Bucks County’s first wholesale effort to examine operations throughout the administration and make recommendations for improvements was released recently.
Titled “The Transition Team Report,” the project was designed several months ago “with the purpose of effecting change in the way Bucks County serves its citizens,” according to the document’s summary.
Faced with an $8 million budget deficit, the report “strongly suggests” a job freeze and that each department reduce expenses by 2 percent.
The county should evaluate all “non-core” county assets for potential sale, which, the report said, “could buy time until debt service costs come down.”
Other suggestions include, improving citizens’ experience with county government and better transparency. Commissioner meetings could be livestreamed. A complete upgrade of the county’s 10-year-old website was cited as important. “This needs to be examined at a deep level,” said Bob Harvie, the vice chairman of the commissioners, during a virtual press conference last week.
A subcommittee analyzing the county’s economic development recommended hiring a director of economic development and creation of an economic advisory committee. With tourism a major economic driver in the county, the committee suggested that some economic recovery funds be funneled to the county’s cultural and tourist attractions.
Other departments studied included health and human services, parks, energy and the environment. More services for the county’s homeless are needed, as is attention to its park system, the report said.
Created by an all-volunteer group of area professionals, the study was chaired by Doylestown attorney Thomas Jennings.
Asked if the report was similar to a comprehensive plan, Bucks County Commissioner Chairwoman Diane Ellis-Marseglia said, “It’s more of a strategic plan. I think we’ll pull it out, like a report card, and see how we’re doing.”