BUCKS COUNTY

Triple-A bond rating,

preserved farms,

and rail trail touted

DOYLESTOWN Giving their annual State of the County speech last week, the county's commissioners touched upon the county's triple-A bond ratings, growing number of preserved farms, and the building of a countywide walking trail.

Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery noted that, for the first time, Bucks has triple-A bond ratings from both Moody's Investor Services and Standard and Poor's. And despite economic challenges, the county has avoided tax increases for eight of the last nine years and even shrunk 2015's operating budget by 1.5 percent from last year, he said.

Regarding open space, Commissioner Charles Martin said the county's Agricultural Land Preservation Program has so far preserved 177 farms totaling almost 15,000 acres. Complementing the county's open-space efforts will be the Upper Bucks Rail Trail, a crushed-stone path that will span 3.6 miles when it is finished.

Upon the trail's completion, Martin predicted that Commissioner Diane Marseglia will bike the path, Loughery will run it, and Martin, who has been a commissioner for 20 years, will walk its length.

- Ben Finley