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2012 News

Commissioners Table Vote on New Justice Center Construction Change Order

February 1, 2012

February 1, 2012

Commissioners Table Vote on New Justice Center Construction Change Order

Although Bucks County Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW approved 27 contract resolutions for 15 county department during their February 1 business meeting, it was one they tabled – by a 2-1 margin – that generated the most in-depth discussion. Following a lengthy explanation by General Services Director Jerry Anderson of a proposed $181,000 contract decrease by Justice Center General Contractor Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc., Commissioners Loughery and Marseglia voted to table that change order until the next Commissioners’ Meeting, scheduled for February 22, 2012. Commissioner Martin voted against tabling the resolution, which is related to the largest capital project in Bucks County government annals.

Commissioners“This is not uncommon,” Anderson told the board of the change order, which involves a terra cotta wall screen. At issue was the fact that the original value of the alternate bid was $355,000 – a figure that county officials believe that should be credited on the project rather than the $181,000 on the agenda. “On large projects like this, you are going to have things like this.” Mr. Anderson also expressed his sentiment that, “it (cost detail for the project) will settle out at a later date, through some other proceedings.” During January, 2011, the commissioners voted to award Ernest Bock & Sons a $58.2 million contract for general construction of the Justice Center.

The board approved another pair of change orders related to the Justice Center, construction – a $37,318 increase with Ernest Bock & Sons for additional demolition work and a $45,923.75 contract increase with Guy M. Cooper, Inc. for fire protection. Commissioner Marseglia voted against both items.

The county’s federally funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) programs were unanimously approved for the 2012 cycle at $2.496 million. According to county Community & Business Development Director Vitor Vicente, that total represents a significant reduction from previous years. Chairman Loughery noted the time lapse on many of the CDBG projects, which are proposed for funding by the Community Development Advisory Board. He asked that the commissioners be allowed to make revisions to the project list later in the year, as deemed necessary.

Proclamation for Hunger and Nutrition Education MonthAlso in the General Services realm, the commissioners approved six contracts for ongoing room addition and home elevation work along the Neshaminy Creek watershed. Five of those agreements are for properties in Bristol Township, while one involves homes in Bristol Township and Hulmeville Borough.

For Parks and Recreation, the board signed off on the $230,000 federally funded purchase of 613 feet of Neshaminy Creek-front property in Northampton Township, in lieu of condemnation. According to county Executive Director of Parks and Recreation Bill Mitchell, the property is the site of the former Valley Stream Inn restaurant. The property has been flooded numerous times over the last decade-and-a-half.

The meeting began with Commissioner Marseglia reading a proclamation that recognizes February, 2012, as Hunger and Nutrition Education Month. Members of the county Hunger and Nutrition Coalition (HNC) accepted, reminding meeting attendees of this week’s Hunger Forum, to be held on February 3, 2012 at Delaware Valley College.  Entitled “Hope of the Harvest: Hunger No Longer,” the forum will feature speakers, breakout sessions and a keynote presentation by Russell Redding, Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the college.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler had only one item on his bi-monthly report, asking the commissioners to approve Bern McBride as the acting director of the Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc., while a search is conducted for a new director. Former Executive Director Marge Hanna retired during December, 2011.

Chief Clerk Lynn Bush offered attendees a preview of the Planning Commission’s annual report on development in Bucks County, noting that proposed residential development remained fairly steady from 2010-2011 (574 units two years ago to 588 last year) while non-residential development improved dramatically from 1.1 million proposed square feet in 2010 to 2.7 million last year. Ms. Bush also announced that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will be seeking members of its Citizens Committee. That application will be available on the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org.

Commissioner Loughery motioned to amend the Commissioners’ Meeting schedule for 2012, which will now include evening meetings approximately once a quarter – in March, July, and September. That motion was approved unanimously.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, in the Conference Room of the Bucks County Courthouse (1st Floor). For a complete audio account of the February 1 meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.