts and mapping flood plains, among other features.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 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 16, 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.