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Commissioners Issue Two Trails Related Resolutions, Approve 84 Contracts for 16 County Departments during Sept. 6 Meeting

September 6, 2017

Returning to the comforts and audiovisual support of their Doylestown Meeting Room for the first time since June 21, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners offered their support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday, Sept. 6 while keeping an eye on the approaching Hurricane Irma. Commissioners Charles H. Martin, chairman, Robert G. Loughery and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, also joined Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler and Director of Finance and Administration David Boscola to address the 2018 County budget process, which is underway with a unique set of challenges. One of those involves the $4 million budget adjustment the commissioners reluctantly approved during the meeting, $3.3 million of which was a byproduct of the County Corrections inmate population growth.

Two Resolutions for Bike Trails were presented by the Commissioners at the September 6, 2017 meeting“The 2018 budget is going to be the most difficult I can remember,” Mr. Hessenthaler warned. “We have gone 10 of 11 years without raising (property) taxes and the goal is to make it 11 of 12.”

Of the inmate situation and the growing opioid addiction/crime problems that are plaguing the community, Commissioner Loughery observed: “It’s not something that’s going away any time soon.” He also noted that Corrections officials will be taking steps to expand the Bucks County Correctional Facility and added medium security cells at the Men’s Community Corrections Center.

The board unanimously approved a total of 84 contract resolutions, the vast majority of which were Area Agency on Aging (AAA) contract renewals or amendments for services to the senior community. The commissioners also approved a $958,452 increase and extension of the Medicaid Services Agreement, Title XIX grant for nursing home transition activity with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Department of Aging.

The County Agricultural Land Preservation Program added the 50.83-acre Wassmer Farm in Milford Township to its rolls, lifting the program total to 203 farms comprised of 16,270 acres. According to County Agricultural Land Preservation Director Rich Harvey, the Wassmer Farm is a crop farm in 80 percent production. It is located near several previously preserved properties and is one of nine farms that now have conservation easements in Milford Township. The County paid 30 percent of the appraised value, with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funding the other 70 percent.

Staff from the Youth Center accept an award from CCAP for Best PracticesThe commissioners approved five contracts each for the Children & Youth Social Services Agency and the Mental Health/Development Programs (MH/DP) departments, while also agreeing to a $61,906 Health Department purchase of seasonal influenza vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur. According to Health Services Director Dr. David Damsker, the 5,600 doses will be offered to residents during three separate free Health Department clinics: the first on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Health Dept. Doylestown office (1282 Almshouse Rd., Doylestown, PA 18901) and the other two on Saturday, Sept. 30 , 2017 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Lower Bucks Govt. Services Center (7321 New Falls Rd., Levittown, PA 19055) and the Upper Bucks Govt. Services Center (261 California Rd., Quakertown, PA 18951).

In the General Services realm, plans moved ahead for the Justice Center Phase 3 parking area (at the corner of Broad and E. Court streets) with the approval of a $57,500 contract increase for site engineering and land development services with Warrington’s Carroll Engineering Corp. The Board also approved a $258,316 contract with New Britain’s Gilmore & Associates, Inc. for engineering design services for Bucks County Bridge No. 270, on Roudenbush Rd. over Kimples Creek in Haycock Township.

Commissioner Loughery complimented County Director of Military and Veterans Affairs Dan Fraley for a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for the use of Space at the Lower Bucks Government Services Center (7321 New Falls Rd., Levittown, PA 19055) to provide “telehealth” care to veterans. According to Mr. Fraley, 440 lower Bucks veterans recently were displaced with health care at Fort Dix in New Jersey was terminated to veterans. In this new program, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, they will be able to undergo a virtual examination with doctors at the Philadelphia VA hospital.

Health Link receives a proclamation for Oral Health Month, support their work with children and their healthThe meeting opened with a pair of resolutions involving trails in the region that will impact Bucks County residents. Commissioner Loughery read both items, including the board’s commitment to supporting the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s goal to complete 750 miles of “Circuit Trails” by the year 2014. He also pledged County support for the 9-11 National Memorial Trail (9-11NMT), a 1,300-mile venture that will connect the Pentagon with Shanksville, PA and the World Trade Center as a way of paying tribute to those lost to four acts of terrorism on September 11, 2001.

Commissioner Marseglia joined her colleagues in proclaiming September, 2017 as “Oral Health Month” in honor of the low-income resident dental work performed by HealthLink. The Southampton-based nonprofit has been operating for 16 years, providing more than 20,000 free procedures.

The meeting also featured a status report from the Bucks County Suicide Task Force and the awarding of the County Commissioners’ Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) 21st Century Best Practices Award to the Bucks County Youth Center. Commissioner Marseglia also shared pictures of a recent produce giveaway event at the Lower Bucks Campus of the Bucks County Community College that drew more than 200 residents.

Randy Miller receives a certificate from the Suicide Task force for all his assistance working with the groupThe next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at the Langhorne Branch of the Bucks County Free Library, 301 S. Pine St., Langhorne, PA 19047. For a complete audio account of the September 6, 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.