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Legislative roundup

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick announces local fire department grant; bills by Santarsiero and Warren to address rising flood insurance premiums move forward

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

Federal grant for fire department

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st dist.) announced that the Warminster Fire Department received a FY 2022 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel from fire and other related hazards.

The Warminster Fire Department received a total of $259,182.72 that will be used for operation and safety through the AFG program. The purpose of the program is to award grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations, and State Fire Training Academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public as well as that of first-responder personnel. Using a competitive process that is informed by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to eligible applicants whose applications best address the priorities of the AFG program. Since FY 2001, the program has awarded about $8.1 billion in grants to provide critically needed resources. The total amount appropriated for the FY 2022 AFG program initiative is $324 million.

“For the last 85 years, the volunteer firefighters at the Warminster Fire Department have proudly served our community. When people see fire, they instinctually run away while these brave firefighters are trained to run into them,” Fitzpatrick said. “This grant will go a long way to assist our local heroes so when they run into burning buildings, they have the tools to make a safe escape.”
Warminster Fire Department has about 60 active volunteer firefighters who respond to more than 700 fire-safety emergencies each year. The department maintains and operates 11 vehicles (three Engines, one Ladder, one Heavy Rescue, two utility trucks, and four command vehicles) from three fire stations in the township. On average, the WFD spends about 5,000 man-hours a year (all volunteer) providing on-scene fire protection services. Between alarms, members contribute an additional 10,000 volunteer hours each year participating in training, education and community service activities. ••

Presentations on estate planning

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Linda Bobrin will be giving presentations at senior centers across Bucks County, addressing the importance of estate planning.

Half-hour-long presentations will be held on the following dates: July 13 at 12:30 p.m., at Central Bucks Senior Center; July 19 at 11 a.m., at Morrisville Senior Center; July 26 at 10:30 a.m., at Bristol Borough Area Active Adult Center; Aug. 1 at 1 p.m., at Eastern Upper Bucks Senior Center; Sept. 11 at 11 a.m., at Upper Bucks Senior Center; Sept. 19 at 10 a.m., at Bensalem Senior Citizens Association; and Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m., at Northampton Township James E. Kinney Center.

For more information, email Rachel Landsberg at ralandsberg@buckscounty.org. ••

Addressing flood insurance premiums

Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10th dist.) and Rep. Perry Warren (D-31st dist.) announced that Senate Bill 442 and House Bill 735, each of which would establish a task force to address rising flood insurance premiums, were voted unanimously out of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

“Eight years ago, I introduced what was then HB 1299 and today is SB 442, to help Pennsylvanians find relief from rising flood insurance premiums,” Santarsiero said. “Then, as now, residents in neighborhoods along the Delaware River were facing skyrocketing flood insurance costs that threatened their ability to protect their homes and made it almost impossible for them to sell.”

Reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program that Congress passed in 2012, called the Biggert-Waters Act, phased out the federal subsidy for flood insurance costs and directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise its flood plain maps. Those new maps included many more homes in the flood zones requiring flood insurance.

In late 2014 and early 2015, Santarsiero held townhalls and neighborhood meetings as well as discussions with local stakeholders and elected officials. From those meetings it became clear the best option at the state level was a task force to review the problem and identify state solutions.

SB 442 would establish the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force to explore ways to lower flood insurance premiums and incentivize communities to invest in flood-prevention measures. The task force would consist of one appointee each from the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of Banking and Securities, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader.

The task force would have the power to review and analyze existing law, procedures, practices, processes and rules related to the administration of flood insurance. In addition, the task force would hold public hearings and accept written comments from the public.

The task force would have six months to issue a final report to include recommendations.

Members on both sides of the aisle echoed support for the bill noting that their constituents are also experiencing increasing premiums, devastating flooding and the difficult financial decision of whether to buy insurance they may not be able to afford or risk financial ruin from a significant flooding event.

Warren, who succeeded Santarsiero in the House, has continued his predecessor’s work on this issue, authoring House Bill 735, which passed the House in May and was also voted favorably out of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

“Our respective districts have among the most waterfront property in Pennsylvania,” Warren said. “We need to create a more equitable way to tabulate flood insurance premiums, and our current system is becoming unsustainable for our neighbors who live on or near the flood plain. These bills will help create solutions.”

Either or both bills need to be passed by the Senate and sent to the House for passage before being presented to the governor for his signature. ••

Farry office hours in Bensalem

State ​​Sen. Frank Farry (R-6th dist.) is offering satellite office hours the first Wednesday of every month, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bensalem Township Municipal Building, 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Farry’s staff will be on site to assist with state government services; Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications, birth and death certificate applications, SEPTA Senior Key card registrations and renewals; and unemployment issues. ••

Lower South supervisor meeting schedule

The Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m., at the Township Building, 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville.

Future meetings, all at the same times and location, are scheduled for Aug. 9, Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 11 and 25, Nov. 8 and 20 and Dec. 13 and 20. ••

Bensalem Council meeting schedule

Bensalem Township Council meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building at 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Meetings can be viewed live on Comcast Xfinity Channel 22 in Bensalem and on Verizon Fios Channel 34 throughout Bucks County. They can also be streamed live on the Bensalem Township YouTube channel.

The schedule is July 10 and 24, Aug. 14 and 28, Sept. 11, Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and 27 and Dec. 4 (budget meeting) and 11. ••

Bensalem school board meeting schedule

The Bensalem Township Board of School Directors holds meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy D. Call Administrative Center, 3000 Donallen Drive, Bensalem.

Upcoming meetings will take place on Aug. 22, Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 (third Tuesday).

The public is invited to attend.

Due to summer vacation, the board will not meet during July.

The School Board annual reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. ••

Commissioners meeting July 5

The Bucks County Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, July 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., in Doylestown.

The meeting will be broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel.

Future meetings will be on July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16, Sept. 6, Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. ••

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