News Archive


Township Officials: File Financial Interests Statement by May 1

Thursday April 19th, 2018
As required by the state Ethics Act, all elected and most appointed public officials must file an annual financial interests statement for 2017 with their township by May 1.
 
“Public officials” include anyone who has the authority to spend public funds, other than reimbursement for per­son­al expenses, or to otherwise exercise the power of the state or any political subdivision. 
 
Public officials and public employees must also file a statement the year after they leave public office for their final year in office. Statements of financial interests must be filed on a form provided by the State Ethics Commission. 
 
Those required to file must provide all requested information to the best of their knowledge and sign the form under oath. Disclosure requires identifying sources of income, not amounts. 
 
Townships are required to keep the statements on file for five years and make them available to the public on request during regular business hours.
 
The commission mails 10 to 20 forms to township secretaries in late December. Additional forms may be obtained from the commission any time, from the county board of elections during election years, or by visiting www.ethics.pa.gov, which also features information about the commission and updates on the Ethics Act.
 
Public officials may file online at the Ethics Commission’s website; however, they must submit a copy or a paper version of the form to the township. 
 
Township officials with questions or comments on filing statements should call the State Ethics Commission toll-free at (800) 932-0936.
 
For more information about filing requirements and other aspects of the law, turn to PSATS’ new Ethics Act Manual. This compliance guide covers everything township officials and staff need to know about complying with the law and also contains the latest court decisions and Ethics Commission advisories and opinions. Click here to order.
 


Show Off Your Public Works Crew May 20-26

Thursday April 19th, 2018
Heading into the busy road construction and repair season, there is no better time to recognize township public works crews for their efforts to make roads safe and keep infrastructure working.
 
Instituted as a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association in 1960, National Public Works Week calls attention to the importance of public works in community life. The event promotes awareness of the often-unsung heroes of our society, the professionals who serve the public good every day.
 
The week-long observance, scheduled for May 20-26, is a perfect oppor­tunity to celebrate the men and women who keep townships running all year long, not just when the snow flies.
 
This year’s theme, “The Power of Public Works,” recognizes the significant impact the many facets of public works have on modern civilization. 
 
From providing clean water and disposing of solid waste to building roads and bridges and planning for and implementing mass transit to plowing snow and devising emergency management strategies to meet natural or manmade disasters, public works services determine a society’s quality of life. 
 
During this special week, the American Public Works Association is asking townships to display their equipment, hold an open house, sponsor essay contests in local schools, host a parade, or hold programs for civic organizations and the local media.
 
For more information about National Public Works Week, call the APWA toll-free at (800) 848-2792. To download the APWA’s National Public Works Week How-To Guide, go to https://npww.apwa.net.


Plan to Participate in Hazardous Weather Exercise May 8 & 9

Thursday April 19th, 2018
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all municipalities to take part in the 2018 Spring Hazardous Weather Emergency Preparedness Exercise May 8 and 9.
 
For more details or to register, go to www.pema.pa.gov and choose the “Planning and Preparedness” tab and then “Training and Exercises.” Townships may also call PEMA at (717) 651-2714 or email RA-Exercise­Officer@pa.gov.
 
Townships should also contact their county emergency management person to coordinate their participation in the exercise.


Townships: Highlight Historic Places in May

Thursday April 19th, 2018
To spotlight the importance of historic preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has designated May as Preservation Month 2018. 
 
The National Trust suggests the following local activities to observe Preservation Month:
 
• Plan special tours of little-known historic sites.
 
• Engage volunteers interested in contributing to a local preservation project.
 
• Compile a photo archive of the hidden gems in your community.
 
• Plot out walking and driving tours that spotlight historic places in your township.
 
• Encourage residents and visitors to go to your website and Facebook and Twitter feeds and share information about gems they have discovered in the township.
 
• Schedule lectures, films, and slide shows about places saved and threatened.
 
To help townships promote the event, the trust offers a sample proclamation and a kit that includes a sample news re­­lease, media tips, and ideas for activities and contests. Go to https://savingplaces.org and enter “Preservation Month” in the search field.
 
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting irreplaceable local treasures.
 
For more information on Preservation Month, go to https://savingplaces.org or call the National Trust for Historic Preservation toll-free at (800) 944-6847.


Grants Available for Water, Greenways, and Recreation Projects

Thursday April 19th, 2018
Townships that have water-related projects, greenways and trails, or recreation projects may apply for funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). All of the grants come from the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund and have an application deadline of May 31.
 
The water-related project grants fall under several categories:
 
Watershed restoration and protection program, for projects that restore streams impaired by uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source pollution or maintain already restored streams. 
 
Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) abatement and treatment program, for projects involving the reclamation of abandoned mine wells; construction of abandoned mine drainage sites; operation and maintenance or remediation and repair of existing AMD sites; establishment of a trust fund to ensure ongoing maintenance of a site; and water quality monitoring to trace nonpoint source load reductions.
 
Orphaned or abandoned well-plugging program, for projects that clean out and plug abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells, stray gas mediation 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.
 
Grants are also available for projects that involve the development, rehabilitation, and/or improvement of public parks, recreation areas, greenways, and trails, as well as river conservation activities and flood mitigation projects.
 
For more information about any of these grants, call the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245. Townships may also go to dced.pa.gov, hover over “Programs & Funding,” and click on “Commonwealth Financing Authority.” Hover over the “Programs” box and choose “Act 13” in the pop-up menu.
 
Applicants are strongly urged to contact their state House and Senate members to inform them that they plan to submit an application for funding under these programs.


Solar Energy Funding Available

Thursday April 19th, 2018
Townships that want to install solar energy generating equipment may apply for loans from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) under the Solar Energy Program. The deadline for applications is May 18.
 
The program is jointly administered by the CFA and state Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Community and Economic Development (DCED). Eligible projects include facilities to generate, distribute, or store solar photovoltaic energy. The maximum loan may not exceed $5 million or $3 per watt, whichever is less. There is a match requirement of $1 for every $3 awarded and a $100 non-refundable application fee.
 
For more information, call DCED’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245 or go to dced.pa.gov, hover over “Programs & Funding,” and click on “Commonwealth Financing Authority.” Hover over the “Programs” box and choose “Energy” in the pop-up menu.


Got Illegal Dumpers? Catch Them Red-Handed!

Thursday April 19th, 2018
Does your township have a problem with people illegally dumping trash along roadsides, in parks, and in other remote areas? Do trash, electronics, and other materials pile up around your municipal recycling dropoff containers? Are you stuck with exorbitant fees to clean up these areas?
 
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) can help. The organization, with support from the state Department of Environmental Protection, has launched the IllegalDumpFreePA Grant Program to help local government and law enforcement officials curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime.
 
Grant recipients receive a surveillance kit to be placed at undisclosed locations that attract illegal dumping. The kit includes three concealable, lockable cameras and accessories that capture usable, conviction-worthy footage of license plates and illegal dumpers — even at night. One camera uses wireless technology that can send pictures via text to a registered cellphone when triggered, providing almost instant results.
 
There is no cost to the township, and KPB provides technical assistance for mounting and operating the cameras. Townships have the option of purchasing the equipment at the end of the grant period. This program has helped in the successful prosecution of illegal dumpers in several counties.
 
To participate in the program, go to www.illegaldumpfreepa.org to fill out an application. Townships may also contact the enforcement program coordinator, Aaron Semasko, with questions at (724) 836-4121, ext. 107, or asemasko@keeppabeautiful.org. KPB is also available to make presentations at township meetings.


SAFER Grant Application Period Open

Thursday March 29th, 2018

The Fiscal Year 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant application period is now open.

The SAFER grant provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities

 For assistance, applicants can contact the SAFER Grants Help Desk at firegrants@fema.dhs.gov or 1-866-274-0960. Application assistance tools are available online at www.fema.gov/firegrants. Grant applications are due April 27, 2018. 



Governor Wolf Announces New Statewide Broadband Initiative

Monday March 19th, 2018

Governor’s New Broadband Initiatives

Will Create Strong Communities

Ready for the Future

 

In response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s introduction of the Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program and the Pennsylvania Office of Broadband Initiatives, David M. Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, has released the following statement. 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.

 

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“PSATS applauds Gov. Wolf's appointment of Mark Smith to lead the newly announced broadband initiatives. The commonwealth, its local governments, telecommunications providers, and ALL citizens have a stake in reliable, high-speed Internet access. This critical infrastructure superhighway of the future will give Pennsylvania a strong foundation to deliver 22nd-Century economic development, education, and healthcare. The governor's initiatives, deployed in the commonwealth’s safe and affordable townships, will enhance the quality of life and ensure that residents, new and long-standing, have great places to live, work, and raise families.”