Articles of Agreement

(Last revised June 7, 2003)

I. PREAMBLE

We, the representatives of units of municipal governments in Bucks County hereby join together in a voluntary organization to be known as the Bucks County Consortium, for the purpose of meeting at regular intervals to discuss and study community challenges of mutual interest and concern, and to develop policy and action recommendations for ratification and implementation by member municipal governments.

As a voluntary organization of municipal governments, the members seek, by mutual agreement, solutions to mutual problems for mutual benefit. Our goal is to combine our total resources to meet regional challenges that may transcend individual capabilities, while retaining and strengthening our local autonomy in all other government matters.

II. PURPOSE

The Bucks County Consortium shall be a voluntary organization of municipal governments and authorities thereof in Bucks County whose purpose is to foster a cooperative effort in resolving problems, and developing policies and plans that are common and regional. The purpose of this organization is:

To serve as a mutual forum to identify, discuss, study, and bring into focus regional challenges and opportunities.
To foster, develop and review policies, plans, and priorities for regional growth, development and conservation.
To provide continuing organizational machinery to insure effective communication and coordination among governments and agencies.
To facilitate agreements and cooperative action proposals among other governments for specific projects or other interrelated developmental needs.
To serve as a vehicle for the collection and exchange of information of regional interest.
To maintain liaison with member governments, other governmental units and agencies, and to serve as regional spokesman for member municipal governments, when authorized thereby.
To furnish general and technical aid to member governments, to promote and accomplish Consortium approved agreements, policies and plans, when approved by the member governments participating.
To review and coordinate federal, state and local programs of regional importance, and to make recommendation thereon.

III. DEFINITIONS

Corporate Member or Member Municipality – Any of the municipalities and authorities thereof within Bucks County, subject to membership requirements herein.
Sponsoring Member – Any individual, firm, or organization that provides services to local governments.

Officers – The officers of the Consortium shall consist of:
a. President- The President shall preside at meetings of the Consortium; see that all rules and policies of the Consortium are understood and observed; appoint any ad hoc committees which from time to time might be necessary; and act as spokesperson and representative of members of the Consortium.

b. Vice President – The Vice President shall also be President-elect and shall succeed the President at the end of the President’s term. In addition, the Vice President shall preside in the absence of the President and carry out definite assignments of the President in conjunction with other officers and committee members, as applicable. The Vice President shall assist the President in the President’s duties and act as a member ex officio of any standing or ad hoc committees.

c. 2nd Vice President – The 2nd Vice President shall be Vice President-elect and shall succeed the Vice President at the end of the Vice President’s term. The duties of the 2nd Vice President will mirror those of the Vice President.

d. Coordinator – The Coordinator shall record and maintain the Minutes of all Consortium meetings; forward records and maintain the Minutes of all consortium meetings; forward any necessary notices and communications to the officers and committee people; and maintain the by-laws and Constitution with current amendments and revisions. In addition, the Coordinator will be responsible for substantive tasks as assigned by the President.

e. Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be responsible for Consortium finances; co-sign checks, dispense Consortium funds, as approved by the President and general membership; work with officers and any committees; and assist in the preparation of annual financial statements.
Consortium Service Program – A Consortium Service Program shall be any service
provided jointly by two or more members and established by a joint municipal agreement. Only those members entering into such an agreement shall be obligated to contribute to it financially and only such members shall participate and benefit from such a program.

Feasibility Study – A Feasibility Study shall be any study, including but not limited to short duration studies of ways and means to solve problems or problems common to two or more communities, duly undertaken by the general membership and requiring the expenditure of funds. Only those members entering into such a study shall be obligated to contribute to it, financially, and only such members shall participate and benefit from such a program.
The President, Vice President and 2nd Vice President positions shall be limited to Managers, Executives, or Executive level Administrators.
The Coordinator position shall be limited to Assistant Managers or the equivalent.

IV. MEMBERSHIP

The initial members of the Bucks County Consortium are as set forth within this document bearing signatures attached hereto. Additional members may be admitted to the Consortium in accordance with the provisions of this Article IV.
There shall be two categories of membership in the Consortium known as Corporate Membership and Sponsoring Membership.

Membership Rights – Both categories of members shall be eligible to receive a membership directory, all meeting materials, and to participate in Consortium- sponsored training activities and programs. Corporate members shall have the additional right to participate in discussions and debate on Consortium business, serve on committees, hold elected or appointed positions, and vote on matters before the Consortium or any of its committees.

Admission – To become members of the Consortium following its formation by the Charter Members applicants shall:

a. Submit an application on a form provided by the Consortium and pay the application fee, if any, which shall be set and reviewed from time to time by the Consortium representatives by way of motion approved at a regular meeting, duly recorded by the Secretary.

b. The applicant must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting members to be admitted to the Consortium.

c. The applicant municipality’s governing body must formally adopt by resolution or ordinance, the Articles of Agreement and the Cooperative Purchasing Agreement of the Consortium, and forward a certified copy of said formal adoption to the Secretary of the Consortium prior to being seated in the Consortium.

Representation – Each member municipality/organization shall be entitled to one representative in the Consortium. For municipalities, that member may be the Manager or another designated representative. The corporate member municipality must formally submit to the Secretary of the Consortium, in writing, its designated representative’s name, prior to that person being able to vote on behalf of the member. Each member municipality shall also be eligible to designate one alternate representative to the Consortium.

Withdrawal – A corporate member may withdraw from the Consortium membership when its local government legislative body signifies its intention to withdraw by either ordinance or resolution. The resolution or ordinance shall be forwarded in writing to the Secretary of the Consortium. A thirty (30) day notice of such adoption shall be required. Withdrawal by a municipality from the Bucks County Consortium shall in no way serve to void or lessen any legal or financial obligations incurred by the member municipality while a member or members of the Bucks County Consortium.

Participation –
a. Any corporate member municipality is eligible to participate in any feasibility study provided the governing body of such municipality approves its participation, in writing; a copy thereof to be filed with the Secretary of the Consortium.

b. Any corporate member municipality is eligible to participate in any Service Program provided that the governing body of the municipality approves its participation by ordinance or resolution adopting the Joint Municipal Agreement establishing said program; a copy thereof to be filed with the Secretary of the Consortium.

c. When a corporate member municipality elects to participate in an on-going feasibility study or service program, it thereby obligates its full share of pro-rates costs, as determined by the participating Consortium members.

d. A penalty will be charged to any participating municipality when it withdraws from a feasibility study or service program. The penalty shall consist of the withdrawing municipality’s pro-rated share of the cost of the feasibility study or share of the service program costs, already incurred, plus 10%.

Dues – The annual dues shall be $125.00 per year for corporate members and $175 per year for sponsoring members until changed by majority vote of the Consortium representatives. The dues shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Consortium by dates designated by the general membership. No member shall be responsible to pay additional sums to the Consortium without that member’s consent.

Fees – Each feasibility study and service program, when established and undertaken, will have fee structure for participation established and the fees will be pro-rated to the participants. Any projects undertaken by the Consortium will have a cost schedule established prior to the commencement of the project and the participants will determine the costs to be paid by each participant.

V. GENERAL MEMBERSHIP

General Policy Body – The general membership shall consist of all corporate members and shall be the policy body of the Consortium.

Voting – Each Corporate member shall have one vote in the general membership.

Quorum – A quorum of the general membership shall consist of a simple majority of the total voting membership.

Meetings – The general membership shall meet monthly when practical, but at least (8) times per year. Other meetings shall be held in accord with the determination of the general membership or upon call of the President, or by petition of any three (3) voting members of the general membership.

Responsibilities – The responsibilities of the general membership are:
a. To adopt the Consortium’s budget and membership dues schedules.

b. To approve the Consortium’s budget.

c. To adopt and amend by-laws.

d. To initiate, advise and aid in the establishment of cooperative arrangements, including inter-local agreements, among local governments in the region.

e. To resolve membership questions.

f. To make recommendations to any local governments or to other appropriate agencies or entities.

g. To annually elect a President, Vice President (who shall also be the President-elect for the next year), the Treasurer/Secretary, and other officers as required.

VI. COMMITTEES

The President may appoint committees, as needed, when appropriate for Consortium action.

a. To propose an annual budget and each participating member’s share thereof to the general membership.

b. To nominate a slate of officers to the general membership for approval and election.

c. To propose and recommend feasibility studies.

d. To propose and recommend service programs.

e. To render advice and technical assistance on the request of member governments in regard to local governmental problems having regional impact.

f. To seek and recommend acceptance of contributions and grants-in-aid on approval of corporate member municipalities that agree to participate in programs related thereto.

g. To recommend to the Bucks County Consortium the general operating procedures necessary for the orderly conduct of the affairs of the Consortium.

h. To recommend to the Bucks County Consortium member communities, non-consortium, agencies, individuals and others requesting said information.

VII. FINANCES

All funds, including membership dues, which accrue to the Consortium, for use in furthering the aim and purposes of this voluntary organization, shall be controlled, disbursed, and accounted for in a manner prescribed by the general consortium membership only.
All dues and fees paid to the Consortium shall be placed in an interest-bearing account. The President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Consortium shall be empowered to sign checks and vouchers to satisfy incurred debt, upon approval of the general membership. A minimum of two (2) signatures shall be required on all checks.

VIII. TERM

Length of this agreement shall be perpetual, subject to the conditions stated under Section IV, Item 5, sub-title Withdrawal.

IX. AMENDMENTS

Amendments to these Articles of Agreement may be recommended from time to time by a majority vote of the General Membership. However, any amendments shall not be effectual until approved by a two-thirds majority of the Bucks County Consortium Members.

The parties hereto have caused this agreement to be signed in the names of the aforesaid communities by the appropriately designated public official, duly attested to by the respective clerks or secretaries, with the corporate seals of the said communities.

Adopted by the membership this 3rd day of May 2003.