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2018 News

Commissioners Approve 17 Contract Resolutions, Including 207th Farm Preservation, During Rare Afternoon Meeting Feb. 21

February 22, 2018
Human Services, Corrections, and District Attorney stand with the Commissioners for the Stepping Up Resolution, to better serve those with Mental Disabilities.

On February 21, 2018, the Board of Bucks County Commissioners convened at the rare starting time of 2:30 p.m. in their Doylestown Administration Building Meeting Room. Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery opened the proceedings by asking for a prolonged Moment of Silence for the victims and families of last week’s Florida school shooting as well as former Family Service Association Executive Director Audrey Tucker, who passed away earlier this week. He also thanked Mrs. Tucker for all of her service to county residents in her administrative role, including more than 30 years as chief executive officer.

The streamlined agenda featured the unanimous approval of 17 resolutions involving nine County departments. The meeting had several highlights, however, including approval of a 63.38-acre agricultural conservation easement on the Deborah and Frederick Moore farm located on Hickory Lane in Springfield Township. The County’s portion of the total cost was $228,168 plus settlement charges and adjustments.

According to County Agricultural Land Preservation Director Rich Harvey, the Moore farm “is one of the most picturesque farms in the program. It really is a stunning farm.” The property is 80 percent in production and lies within a one-mile radius of 700 previously preserved acres. It ranked No. 9 on the 2017 round of farm preservation applicants. Mr. Harvey thanked the board for its ongoing support, which will allocate more than $5 million between County and State money for farm preservation projects this year. The Moore farm lifts the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation program total to 207 farms comprised of 16,569 acres.

Preserved farm #207 - the Moore Farm in Upper Bucks County.The commissioners approved three items for the County Children & Youth Social Services Agency, including a one-year, $177,500 contract renewal with the Doylestown-based Bucks County Opportunity Council to provide bridge and transitional housing services. Also in the Human Services realm, the board agreed to four Mental Health/Developmental Programs (MH/DP) contracts that included a one-year, $1.112 million renewal with T.E.C., Inc. (Family and Friends) to provide supported living services.

Another high point of the agenda was the approval of Chairman Loughery to have signature authority to approve a Memorandum of Agreement with the Federal Highway Administration & Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office regarding County Bridge No. 21, on Rickert Rd. over Morris Run, in Hilltown Township. The agreement will enable the County to move forward with replacing the one-lane bridge later this year. It also marks a key step in a process that has been held up for years by historic preservation obstacles. When completed, the bridge will have two lanes, representing a key upgrade to a structure that is located about a mile southwest of heavily traveled Rte. 313.

The commissioners also moved forward with a two-year, $209,748 contract increase and extension for support services and software maintenance for the Emergency Communications Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System. That agreement is with Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. of McLean, VA.

Hunger and Nutrition Awareness Month Proclamation, with the Commissioners presenting to members of the Hunger Nutrition CoalitionThe meeting opened with Commissioner Marseglia issuing a proclamation to representatives of the Hunger Nutrition Coalition (HNC) recognizing February, 2018, as Hunger and Nutrition Awareness Month. HNC was created in July, 2001 after the League of Women Voters convened a Nutrition Task Force, consisting of 14 county social service agencies, to identify the obstacles Bucks County low-income families experience in accessing food and nutritional resources. HNC will report its 2017 survey findings of 1,132 resident questionnaires and strategies for food collaborative results at its Hunger Forum, to be held on March 6, 2018 at Delaware Valley University.  Entitled “Straight to the Core; Navigating Food Security in our Community” the forum will feature information sharing, facilitated discussions, and keynote presentations.

“We have a great working collaboration, particularly with our farmers who grow food right here in Bucks County,” Chairman Loughery said. “It’s not just squash and kale.”

Chairman Loughery also issued a special resolution that affirmed the County’s commitment to addressing mental health issues in the County Correctional facilities through the nationwide “Stepping Up” Initiative. Adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders tend to stay longer in jail and, upon release, are at higher risk of recidivism than those without disorders, and county jails spend two to three times more on adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders that require interventions compared to those without these treatment needs. Accepting the resolution with the commissioners were Director of Housing and Human Services Jon Rubin, Deputy Director of Housing and Human Services Chris Finello, District Attorney Matt Weintraub and Corrections Director Chris Pirolli.

Commissioner Marseglia reported on a trip to Harrisburg she made to addressing issues with the state’s Child Line reporting requirements and training that is need in that arena. She lobbied the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) to enact change and is hopeful for a report closely studying the matter “maybe be fall.”

During his Chief Operating Officer report, Brian Hessenthaler touched again on the Pennsylvania state preliminary budget, which is currently in the hearing phase. Bucks County is closely monitoring the impacts of flat funding proposals in the Human Services realm. “Flat funding doesn’t really do it for us. It’s a reduction in funding almost.”

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Bucks County Administration Building (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the February 21, 2018 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.