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News Archive


PSATS Makes Announcement on Annual Conference

Friday March 27th, 2020

In the last several weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, PSATS has been very busy helping its member townships adjust to this new normal and stay on top of all the developments that affect their delivery of services to their constituents. With much of that planning and communication now under way, we are able to turn our attention to the 2020 PSATS Annual Conference and Exhibit Show.

 

After much deliberation by the PSATS Executive Board, in consultation with staff, we have decided to postpone the 2020 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show to a later date this year. As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision, but the health and safety of everyone involved must take priority, and we believe it to be the best course of action.

 

Please take a moment to view this video for more information about our plans for rescheduling the conference this year.

 

Watch your inbox and the PSATS Conference page at conference.psats.org for updates as we finalize new dates and other details.

 

We ask for your patience during these extraordinary times and as we work to bring you the conference you expect. Thank you!

 

 



Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Program

Friday March 20th, 2020

The PA Department of Environmental Protection is offering rebates of up to $4,500 per charging plug for Pennsylvania organizations to install level 2 electric vehicle chargers. Eligible projects include installation of chargers in public spaces, multi-unit residential buildings, and at workplaces for employee or fleet charging.Eligible organizations include businesses, non-profits, schools, universities, units of government, planning organizations, and parking authorities. For more information please visit the Driving PA Forward page or contact RA-EPVWMITIGATION@pa.gov.



AG Shapiro Creates Consumer Tool to Combat Coronavirus Price Gouging

Tuesday March 17th, 2020

On March 6, 2020, Attorney General Shapiro alerted Pennsylvania consumers and businesses about price gouging protections under Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, the Office of Attorney General has created a specialized resource (pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov) for consumers to email and report malfeasance.


“As Pennsylvania continues to manage the spread of the coronavirus, merchants should be put on notice: you cannot use a public health emergency as a business opportunity,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “For consumers, just know: if you see the price of basic goods skyrocket ― reach out to my Office. Let us know. Our agency is here to protect you from being taken advantage of.”

Governor Wolf’s declaration triggered protections under state law against price gouging for consumers and businesses. Under rules governing a disaster emergency, companies and vendors are prohibited from charging a price for consumer goods or services that exceeds 20 percent of the average price to which those goods or services were sold for in the 7 days preceding the date of declaration.

The Office of Attorney General’s new tool is available to everyone in the Commonwealth, effective immediately. Any instance of price gouging should be reported to pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov.




COSTARS Addresses Salt Contract Concerns, Extends Deadline to April 15

Thursday March 12th, 2020

Participating townships should have received a memo from the Department of General Services announcing that it is addressing township concerns with the 2019-2020 salt contract. If you did not, please let us know. You may click here for a copy of the memo. One vendor has agreed to waive the minimum purchasing requirements while other vendors have agreed to reasonable storage fees (after July 31, 2020) for any remaining required tonnage that must be purchased on the current contract.

In light of this information, and the governor’s emergency proclamation, the 2020-2021 salt contract deadline is being extended until April 15, 2020.

PSATS is pleased that these actions are being taken as a result of our intervention with DGS and the Governor’s office.



Coronavirus and What Township Officials Need to Know

Friday March 6th, 2020

Stories and information about coronavirus have dominated the news, social media, and likely conversations around the township office for weeks. Township officials can play a role as local leaders to help ensure that residents receive accurate information and practice healthy habits at meetings, community events and facilities, and at the municipal building.

First, the facts. As of today, March 6, 2020, there are two (2) presumptive positive cases in Pennsylvania for the latest coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), based on what is currently known, COVID-19 is spread from person to person, similar to the common cold or influenza.

The CDC website states that for the general American public — such as workers in non-healthcare settings and where it is unlikely that work tasks create an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 — the immediate health risk is considered low. The severity of illness or how many people in the commonwealth or the U.S. will fall ill from COVID-19 is unknown at this time.

The CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health both emphasize that the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to practice these good health habits:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.

Townships should also practice this in their facilities and at meetings/community events. The CDC also recommends:

  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including electronics and equipment.
  • Ensure bathrooms are supplied adequately with soap, water, and drying materials so visitors and staff can wash their hands.
  • Provide an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for use.

The CDC also has resources for emergency medical services workers responding to requests for assistance, and providing treatment and transport for ill persons, as well as for law enforcement who may come into contact with individuals confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.

We direct your attention to  Main COVID-19 Page.  To stay up to date, please visit the Pa. Department of HealthCDC, and World Health Organization websites for detailed information. 

 



12 Counties Added to Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine

Friday March 6th, 2020
Twelve counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2020 spring hatch: Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Columbia, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Juniata, Luzerne, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, and York. With this addition, the quarantine for this invasive pest is now at 26 counties.
 
The new dozen counties are not completely infested, but rather have one to three municipalities with a known infestation which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution.
 
“Most of these municipalities have already been aggressively treated,” says Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry. “With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can strike Spotted Lanternfly from these counties.”
 
Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit; fines associated with noncompliance can be up to $300 for a criminal citation. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays, online. Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents.
 
For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly. More information about quarantine procedures can be found on the Department of Agriculture's quarantine webpage.
 


Spruce Up Your Township During ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania’

Sunday March 1st, 2020
Cleaning up trash and litter is a good way to show local pride and make your township attractive. And while that task requires constant attention, “Pick Up Pennsylvania” offers the perfect opportunity to put extra focus on keeping your township clean.
 
This statewide initiative supports the Great American Cleanup, which runs March 1 through May 31. Sponsored by Keep America Beautiful Inc., the Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program. Each year, millions of volunteers collect litter and debris from roadsides, parks, and public lands; clean up illegal dump sites; recycle thousands of tons of metal and tires; and plant trees and flowers.
 
Local governments, individuals, civic groups, businesses, and other organizations are encouraged to remove litter and trash during the Pick Up Pennsylvania initiative. Target areas can include roads, parks, forests, river or stream banks, neighborhoods, and open spaces.
 
In Pennsylvania, the three-month cleanup is supported and sponsored by the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Alliance, a range of businesses, trade organizations, and local and state government entities, including the state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation. 
 
Townships that decide to participate in “Pick Up Pennsylvania” will have plenty of support. For example, from April 1 to 30, PennDOT’s district and county offices will provide free bags, gloves, and safety vests to registered cleanup groups, and participating landfills will allow free or discounted disposal of trash collected during registered events.
 
County recycling coordinators, conservation districts, cooperative extension offices, and other environmental groups can answer questions and help organize cleanups.
 
Townships should consider asking local community organizations, such as Scout troops and church groups, to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand. Business owners might be willing to donate supplies, such as paint, T-shirts, or refreshments.
 
Registering events
 
To learn more about how your township can mobilize residents to help clean up the community, go to gacofpa.org. Here, townships can register their activities, find other events in the area, and get tips on holding a successful cleanup.
 
Townships may also contact Michelle Dunn of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful toll-free at (877) 772-3673, ext. 113, or email mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.


Grants Available for Environmental Projects

Wednesday February 26th, 2020
A number of environmental grant programs are accepting applications through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. All of these grants come from the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund and have an application deadline of May 31.
 
The water- and recreation-related project grants fall under several categories:
 
Watershed restoration and protection program, for projects that restore streams impaired by uncontrolled discharge of non-point source pollution or maintain already restored streams. 
 
Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) abatement and treatment program, for projects to reclaim abandoned mine 
wells; construct abandoned mine drainage sites; operate and maintain or remediate and repair existing AMD sites; establish a trust fund for ongoing maintenance of a site; and monitor water quality to trace non-point source load reductions due to AMD remediation.
 
Orphaned or abandoned well-plugging program, for projects that clean out and plug abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells, stray gas mitigation systems, and well-venting activities.
 
Sewage facilities program, to help cover the costs of sewage facilities planning under Act 537.
 
Flood mitigation program, for projects that are authorized by a flood protection author­ity, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service or are identified by a local government for flood mitigation.
 
Greenways, trails, and recreation program, for projects that involve the development, rehabilitation, and/or improvement of public parks, recreation areas, greenways, and trails, as well as river conservation activities.
 
For more information about these grants, call the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245 or go to the Act 13 Programs page
 
Applicants are urged to contact their state House and Senate members to inform them that they plan to submit an application for funding.


Renewable Energy Grants Up for Grabs

Monday February 24th, 2020
Funding for a renewable energy program is available through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). Applications are due at least 60 days before scheduled meetings of the CFA board. Upcoming deadlines are March 14, May 14, and July 15.
 
The Alternative and Clean Energy Program provides loans and grants for activities that promote the use, development, and construction of alternative and clean energy, compressed natural gas infrastructure, and liquefied natural gas fueling stations. Energy efficiency and conservation projects are also eligible.
 
For more information about these grants, call the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245 or go to the CFA's Energy Programs webpage.


Advertising Threshold Increased for Sale of Real Property

Friday February 21st, 2020
Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law Act 3 of 2020, which amends the Second Class Township Code to increase the advertising threshold for the sale of real property from $1,500 to $6,000. This act takes effect on April 5, 2020, and addresses a PSATS resolution.


Beef Up Your Buffers: Grants Available

Thursday January 23rd, 2020
Need help installing riparian buffers? The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is accepting applications thorugh its Riparian Forest Buffers program. The deadline for applications is April 22.
 
Eligible activities include landowner outreach, buffer design, site preparation and buffer installation, plant materials and tree shelters, and short term maintenance (within the four-year grant period).
 
Projects can propose conventional or multifunctional (income-producing) riparian forest buffers.
 
Multifunctional buffers refer to a riparian forest buffer that includes both native riparian forested trees and shrubs as well as harvested products such as berries, woody florals, biomass, etc.
 
The multifunctional buffer concept was designed to appeal to a broader set of landowners, provide greater program flexibility, address long-term maintenance issues, and allow landowners to reap a modest income from their buffers.
 
Additional specifics about the concept are provided on DCNR's buffer webpage.
 
All buffers must include a minimum 15-foot-wide no-harvest zone next to the streambank of native tree and shrub species (zone 1) with additional acreage dedicated to conventional or multifunctional buffer plant species (zones 2 and 3).
 
Applicants are strongly encouraged to implement an average buffer width of at least 35 feet. 
 
Applicants who undertake a buffer project must be willing to enter into a landowner agreement with each participating landowner for a minimum of 25 years. The agreement will address maintenance requirements among other considerations.
 
The minimum grant award is $50,000, and a 50/50 match is required. DCNR reserves the right to negotiate with applicants on the final award amount, acreage, and scope of work.
 
DCNR service foresters will be available to provide technical assistance and advice on communications and outreach efforts, buffer design and species selection, and maintenance practices; they can also participate in partnerships and watershed-level projects.
 
Visit DCNR’s Buffer webpage for more information on forest buffers, including multifunctional buffers.
 
For more information and details on how to apply, visit DCNR’s Grant Opportunities webpage.