Set Up Winter Road Service Agreements with PennDOT By July 31
Townships that want to renew or establish winter road service agreements with the state Department of Transportation should notify their PennDOT district maintenance office now. For agreement renewals, the cutoff date for a municipality to legally withdraw in writing is July 31.
Under these agreements, which can have terms of up to five years, PennDOT pays municipalities an upfront annual lump sum to remove snow and ice from state roads from October 15 to April 30. PennDOT pays a winter severity adjustment at the end of the season, depending on how the winter compares to PennDOT’s five-year average historic cost.
PennDOT must approve all contracts before townships begin this winter maintenance.
To determine if PennDOT’s reimbursement rate will cover expenses, townships should look at the costs of purchasing salt, anti-skid materials, and other supplies and providing equipment maintenance, labor, and overhead.
Townships should also consider the legal ramifications of entering into such an agreement and review these contracts with their solicitor.
Twelve percent of state roads are maintained through service agreements with townships and other municipalities.
For more information, including other agreement mechanisms and options, call your PennDOT district maintenance office.
Funding for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles Available
Townships that want to purchase or convert vehicles to natural gas or other alternative fuels may apply for funding through DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program. The deadline for applications is August 26.
Grants are available for the conversion or purchase of natural gas vehicles, as well as the conversion or purchase of electric, propane, or other alternative-fuel vehicles of any size.
This year, there is no gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) limit and no minimum number of vehicles required to apply for a vehicle purchase or retrofit reimbursement.
Grants are also available to fund the purchase and installation of refueling infrastructure for alternative-fuel fleet vehicles. This category includes two options:
• Fleet refueling projects must service an existing fleet of at least 10 alternative-fuel vehicles weighing up to 26,000 pounds GVWR, and
• Home-based refueling projects must be located at the base of operations for one or more alternative-fuel vehicles weighing up to 10,000 pounds GVWR.
For more information and application guidelines, go to http://bit.ly/1tymqMl.
Grants Help Townships Increase Tree Cover
Townships that want to increase the tree cover in their community can apply for grants from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) TreeVitalize Program.
TreeVitalize planting grants are available for projects with a strong volunteer base. Applicants must have the assistance of their local DCNR service forester and/or Penn State Extension forester in developing a planting plan. The forester’s signature is also required on the application.
Interested townships should begin by contacting their local DCNR or Extension forester, who can provide necessary guidance about grant opportunities, as well as native species and sustainable projects.
Applications must be submitted by email or postal mail by September 15.
For more information and a grant application, go to www.treevitalize.net and choose “TreeVitalize Applications” in the column on the left. The applications page also contains a link to DCNR and Penn State Extension forester contacts.
Townships may also contact Jessica Cavey, development and grants coordinator, at (717) 599-8650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
$187 Million in Natural Gas Impact Fees to Be Distributed to Municipalities
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has announced that it collected $187,711,700 in natural gas impact fees for calendar year 2015, which will be distributed by July 1, 2016.
This is about $35.8 million lower than last year, primarily due to the reduced price of natural gas, which resulted in a $5,000 per well fee reduction. The increasing age of many wells also reduces the per-well fee.
The PUC expects checks to be mailed before July 1, 2016. Click here to find out how much your township will receive and choose “2015” for the reporting year.
Click here to read the PUC press release.
PennDOT Unveils New Transportation Funding Brochure
A new publication from PennDOT, in coordination with the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), provides information on available transportation funding for municipal and county-owned roads and bridges, as well as other community improvement initiatives. The brochure includes information on district Municipal Services units, liquid fuels and other state allocations, federal funding, grant and reimbursement programs, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank and other loan programs.
The brochure also provides up-to-date contact information for PennDOT Municipal Services representatives and financial consultants, and identifies regional representatives for the state's 24 metropolitan and rural planning organizations. These organizations provide a forum where local decision makers identify opportunities and make informed choices about the programming and implementation of transportation projects and services.
To view and download the funding brochure, go to http://tinyurl.com/zuz4a9a.
Brighten Up Your Township With a Fresh Paint Days Grant
Townships that want to spruce up their community may apply for the 2016 Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania grants from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
The month-long program, which kicks off in September, provides eight awardees and their volunteers with up to 20 gallons of exterior paint and a gift card for painting supplies to renew a structure in need. The event is held in partnership with Glidden Professional and The Home Depot.
Townships and any other tax-exempt groups in Pennsylvania are eligible, and only one building per application is allowed. Applicants must also provide proof of liability insurance, signed permission to paint from the building owner, and two before photos of the intended project. Selected awardees must also agree to provide a final report with during and after photos of the project.
The application deadline is July 31, and grants will be awarded in mid-August.
For more information or to download the application, go to www.keeppabeautiful.org and click on the “Grants and Awards” section. Additional information is also available by contacting Michelle Dunn, Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania program coordinator, toll-free at (877) 772-3673, ext. 113, or email@example.com.
Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed more than 113 million pounds of litter from the commonwealth’s roads, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways.
Attention MS4s: DEP Summer Workshops Will Help Navigate Revised General Permit
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold full-day training workshops at six locations across the state this summer to help new and existing municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) with changes to the MS4 NPDES General Permit, also referred to as a PAG-13.
A reissued PAG-13 General Permit is expected to become effective in March 2018, and notices of intent (NOIs) are due from most MS4s in September 2017. MS4s will need to begin preparing applications soon to meet this deadline.
The workshops also apply to MS4s that will need to submit applications for individual MS4 NPDES permits.
The workshops are scheduled as follows:
• June 14-15 Uniontown
• June 21-22 Scranton
• June 28-29 Wyomissing
• July 19-20 Lewisburg
• July TBA York Area
• July TBA Cranberry Township Area
A separate announcement will be forthcoming about additional workshops to help new and existing MS4 permittees prepare stormwater pollution reduction plans, which must be completed and submitted with the NOI or permit application.
The official registration form and payment must be received by DEP via mail 30 days before each workshop begins. Seating is limited to 50 participants for each workshop, and there is a $50 registration fee, which includes lunch. To download a registration form, go to http://bit.ly/1WuzA96.
Commonwealth Financing Authority Accepting Applications for Business in Our Sites Program
The Commonwealth Financing Agency will be accepting applications for the Business in Our Sites Program until May 31, 2016.
The program provides loans to municipalities to acquire and develop key sites for future use by businesses, private developers, and others.
For more information, click here.
Empowers communities to attract growing and expanding businesses by helping them build an inventory of ready sites.
All development activities are required to make a site shovel-ready. For speculative projects only.
No maximum or minimum, except that the maximum amount of the funding for projects in a single city, borough, town, or township may not exceed 15 percent of the funds available for the program.
No repayment of the loan is required until the property is sold or leased or five years from the date of closing. The site must be previously used property or undeveloped property that is planned and zoned for development. Counties/municipalities must be notified. Substantial likelihood of site use following development, not for primary residential or recreational purposes. The interest rate for the loan will be set by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Purpose of Funding:
• Site Development and Business
• Land & Building
• Municipal authorities
• Redevelopment authorities
• Industrial development agencies
• Private developers