Home   |   About Bucks   |   Site Map     Twitter Facebook

2017 News

Commissioners Visit Historic Bristol Borough's Riverside Theater from May 17 Business Session

May 18, 2017

Just a few short months after Bristol Borough earned the title of “No. 1 Small Town in America” and a $500,000 marketing grant through the Small Business Revolution contest, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners paid a visit to extend their congratulations. Meeting in front of the ornate set of the Bristol Riverside Theater’s production “Witness for the Prosecution” on the morning of May 17, Commissioners Charles H. Martin, Robert G. Loughery and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW unanimously approved 31 contract resolutions impacting 16 County departments.

The meeting was the first time the board conducted business in the intimate surroundings of Bristol Riverside Theater since September 7, 2011. “This is a wonderful backdrop,” Chairman Martin said of the tall woodwork bookcase that loomed behind the head meeting table. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the theater, according to Founding Director Susan Atkinson. “It has become a major regional theater,” Ms. Atkinson told the commissioners. “There are some amazing things happening in this town.”

Bristol Borough Mayor Joe Saxton thanked the commissioners for their support of the Borough’s many endeavors, including the ongoing construction of a floating dock on the Delaware River. Members of the Bristol Borough Council presented the board with a proclamation which was read by council member Lou Quattrocchi, who was joined by council Vice President Betty Rodriguez.

Also during the ceremonial portion of the meeting, County Chief Clerk Lynn Bush read a letter of congratulations on the Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution victory to Bill Pezza, the driving force behind Bristol’s effort to win last February’s nationwide vote. The letter, signed by all nine members of the Bucks County Planning Commission, praised the civic leaders of Bristol as making the borough one of the “best 1.5 square miles” in the region. The Planning Commission has worked with borough officials as part of the County’s Municipal Economic Development Initiative (MEDI). Commissioner Loughery noted Bucks County’s “great diversity, which represents a lot of future potential. There are opportunities in all our small towns. It’s a template. Hats off to Bristol Borough. You have to look long term – 15, 20, 25 years down the road.”

The 31 approved contract resolutions featured a key Open Space preservation in Buckingham/Wrightstown townships in the 79.66-acre Virnelson property through the Heritage Conservancy. According to County Open Space Coordinator Dave Johnson, the county will pay $278,795 toward the Natural Areas Program grant, with the Department of Conservation and Natural resources also providing a 50-percent match of the total cost. Mr. Johnson said the Virnelson property was ranked very high during the 2016 round of applications and is an almost entirely wooded area that includes significant natural features such as the Mill Creek.

For Parks and Recreation, the commissioners approved a $614,417 contract with James D. Morrissey, Inc. for paving to complete a multi-use trail at Peace Valley Park. That contract will complete a secure off-road, 6.0 mile paved area. The project also includes the rehabilitation/resurfacing of 2.0 miles of the original, 1974 trail.

In the Planning Commission realm, the board approved a three-year, $449,159 contract with Doylestown’s Boucher & James for design and engineering services and construction drawings for the Neshaminy Greenway Trail. The County trail network is a clear point of focus for the current Board of Commissioners.

As part of the County’s Information Technology operation, Computer Aid, Inc. of Allentown was hired through a seven-month, $85,000 plus expenses contract to perform an assessment of the County IT environment. That agreement is subject to final approval by the County Solicitor.

The commissioners agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville to provide additional housing for offenders at a rate of $90 per day per inmate. The board also approved three Children & Youth Social Services contracts and five General Services’ resolutions.

In his bi-weekly report, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler provided an update on the Pennsylvania budget deficit, which is projected at more than $1.3 billion. He noted the state’s budget impact on County services, particularly in the Human Services division. He also reported that the County turnout for the May 16 Municipal Primary was approximately 11.6 percent of the electorate. Chairman Martin praised the Board of Elections and poll workers/judges of elections for their efforts to run a smooth election.

Chief Clerk Lynn Bush reminded residents that this year’s first Bucks County Household Hazardous Waste collection will be Saturday, May 27 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Bristol Township’s Harry S. Truman High School.

The meeting also included a presentation from Recorder of Deeds Joseph Szafran to Sheriff Edward “Duke” Donnelly for his office’s support of the Tour of Honor program.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in the Barn at Tinicum, River Rd. (Rte. 32) in Erwinna. For a complete audio account of the May 17, 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.