News Archive

Deputy Tax Collector Requirement

Tuesday November 25th, 2014

Act 164 of 2014 (HB 1590) requires a criminal history check for anyone running for the office of tax collector. It makes the basic tax collector education program mandatory, requires tax collector-elects to be certified by the state Department of Community and Economic Development as qualified tax collectors before taking the oath of office, and requires continuing education for tax collectors. It also requires the appointment of a deputy tax collector to act on behalf of the elected tax collector if he or she is incapacitated, which took effect October 22, 2014; the remainder of the bill will take effect October 22, 2015.

The new act can be found here. Choose PN 4150;  Go to page 13, Section 22(b) for the deputy tax collector language (or do a CTRL+F). The underlined text is the new language.



Pa. Supreme Court Upholds Governmental Damages Cap, Urges Legislative Action

Thursday November 20th, 2014

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld the $500,000 damages cap in the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act in a case in which a student's leg was amputated following a bus accident on school district property.

A Bucks County jury originally awarded the plaintiff more than $14 million in damages, although the common pleas court judge who presided over the case reduced that to $500,000 in accordance with the damages cap.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the cap on tort liability of political subdivisions is unconstitutional because it violates equal protection principles.

The school district and its supporting parties, including the PSATS Township Legal Defense Partnership, argued that the damages cap represents a reasonable decision by the General Assembly to limit the potential financial liability of political subdivisions and, by extension, the taxpayers.

In an opinion by Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille issued on November 19, the justices unanimously upheld the state’s cap in Zauflik v. Pennsbury School District.

Castille noted that the facts of the case "are tragic" but said the General Assembly is in a better position than the court to address such a complicated public policy question.

Justice Max Baer also urged legislative action to increase the damages cap.

PSATS Submits Concerns to EPA on Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Monday November 17th, 2014

PSATS recently submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing major concerns about proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that would create an unfunded mandate and drastically impact township budgets.

Township officials are asked to follow the Association’s lead and comment on the proposal by November 14, 2014. To date, there have been more than 400,000 comments filed with the EPA.

If adopted, the EPA rule would tighten federal control over the nation’s waters and land, including private property. It would do this by expanding the definition of “waters of the U.S.” to include not only “navigable waters” that flow between states, typically rivers, but also streams, wetlands, ponds, and even temporary bodies of water created by heavy rains and flooding, such as ditches.

PSATS believes that if the rule is adopted, townships may be forced to ask for federal approval before cleaning drainage ditches or even spraying pesticides in standing water.

Click here to view the comments submitted by PSATS.

FEMA Firefighter Grant Applications Due Dec. 5

Monday November 17th, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is accepting applications for Assistance to Firefighters Grants. Eligible applicants include fire departments and emergency medical services organizations.

Three types of grants are available:

  • operations and safety (includes items such as training, equipment, and personal protective gear);
  • vehicle acquisition; and
  • joint/regional projects.

AFG recipients must provide matching cash cost shares. Communities with populations of less than 20,000 are subject to a 5-percent match and those with populations between 20,000 and 1 million are subject to a 10-percent match. Applications are due December 5.

Note: All eligible applicants must be registered and active in the System for Award Management (SAM) before they can submit an application. FEMA may not make an award to an entity until the entity has complied with the requirements to provide a valid DUNS number and maintain an active SAM registration with current information.

Click here for more information or call toll-free, (866) 274-0960.

PSATS Special Report: Post Election Recap

Thursday November 6th, 2014

On Nov. 4, Democrat Tom Wolf was elected Pennsylvania’s 47th governor, defeating Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley with 55 percent to 45 percent of the vote. The new lieutenant governor is Democratic Sen. Mike Stack from the 5th Senatorial District in Philadelphia. Wolf’s election breaks the traditional cycle of the governor’s office changing parties every eight years.

The Republicans will control the General Assembly in the 2015-16 legislative session, scoring an even larger gain in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Members of both chambers are expected to reconvene the week of Nov. 10 to select their leaders for the new session. In races for the state’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans control with a 13-5 majority.

PSATS congratulates all election winners and urges township officials to contact their newly elected and incumbent legislators to offer congratulations and assistance on any issues affecting local government. We also congratulate the five township supervisors newly elected to the state House:

  • 5th House District: Barry Jozwiak (R) — Supervisor, Bern Township, Berks County
  • 41st House District: Brett Miller (R) — Supervisor, East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County
  • 99th House District: David Zimmerman (R) — Supervisor, East Earl Township, Lancaster County
  • 145th House District: Craig Staats (R) — Supervisor, Richland Township, Bucks County
  • 176th House District: Jack Rader (R) — Supervisor, Jackson Township, Monroe County

General Assembly

In the General Assembly, all 203 seats in the House of Representatives and one-half of the 50 seats in the Senate were up for election. Five senators and 13 House members did not seek re-election. Six House members ran for Senate seats. Nine incumbents in the Senate and 82 members of the House ran unopposed.

Senate results

In the state Senate, the 25 even-numbered district seats were up for election. Nine incumbents ran unopposed, and 16 seats were contested. The Republicans gained three seats and will continue to hold the majority in the chamber with a 30-20 lead.

A breakdown of election results shows that 11 Republican incumbents will return to the Senate in January:

  • Tommy Tomlinson (R-6),
  • Chuck McIlhinney (R-10),
  • Stewart Greenleaf (R-12),
  • Patrick Browne (R-16),
  • Lisa Baker (R-20),
  • Bob Mensch (R-24),
  • John Eichelberger (R-30),
  • Jake Corman (R-34),
  • Randy Vulakovich (R-38),
  • John Rafferty (R-44), and
  • Mike Folmer (R-48).

Six Democratic incumbents were re-elected to the Senate:

  • Christine Tartaglione (D-2),
  • Anthony Williams (D-8),
  • John Yudichak (D-14),
  • Lisa Boscola (D-18),
  • John Blake (D-22), and
  • Wayne Fontana (D- 42). 

One incumbent, Timothy Solobay (D-46), lost his bid for re-election.

There will be seven new members of the Senate. Of that total, three will be House members who won a seat in the state Senate. They are:

  • Rep. Ryan Aument (R-36),
  • Rep. Mario Scavello (R-40), and
  • Rep. Michele Brooks (R-50).

Rep. Deberah Kula (D-32) did not win her bid for a Senate seat.

The four other new members of the Senate will be:

  • Arthur Haywood (D-4),
  • Thomas McGarrigle (R-26),
  • Patrick Stefano (R-32), and
  • Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

House results

Control of the House of Representatives will remain with the Republicans, who picked up eight seats and will now have a 119-84 margin.

Four incumbents were defeated:

  • Jesse White (D-46),
  • Rick Mirabito (D-83),
  • Mark Painter (D-146), and
  • Mike Fleck (D-81), who ran as a Democrat after losing the Republican primary last spring.

There will be 25 new members of the House next year, and five are CURRENT TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS AND PSATS MEMBERS!

  • 5th House District: Barry Jozwiak (R) — Supervisor, Bern Township, Berks County
  • 8th House District: Tedd Nesbit (R)
  • 17th House District: Parke Wentling (R)
  • 22nd House District: Peter Schweyer   (D)
  • 41st House District: Brett Miller (R) — Supervisor, East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County
  • 46th House District: Jason Orititay (R)
  • 52nd House District: Ryan Warner (R)
  • 66th House District: Chris Dush (R)
  • 74th House District: Harry Lewis (R)
  • 80th House District: Judith Ward (R)
  • 81st House District: Rich Irvin (R)
  • 83rd House District: Jeff Wheeland (R)
  • 90th House District: Paul Schemel (R)
  • 93rd House District: Kristin Phillips-Hill (R)
  • 99th House District: David Zimmerman (R) — Supervisor, East Earl Township, Lancaster County
  • 102nd House District: Russell Diamond (R)
  • 115th House District: David Parker (R)
  • 120th House District: Aaron Kaufer  (R)
  • 145th House District: Craig Staats (R) — Supervisor, Richland Township, Bucks County         
  • 146th House District: Thomas Quigley (R)
  • 163rd House District: James Santora (R)
  • 169th House District: Kate Anne Klunk (R)
  • 173rd House District: Michael Driscoll (D)
  • 176th House District: Jack Rader (R) — Supervisor, Jackson Township, Monroe County
  • 179th House District: Jason Dawkins (D)

U.S. Congressional races in PA

In races for Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans will have a 13-5 majority. No Senate races were held in the state this year.

Two incumbent members of the delegation are retiring: Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6) and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13).

Three incumbent members of the Pennsylvania delegation ran unopposed: Reps. Charles Dent (D-13), Michael Doyle (R-14) and Tim Murphy (R-18).

Four Democratic incumbents won: Robert Brady (D-1), Chaka Fattah (D-2), Mike Doyle (D-14), and Matthew Cartwright (D-17).

Twelve Republican incumbents won: Mike Kelly (R-3), Scott Perry (R-4), Glenn Thompson (R-5), Patrick Meehan (R-7), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-8), Bill Shuster (R-9), Thomas Marino (R-10), Lou Barletta (R-11), Keith Rothfus (R-12), Charles Dent (D-13), Joseph Pitts (R-16), and Tim Murphy (R-18).

Two newly elected members of the PA delegation are Ryan Costello (R-6), replacing Rep. Gerlach, and Brendan Boyle (D-13), replacing Rep. Schwartz. 

Consumer Price Index Rises 1.7% from Sept. '13 to Sept. '14

Thursday October 23rd, 2014

PSATS often receives questions about the annual cost-of-living increase. This figure is based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, which rose  1.7 percent nationwide between September 2013 and September 2014.

The total change over the previous 12 months is used by many to determine pay increases for the following year.

Click here for more about the CPI, which is adjusted each month.





Nominate Projects for Local Government Excellence Awards by Nov. 28

Wednesday October 8th, 2014

Has your township found a creative way to improve the community? If so, consider nominating a project for the 2015 Gover­nor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence by Friday, November 28.

Presented each April during Local Government Week, the awards recognize townships and officials 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

Townships must submit a narrative about the project that includes:

  • 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 category from the list above that the project falls into.
  • A description of the project.
  • An explanation of how the project  resolved a problem, addressed a need, or improved the community-at-large. Provide quantifiable results, if available.
  • A list of everyone who participated in the project and how they helped.

Submit nominations here. The awards will be presented in Harrisburg during Local Government Week in April.