February 10, 2012
Commissioners Honor Lt. Governor Jim Cawley as Grand Marshal of the Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Before discussing a full slate of business that included 51 contract resolutions involving 18 departments, Bucks County Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW welcomed a familiar face to the Courthouse Community Room. Lieutenant Governor and former Commissioner James F. Cawley greeted his ex-colleagues before donning the colorful Grand Marshal sash as the 2012 honoree of the Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Commissioner Martin read a proclamation in recognition of the 24th annual event, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, beginning at St. Joseph the Worker on New Falls Rd. “It is an honor to have the Lieutenant Governor with us today,” Chairman Loughery told the nearly filled room.
Lt. Governor Cawley noted that he is especially proud to serve as Grand Marshal because his late father, Jim, served in the same capacity back in 1995 – making them the first father-son duo to earn that distinction. “This is a very special privilege,” Lt. Governor Cawley stated. “I would like to invite all of you to come down. It is indeed Bucks County’s parade, and while it is an Irish parade, we celebrate all manner of different heritage and diversity here.” This year’s parade theme will be, “Remember Our History, Protect Our Past.” The Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee also will host the annual Irish Ball on Friday, March 2, at King’s Caterers in Bristol Twp.
Following the proclamation portion of the meeting, which also featured the proclamation of March, 2012 as Brain Injury Awareness Month by Commissioner Marseglia, the board conducted extensive analysis of several agenda items. This led to the tabling of two Children & Youth contracts: a $177,500 agreement with the Bucks County Opportunity Council to provide bridge and transitional housing, and an $83,677 agreement with the Opportunity Council to provide case management and financial assistance for families. Chairman Loughery and Commissioner Marseglia asked Human Services Director Joe Funk for a detailed analysis of those services.
By a 2-1 margin, with Commissioner Marseglia dissenting, the board approved a $230,498 contract with Reliance Graphics of West Chester to provide sample ballots for the 2012 and 2013 General and Municipal Elections. The board unanimously approved three contracts totaling almost $76,000 for the support and storage of the county’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.
The county’s popular Open Space program added three properties to its rolls through the approval of a Municipal Open Space Grant on the 22.8-acre Dolan property in Haycock Township, a Natural Areas Program Grant on 11.4 acres of the Skoriak property in the Highlands Region of Durham Township (of which 25 acres was previously preserved) and the 16.5-acre Dolan property in Richland Township.
In a climate where cost savings are the order of the day, the commissioners unanimously approved a two-year contract with PPL Energy Plus, LLC for electricity generation for 150 county locations. County Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler estimates that the contract will result in a savings of approximately $550,000, while also allowing the county library system to take advantage of the cost reduction opportunity.
The board approved three contracts for cell phone and mobile broadband services for county employees (AT&T, Sprint and Verizon), but Commissioner Martin asked Information Technology Director Don Jacobs to look into a way to wrap all county phone service into one provider. The majority of county mobile phones and devices (561) are part of the $300,000 Verizon contract.
Commissioner Marseglia also voted against a$45,500 Board of Elections contract with the Intelligencer to provide advertising for legal advertising over the next four election cycles, as well as a $173,936 Finance Department renewal for liability insurance at Neshaminy Manor.
Chief Operating Officer Hessenthaler had a pair of items on his bi-monthly report, noting that the February 7 release of the Pennsylvania preliminary budget portends that “it is going to be a difficult year.” County officials are evaluating the potential impact on county services. Mr. Hessenthaler also reported that the county’s highly successful Drug “Take Back” Day program will have another collection event on Saturday, April 28 at locations throughout the county.
Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reported that the Pennsylvania budget includes the third-highest farmland preservation allocation for Bucks County, which will augment the $2.5 million annual approval by the Commissioners earlier this year. Ms. Bush also addressed the Pennsylvania Natural Gas Law that was signed recently, noting that Bucks County will not be eligible to enact a fee ordinance. Other impacts of the bill, such as local zoning, are still being analyzed.
At Commissioner Loughery’s suggestion, the board agreed to continue to table a Justice Center change order that initially was tabled for further consideration during the February 1 business meeting.
The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in the Conference Room of the Bucks County Courthouse (1st Floor). For a complete audio account of the February 22 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.