Lt. Gov. Cawley Presents Awards for Local Government Excellence
On April 15, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley and the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services recognized municipalities and local government officials throughout the commonwealth for their dedication and commitment to strengthening their communities and better serving their residents.
“As former local government officials, Governor Corbett and I understand the immense responsibility you all have to provide solutions that make your community a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family,” Cawley said. “Today recognizes your dedication to public service and celebrates the leadership and innovation that has resulted in vibrant communities for the citizens you serve. Thank you for helping Gov. Corbett and I to build a stronger Pennsylvania.”
The recognitions were part of the 18th Annual Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence. In total, eight local government leaders and eight communities throughout the commonwealth received awards that were presented at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
The Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence are presented annually to communities and individuals by the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, an office within the Department of Community and Economic Development that works to assist Pennsylvania’s local governments.
A panel of judges from the Governor's Center reviewed applications submitted by municipal organizations and officials from across the state and selected the award recipients.
The following local government officials were recognized for outstanding service to their communities and local government associations:
- Michael Dennehy, Jr., Chairman of Board of Supervisors, Pine Township, Allegheny County; and Executive Committee Member, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors
- Ronald Evanko, Mayor, Blairsville Borough, Indiana County; Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs
- Robert Callen, Executive Director, Beaver County Regional Council of Governments; Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments
- Gary Jastrzab, Executive Director, Philadelphia City Planning Commission; Pennsylvania Chapter of American Planning Association
- David Barie, President, Reserve Township Board of Commissioners, Allegheny County; and President, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners
- Thomas Keiper, Executive Director, Mountaintop Area Joint Sanitary Authority; Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association
- Michael Nutter, Mayor, Philadelphia City; Pennsylvania Municipal League
- George Hartwick, III, County Commissioner, Dauphin County Commissioners; County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
The community awards cover eight categories: Building Community Partnerships, Fiscal Accountability& Best Management Practices, Information Technology, Promoting Community/Economic Revitalization, Intergovernmental Cooperation, Innovative Community/Governmental Initiatives, Responding to Adversity and Innovative Planning and Sounds Land Use Practices.
DEP Offers Free Brownfields Seminar May 14 in Pittsburgh
The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection invites municipal leaders, county and city planners, redevelopment authorities, community leaders, and economic and industrial development agencies to a seminar, What All Local Governments Need to Know about Brownfields, on Wednesday, May 14, in Pittsburgh.
The seminar is offered free of charge and will be from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at DEP Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Lunch will be provided.
The half-day seminar will focus on how to breathe life into abandoned and vacant properties. Participants will learn about successful brownfield redevelopment projects in their area, learn the basics of brownfields, find out where public funding is available and how to apply for it, and network with other municipal organizations.
Brownfields are properties that are in need of expansion, redevelopment, or reuse but because of actual or anticipated hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, that work is made more challenging. Pennsylvania’s approach to brownfields redevelopment has proven to be a national model for transforming abandoned, idle properties into places of environmental protection and economic opportunity.
This workshop is produced in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. It is funded by a brownfield grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Space is limited, so registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register in advance at this link.
For more information, contact Kim Hoover at 717-783-1566 or email@example.com.
PSATS and Local Government Groups Testify on Changes to Act 47 Law
On Wednesday, April 9, PSATS joined with other municipal associations to testify before the Pennsylvania Senate Local Government Committee on proposed amendments to the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47 of 1987).
PSATS Assistant Executive Director Elam M. Herr and representatives from the Pennsylvania Municipal League, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners, and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs provided joint testimony on Senate Bill 1157 and House Bill 1773.
The groups commented that the legislation attempts to change the outcome of fiscally challenged communities without wading into the tough causes of Act 47 distress. They highlighted the need to offer more support to and flexibility for municipalities before they enter Act 47 status and opposed the concept and process outlined in the legislation for disincorporation of municipalities.
PennDOT Accepting Applications for Transportation Improvement Projects
PennDOT is accepting applications for funding for transportation improvement projects under the Multimodal Transportation Fund created by Act 89 of 2013, the transportation funding package.
The agency will make available $20 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 to distribute to successful applicants. Eligible projects can cost between $100,000 and $3 million and require a 30 percent match from local sources.
Township Supervisors Tout Local Benefits of Transportation Funding Law
David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, said April 3 that townships and other local governments are already reaping the benefits of Act 89 of 2013, Pennsylvania’s new transportation funding law, less than five months after its passage.
And the timing of that law could not have been better. Sanko, who spoke alongside Gov. Tom Corbett, state Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch, and representatives of business and labor organizations during a news conference in Harrisburg, said townships took a huge financial hit with winter storms that started early and overstayed their welcome. (See photo below.)
The costs — for salt, antiskid, overtime, and equipment maintenance — piled up as fast as the snow,” Sanko said. “And now we’re dealing with the aftermath: potholes and other road deterioration from snow, ice, and a drawn-out freeze-thaw cycle.”
In March, townships saw an 8 percent increase in their liquid fuels payments — money they use for road repairs and road-related expenses — for the first time in years. Under Act 89, that revenue is slated to increase by about 60 percent over the next five years.
Act 89 also provides for various other types of funding that will help townships improve their roads, bridges, and more. They include:
- significant boost, from $3 million to $30 million, for dirt, gravel, and low-volume roads;
- an innovative bridge bundling program and funds for traffic signal upgrades; and
- an increase in the prevailing wage threshold for road projects, which stretches dollars further and allows more projects to be completed.
“Act 89 means a lot of things to a lot of people,” Sanko said. “At the local level, as at the state level, it means safer roads and bridges, more jobs, and a better quality of life.”
He highlighted examples in two diverse townships in Franklin County. Metal Township, population 1,866, plans to use the increased funding to replace a dangerous, single-lane creek crossing, made of concrete, with a much safer two-lane, aluminum span.
And in Washington Township, population 14,009, stalled plans for a bypass could be coming back to life. The project will give motorists a way around the often-congested State Route 16, saving them time, money, and frustration.
Similar projects, on a scale from small to large, will be possible statewide.
“Timed traffic signals will keep traffic flowing, meaning fewer minutes spent waiting at red lights and less gas wasted,” Sanko said. “With better funding, roads can be constructed, or improved, based on the best design, rather than the cheapest solution.”
Those and other transportation projects will help create local jobs, too.
“Job growth will start in construction and continue in related fields,” Sanko said. “Plus, a better infrastructure is going to draw more business and industry to communities all across the state.”
Ultimately, Sanko said, Act 89 will have more impact on local transportation infrastructure than any other measure in memory.
“Townships have spent a lot of time worrying about the future of our roads and bridges, struggling just to maintain the status quo and keep residents safe without major property tax increases,” Sanko said. “Now, thanks to Act 89, they have the ability to plan for the future — and I’m very glad to say it’s looking like it will be a bright one.”
* * *
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.
PSATS Executiver Director David Sanko speaks during the PennDOT news conference held April 4, 2014, to discuss the benefits of Act 89 of 2013, Pennsylvania's new transportation funding law. Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch and Gov. Tom Corbett are shown on the right.
Natural Gas Impact Fee Having a Positive Impact on Townships
On Friday, April 4, Gov. Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced the latest collection numbers for the commonwealth’s natural gas impact fee. In the latest round, collections are expected to increase from $195 million in 2013 to $224.5 million in 2014.
Revenues from the impact fee, made possible through Act 13 of 2012, are benefiting local governments throughout the commonwealth, particularly those in the Marcellus Shale region, which are investing in a variety of things — from purchasing playground equipment to hiring new police officers — to benefit residents.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors supports the local impact fee and welcomes the positive impact it’s having throughout the state.
In response to Gov. Corbett’s announcement, PSATS Executive Director David M. Sanko issued the following statement:
"Townships across Pennsylvania got great news on Friday when the commonwealth announced that it expects to collect $224.5 million in 2014 through the state’s natural gas impact fee.
“The funding is doing exactly what Gov. Corbett and lawmakers intended: It’s helping townships in every corner of the state, especially those in the Marcellus Shale region. Today, these communities are able to invest in services and projects that, until the impact fee came along, were financially out of their reach.
“Our members tell us they’re now able to buy new playground equipment, hire new police officers, help their volunteer fire companies stay afloat, and update their infrastructure with new storm pipes and repaved roads.
“The funding, coupled with the $2.3 billion in new transportation money, is providing unprecedented revenues to improve Pennsylvania and its municipalities. Ultimately, though, the biggest winners are Pennsylvanians.”
PSATS represents the 1,454 townships of the second class across Pennsylvania. Townships, in turn, represent 5.5 million Pennsylvanians, more than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth, and they cover 95 percent of the commonwealth’s land mass.
Local Govs Invited to Participate in Weather Exercise to Test Emergency Readiness
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all municipalities to take part in the 2014 Spring Hazardous Weather Emergency Preparedness Exercise May 12 and 13.
This exercise is designed to test the readiness of all participating counties, municipalities, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, and other community organizations.
This year’s event will coincide with the National Guard’s “Vigilant Guard” exercise, which will test the Guard’s ability to support a civilian response to major emergencies.
The focus will be on emergency operations center management, communications, emergency public information and warning, military support to civilian authorities, and critical resource logistics and distribution.
Townships should also contact their county emergency management coordinator to coordinate their participation in the exercise.
Local emergency management agencies can be found here or in the telephone book under the “Local Government” section.
For more information, contact your county emergency management agency or Aaron Rhone, PEMA, at (717) 651-2714, email firstname.lastname@example.org.