For the second consecutive meeting, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners issued four proclamations during their April 19 business session in the Administration Building Commissioners’ Meeting Room. In addition, they approved a significant Open Space acquisition through the $686,281 expenditure for a conservation easement on the Hockman Farm (Broad St. and Middle Rd. in Hilltown Township).
In total, Commissioners Charles H. Martin, chairman, Robert G. Loughery and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia unanimously approved 36 contract resolutions impacting 10 different County departments. Of those agreements, 15 involved various services for the County Area Agency on Aging – including a one-year, $140,000 contract increase and extension with Bucks County Transport, Inc. of Holicong to provide subsidized transportation services for seniors and a one-year, $70,200 contract increase and extension with Bristol-based Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania to provide legal services for seniors.
A clear highlight of the meeting was the approval of County Ordinance No. 153, which will issue General Obligation Bonds, Series of 2017, in the approximate aggregate principal amount not to exceed $39 million. This bond refinancing also included the news that the County’s Triple-A bond ratings through Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have been re-affirmed for the fourth consecutive year. Brad Remig of the PFM, a member of the County’s bond consulting team, congratulated the Board of Commissioners, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler and Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola on that accomplishment. According to Mr. Boscola, this refinancing is expected to save the County $1 million in the 2017 operating budget.
In the Open Space realm, the 67.54-acre Hockman Farm is a property located near several previously preserved parcels in Hilltown Township. An active dairy farm, it was valued at $20,000 per acre by appraisers. The County’s $686,281 portion of the conservation easement will be offset by a match from the Township.
The meeting opened with the reading of four proclamations. Commissioner Marseglia opened by declaring April “Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.” During 2016, the Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency handled a whopping 1,713 cases of alleged child abuse. C&Y Director Lynne Rainey thanked the commissioners for their continued support of their mission to protect one of the most vulnerable groups of the residential population.
Commission Loughery proclaimed April 17-23 “Healthcare Decisions Week” throughout the County. Healthcare Decisions Week is designed to raise public awareness about the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and also to encourage the specific use of Advance Directives.
Chairman Martin proclaimed “National Library Week” in recognition of the Bucks County Free Library system. On hand to pass out buttons to the commissioners was Library Executive Director Martina Kominiarek.
In addition, Commissioner Marseglia congratulated 2017 High School Poet of the Year, Megan Lunny, a sophomore at Central Bucks East High School. Ms. Lunny was chosen from a field of 275 entrants this year – a record for the competition according to Dr. Ethel Rackin of Bucks County Community College. Ms. Lunny read one of her poems for meeting attendees.
The meeting also included a brief presentation by the VFW Post 175 about an event that will take place on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Each day, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives. In order to draw attention to the problem, 22 individuals will march 22 kilometers from Washington Crossing Park to Doylestown wearing 22 pounds of gear. Commissioner Loughery told organizer Rich Scott of the VFW that he plans to participate in the event. “Sign me up,” he said.
For General Services, the commissioners approved a pair of change orders for the 30 E. Court Street renovation project. One was $30,742 for general contracting through TE Construction Services, LLC of Warminster and the other was $38,740 with Westcott Electric Company of Glen Riddle, PA for electric work.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler reminded residents that the next scheduled Medication Take Back Event will be Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at 49 secure locations around the county. Since 2010, more than 80,000 pounds of medications have been taken out of cabinets and disposed of properly.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush offered another reminder to residents that the County’s five Household Hazardous Waste Collection events (non-electronics) have been scheduled. They can be accessed at the following link: http://www.buckscounty.org/docs/default-source/pc/2017hhwcollectionevents.pdf?sfvrsn=0. The first event is scheduled for Saturday, May 27 at Bristol’s Harry S. Truman High School.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in the multi-purpose room of the Neshaminy Manor long-term care facility, 1660 Easton Rd., Warrington, PA, 18976. For a complete audio account of the April 19, 2017 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.