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Commissioners Honor 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Joe Hogan during March 4 Business Meeting

March 6, 2015

On another dreary winter day framed by the threat of inclement weather, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners briefly focused its attention on an outdoor pre-spring ritual. During its March 4 business meeting in the Administration Building Community Room, the board welcomed 2015 Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Grand Marshal Joe Hogan of Levittown to the microphone. Mr. Hogan, who was instrumental in helping Bucks County secure the location for the Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery, will lead the annual parade down New Falls Rd. in Falls Township on the morning of Saturday, March 14 (10:30 a.m. from St. Joseph The Worker church).

Joe Hogan, the 2015 Grand Marshal speaks about the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade in the county.“It’s truly an honor to be here,” Mr. Hogan told Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin (who read the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Proclamation) and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW. George Galloway of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee explained Hogan’s honor as a nod to this year’s parade theme: “We honor the Irish Brigade and all of our veterans.” Mr. Galloway added: “We owe this man (Mr. Hogan) a debt of honor.”

Chairman Loughery set the tone for another daunting winter forecast by opening the meeting with his “hope is at the next (March 18) meeting we won’t be worried about snow and ice, but we’ll see how that goes.”

The agenda portion of the meeting featured the unanimous approval of 40 contract resolutions involving 17 County departments. A highlight of that agenda was a 33.96-acre agricultural conservation easement on the William J. Stein farm in Ottsville (Tinicum Township). The Stein property is a horse farm that has road frontage on Rte. 611 and includes part of the Tohickon Creek. The commissioners agreed to pay 10 percent ($25,470) for the County portion of the appraisal, with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funding 90 percent of the total. The Stein farm is located near several previously preserved properties. Its preservation lifts the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation program total to 177 farms comprised of 14,692 acres – with the 15,000-acre milestone looming on the 2015 horizon.

Joe Hogan, the Bucks County St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal accepting the proclamation from the Commissioners with a member of the parade committee.For the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority (BCIDA), the commissioners approved a resolution for Chairman Loughery to sign off on the issuance of tax-exempt obligations to finance a project of the School Lane Charter in Bensalem Township. The board also agreed to approve a Certified Development Area Plan for the Rte 13 corridor in Bristol Township. That agreement will impact approximately 230 acres near the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge.

Lower Southampton Police Chief William Wiegmann stopped by the meeting to thank the commissioners for considering an $80,200 District Attorney contract with Metro Technology Services, Inc. of Wayne, PA to provide a data sharing initiative for the Bucks County Network Against Domestic Abuse. DA David Heckler also addressed a three-year, $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women. The grant will facilitate a continuation of current programs administered through the DA’s office, A Woman’s Place, and Network of Victims’ Assistance (NOVA).

The board also signed off on four General Services’ contracts, including a $686,805 contract with Bi-State Construction Co., Inc. of Easton, PA for repairs to County Bridge No. 339, which is located on Bucks Rd. in Bedminster Township. The other three resolutions involved plumbing change orders for the Justice Center.

Marissa Christie of the United Way, Marti Woglom  (Housing and Community Development) and Mike Bannon (Consumer Protection) accept the proclamation for Operating Helping Hand.For the Housing and Community Development office, the commissioners approved nine Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) resolutions that conclude the 2014 federal allocations. Among those were $149,200 for Family Service Association of Langhorne to provide shelter operations in Levittown through Nov. 30, 2015, $109,935 to provide ADA modifications to the New Britain Borough building and $150,000 to replace the roof structures on residential rental buildings for the Warminster Heights Development Corporation.

After approving three Human Resources contracts (two with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME), the board agreed to pay a $19,844 Municipal Open Space grant to Ivyland Borough for construction of playground facilities in Commons Park. That allocation completes the Borough’s budget for the current 10-year Open Space bond. The park holds a special place for Commissioner Martin, who played baseball there as a youth.

The meeting featured one other proclamation, designating March 11, 2015 as United Way “Operation Helping Hand Day” throughout the county. Operation Helping Hand is a one-day food collection conducted in public and private schools throughout the county and in other community locations including Bucks County offices and many senior citizen centers. The proceeds will be distributed to those in need by a network of 10 emergency food cupboards and two residential programs.

Chairman Loughery made one chairman’s appointment, re-naming Manfred Marschewski of Riegelsville to chair the County Agricultural Land Preservation Board.

Commissioner Marseglia and DA Heckler shared a one-minute public service announcement (PSA) entitled “Heroin Kills,” which is part of the drug prevention outreach by County officials and community partners. It can be accessed at the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxKPek76_SM&feature=youtu.be

Marissa Christie of the United Way talks about Operation Helping Hand and where and what to donate on March 11, 2015.During his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler shared that County officials will be monitoring the potential impact of the state budget proposed by new Gov. Tom Wolf and that the next Medication Take Back event throughout the county will take place on Saturday, April 25 at dozens of drop-off locations in the area.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in the Bucks County Administration Building Community Room (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the March 4, 2015 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.