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2018 News

SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel Makes Regional Transportation Presentation to Commissioners

April 19, 2018

The importance of regional transportation and its economic impact on southeastern Pennsylvania was highlighted during the April 18, 2018 meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners. During that business session in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Administration Building, Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW approved 28 contract resolutions involving 14 County departments. They also heard a detailed analysis of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) economic statistics regarding Bucks County, Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. The PowerPoint was presented by SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel.

Bridgeton Lake Preservation - Open Space Acquisition Mr. Knueppel’s presentation was entitled “SEPTA Drives the Economy of Pennsylvania.” He detailed the number of Bucks County riders who use regional rail line and bus service each day. He also spoke of the impact on property values that is derived from living close to a SEPTA station. He highlighted the impact of Pennsylvania Act 89 (2013) transportation funding impacts on the nation’s sixth largest transit system. SEPTA operates 145 fixed routes through more than 2,700 vehicles. Its services carry more than 300 million passengers annually.

Commissioner Martin has served on the SEPTA Board of Directors since 2001. He thanked Mr. Knueppel for his visit, concluding with a question about the recent Eagles Super Bowl parade and its challenges for the transit service.

A highlight of the 28-item agenda was the unanimous approval of a Natural Areas Program grant for 110.06 acres on River Rd. in Bridgeton Township. The County portion of the acquisition is $280,700 for the Open Space preservation. According to Open Space Director Rich Harvey, the site is located near Ringing Rocks Park and the Delaware River and features 1,000 feet of road footage. It is a former quarry site that is heavily forested. Bridgeton Township plans to create two miles of trails on the site, which was rated a Priority 1 land during a recent study. The 110-acre addition lifts the total of the County Natural Areas program to 3,907 made up of 114 properties.

Child Abuse Prevention Month ProclamationThe board also approved four contracts for the Area Agency on Aging and four for the Children & Youth Social Services agency. Among the C&Y items was a one-year, $754,000 contract renewal with the YWCA of Bucks County to provide life skills, camps, literacy and employment services programs. The meeting also included Commissioner Marseglia reading a proclamation that named April, 2018 as “Child Abuse Awareness Month” throughout the County of Bucks.

For Community & Economic Development, the commissioners signed off on three Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) items, including a $191,054 contract with the Borough of Morrisville for improvements to Williamson Park.

In General Services, the board agreed to a listing agreement with Flo Smerconish Realtor of Doylestown for the County property at 50 N. Main St., Doylestown.

The Health Department will receive a three-year, $819,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Communicable Diseases for its HIV Prevention program. That grant will run through June 30, 2021.

Although it passed by a 2-1 vote, a 22-month, $5,000 Housing Services grant for A Woman’s Place in Doylestown met with a “nay” from Commissioner Marseglia.

OrthogenRX check presentation as repayment for VC4BC investment.The meeting opened with the presentation of a pair of checks from Dr. Mike Daley of OrthogenRx as a return for the Bucks County Retirement Board’s venture capital investment in his company, which markets a unique knee fluid regeneration product. The checks, which totaled just over $230,000, included repayment of the original investment through the VC4BC program as well as more than $42,000 of interest. OrthogenRX started as a four person company and now boasts 34 employees who work in a new 3,400-square foot office in Doylestown. Dr. Daley thanked the commissioners for their role in his success, noting that Bucks County was the first in the nation to have a venture capital program run through its Retirement Board.

Also featured during the meeting was a proclamation that Chairman Loughery read to honor community activist Robert Whitley for his efforts in raising awareness of the devastating consequences opioids are having on individuals and families. Mr. Whitley is the driving force behind the current Bucks County “Blitz,” the second annual awareness campaign. District Attorney Matt Weintraub thanked Mr. Whitley for his passion and inspiration in coordinating the Blitz.

Commissioner Martin offered a comment on the bi-weekly personnel list, which featured the re-hire of County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Director Audrey Kenny. She will return after a brief tenure with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

Proclamation to honor community activist Robert Whitley for his efforts in raising awareness of the devastating consequences opioids are having on individuals and families.During his Chief Operating Officer report, Brian Hessenthaler also welcomed Ms. Kenny back to the County team. He noted that last Saturday’s Household Hazardous Waste collection event at Harry S. Truman High in Bristol drew 650 cars. The total weight of materials collected will be announced at a later date. In addition, Mr. Hessenthaler reminded residents that the next scheduled Medication Take Back event will be Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 49 various locations throughout Bucks County.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at the Langhorne Manor Municipal Building, 618 Hulmeville Ave., Langhorne, PA 19047. For a complete audio account of the April 18, 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.