Nominate Township Projects for Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence
Has your township found a creative way to improve your community? If so, consider nominating a project for the 2016 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence.
Townships may nominate projects in the following categories:
- Building community partnerships
- Responding to adversity
- Promoting community/economic revitalization
- Innovative community/governmental initiatives
- Fiscal accountability and best management practices
- Innovative planning and sound land use practices
- Intergovernmental cooperation
- Information technology
- NEW! Health and wellness initiatives
Each entry must include a narrative about the project that contains:
- The name of the nominated township and county, any other participating municipalities and their counties, and a contact person’s name, street address, phone number, and email address.
- The applicable category from the list above.
- A description of the project.
- An explanation of how the project resolved a problem, addressed a need, or improved the community. Provide quantifiable results, if available.
- A list of everyone who participated in the project and how they helped.
The deadline for nominations is December 1. Click here to learn more about the judging criteria for each category, view past award winners, and submit a nomination.
PSATS Urges Lawmakers to Preserve Natural Gas Impact Fee
As debate continues on Pennsylvania's overdue budget, PSATS is reminding legislators of the importance of preserving the natural gas impact fee generated through Act 13 of 2012.
"More than $800 million in community-benefiting impact fees have been distributed both inside and outside the Marcellus Shale region since 2012, and that funding has been a stunning success," PSATS wrote to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. "The arrival of the local impact fee signaled a new day in Pennsylvania, one where we turned away from a past where natural resource booms destroyed communities and no tools were provided for stability. We must ensure that this critical local funding stream is preserved. Redirecting these funds will give townships no choice but to reduce services or to shift the cost of these future impacts onto the shoulders of property taxpayers instead of the gas companies."
Across the state, PSATS added, natural gas drilling has benefited communities with new jobs, higher wages, and business growth. At the same time, however, these changes have led to the unexpected.
Formerly quiet townships have been transformed by the drilling industry. Small rural roads that once carried a few dozen cars a day became the site of traffic jams, the result of hundreds of heavy tanker trucks, and disintegrated under the weight of the loads. Out-of-state workers competed for rental properties and hotel rooms, escalating housing costs and displacing tourists. Emergency responders faced new challenges, too.
Under Act 13, however, the industry is now required to pay for these impacts.
"More than 60 percent of the collected funds go directly to communities most impacted by drilling," PSATS said, with those hosting the most wells receiving the largest checks. And today, municipalities are using the revenues for a range of eligible projects – from road and bridge infrastructure and public safety to environmental programs and planning for the future.
"Local officials are cautiously using these funds to make well-thought out investments in their communities. Local roads and bridges are being improved, often-ancient road and public safety equipment is being replaced; support for volunteer fire companies is being increased; local parks are seeing upgrades; sewer project costs are being offset; local police departments are being retained, expanded, or started. And some local officials are saving a portion of these funds for major projects in capital reserve funds, as well as for a day when the industry is gone but the impact remains."
At the same time, PSATS noted, the General Assembly ensured that the rest of the state benefited from the extraction of these natural resources when it allocated 40 percent of the impact fee to communities throughout the commonwealth. Every county in Pennsylvania has received funding to repair structurally deficient bridges, support the state’s conservation districts, and undertake environmental and recreational projects. In addition, every municipality is eligible for funding to clean up the environment, convert vehicle fleets to natural gas, and install water and sewer lines in areas that desperately need it.
"We strongly urge that revenue generated by Act 13 of 2012 not be reduced and the funds being distributed not be reallocated in the event of severance tax discussions. In addition, we need to ensure that as the industry grows and additional impacts are felt by our communities that their impact fee revenues will grow proportionally, as provided by Act 13. This impact fee is being invested directly in our communities, increasing the quality of life of our residents, easing property tax burdens, and directly benefiting the Commonwealth. Without this well-designed fee on the industry, taxpayers will be forced to pay for the clean-up long after the industry is gone."
PSATS looks forward to working with legislators toward an even better Pennsylvania.
Townships Invited to Free EPA Brownfield Grants Workshop 10/26 in Harrisburg
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 Brownfields team invites local governments and nonprofit organizations to its upcoming workshop Brownfields Proposal Guidelines Workshop (Helping Applicants Understand Grant Requirements).
The workshop is designed to help local government and nonprofit organizations better understand the proposal criteria and selection process for EPA’s Brownfields assessment, cleanup, and RLF (Revolving Loan Fund) grants. The workshop will address:
- the different EPA Brownfield grant types and candidates eligible to apply;
- the grant application process and the threshold and ranking criteria; and
- proposal tips and strategies.
Who Should Participate?
Local, county, and regional governments and nonprofit organizations considering applying for an EPA Brownfields assessment, cleanup, or RLF grant.
Workshop Date and Location
Monday, October 26, 2015; 1 p.m.
PADEP South-Central Regional Office
Susquehanna Room A
909 Elmerton Ave.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
How to Register
Registration is free! Please RSVP to email@example.com that you will be attending the Oct. 26 workshop in Harrisburg.
If you have any questions, please contact Felicia Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Municipal Officials: Attend Free LED Street Light Workshops in FirstEnergy Electric Utility Territories
For municipal officials in FirstEnergy Electric Utility Territories of Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power, and West Penn Power:
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection,, in cooperation with FirstEnergy utilities, GE Lighting, and PennDOT, is offering FREE workshops to help municipal officials understand how to maximize the benefits of LED street lighting technology and how to begin the transition to LED. The three-hour workshops will be held in each of the FirstEnergy utility territories starting in October: Erie, Pittsburgh area (Cranberry Township), State College, and Berks County (Hamburg). The workshops will include the following information:
- An overview of LED technology, including performance characteristics
- A review of the new LED rate schedules and how they compare to your current costs
- How to easily quantify the energy reduction and cost savings potential for your community
- How to determine the appropriate LED replacement fixtures
- How to order your new street lights, including specific steps you can take now to begin the transition to LED
- An overview of street lighting standards to ensure safety, performance, and energy savings
- Innovative street light monitoring and management systems
The workshop schedule is as follows:
October 20 - Erie - 9 a.m.-noon: Tom Ridge Environment Center, 301 Peninsula Drive, Erie, PA 16505
October 21 - Pittsburgh Area (Cranberry Township) - 9 a.m.-noon: Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, 5601 Freshcorn Road, Cranberry Township, PA 16066
October 30 - State College, 9 a.m.-noon: Celebration Hall, 2280 Commercial Blvd., State College, PA 1681
- November 9 - Hamburg, Berks County, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Cabela's Conference Center, 100 Cabela Drive, Hamburg, PA 19526
Workshop content will be provided by representatives from GE Lighting, PA DEP's Energy Office, PennDOT, and FirstEnergy. If you have any questions, please contact Geoff Bristow, DEP regional energy manager, at 814-332-6681 or email@example.com.
Townships: Learn How to Reduce Energy Costs with Free DEP Program
Townships that want to reduce their facilities’ energy costs by 5 to 20 percent can participate in a building retuning training program from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Building retuning, or BRT, is a systematic low-cost or no-cost approach to ensuring that buildings are operating at maximum efficiency. The training is offered at no charge to local governments and K-12 schools.
Eligible facilities are ideally commercial buildings under 100,000 square feet that do not have an automation system. Building operators, maintenance staff, mechanics, plant managers, and engineers will find the training beneficial.
The training program follows five steps:
- Initial data collection on energy use.
- Classroom training on the fundamentals of retuning.
- A building “walk-down” to identify savings opportunities and develop recommendations.
- Implementation of retuning measures.
- Documentation of the resulting energy savings.
In addition to HVAC and lighting, the major areas of focus include building envelope, domestic and process hot water, internal conditions, and meter profile. The training consists of four hours of classroom instruction and about 16 hours of hands-on “walk-downs” and class discussion.
Classes usually have 8 to 12 people from 4 to 6 local governments or schools. Staff from the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) provide the instruction. All participants are asked to attend the retunings of the others’ buildings.
For more information, call DEP’s Heidi Kunka at (717) 783-9989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.