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News Archive


Appalachian Regional Commission Grants Will Help Expand Broadband in Coal Communities

Friday October 18th, 2019
The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced a $44.4 million investment package to expand and diversify the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.
 
These awards are projected to create or retain over 5,700 jobs, leverage more than $39 million in private investment, create and/or retain 2,940 businesses, and train thousands of workers and students in nine Appalachian states.
 
Grants awarded in Pennsylvania for broadband initiatives include:
 
• $2,500 grant to Tioga County in Wellsboro for the Northern Pennsylvania Broadband Connectivity Project. Tioga County, in conjunction with Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative, will construct more than 175 miles of fiber in three counties -- Tioga, Potter, and Lycoming -- to bring access to reliable high-speed broadband to 60 businesses and 581 households in one of the most underserved areas of rural Pennsylvania.
 
From 2007-2017, Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s service area saw a 66% decrease in the number of active coal mines, resulting in a drop of 42% in mine employment.
 
The new fiber network will help bolster economic development, assist educational institutions, provide telemedicine opportunities for area hospitals, assist health care workers in addressing the opioid crisis, and help prevent youth out-migration. Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative is providing $3,242,125 for the project.
 
• $50,000 grant to the Greene County Board of Commissioners in Waynesburg for the Rural Broadband Coverage and Feasibility Study. This study will identify county-wide gaps in broadband access and determine the best technology to fill these gaps, such as fiber, white space, cable, and DSL.
 
When Greene County, which has experienced significant mining job losses, updated its comprehensive plan in 2018, the top-ranked issue identified was a need to expand broadband access.
 
The feasibility study will review the county’s broadband assets, conduct a field survey of existing broadband access, determine customer demand, identify the best technology options for service gaps, and develop an implementation matrix.
 
• $50,000 grant to the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission in Altoona, Blair County, for the South-Central Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Assessment. This feasibility study will identify ways of increasing broadband and cellular services to residents and businesses in an eight-county region of south-central Pennsylvania.
 
The eight counties in the region have experienced economic downturn as a result of the decline of mining and manufacturing industries, and expanded broadband access could create new economic opportunities.
 
The study will identify the broadband assets already in place, assess community broadband requirements, identify the best technology to meet the needs, and provide cost estimates for different deployment strategies.
 
For more information on this program, visit the ARC’s POWER Initiative webpage.


Webinar Addresses Match-Funding Tools for Open Space Preservation

Wednesday October 16th, 2019
Thinking about land conservation? Considering an open space referendum? Help is on the way!
 
The Pennsylvania Highlands Coalition is sponsoring a free webinar October 31 at 2 p.m. that will provide an overview of match-funding tools and explain how open space referendums work.
 
The webinar will be presented by Owen Franklin, state director for the Trust for Public Lands, and Lori Stauffer, manager of Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County, which recently passed a ballot measure authorizing a new open space referendum.
 
The webinar will conclude with a question and answer session.
 
Title: Match Funding: Open Space Referendums and Local Tools to Support Land Conservation
 
Date: Thursday, October 31
 
Time: 2 p.m.
 
Registration: Register online.


Are Your Residents Ready for REAL IDs?

Thursday October 10th, 2019
Beginning October 1, 2020, all Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other form of identification to board a domestic commercial airline flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. Townships should make sure their residents know how to get REAL IDs if they need or want them.
 
REAL IDs are optional and are not necessary to drive, vote, access federal courts, or apply for or receive federal benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, or veterans’ benefits. However, anyone who wants to fly to Florida, California, Colorado, or anywhere else in the U.S. will need a REAL ID or other federally acceptable form of identification, such as a valid passport or military ID, come next October.
 
Following are the steps necessary to obtain a REAL ID:
 
Step 1: Gather the necessary documents
 
To obtain a REAL ID driver’s license, residents must provide certain documents to PennDOT for verification. These must be original versions or certified copies of the following:
 
• Proof of identity — An original or certified copy of a birth certificate that is filed with the state Office of Vital Statistics and has a raised or embossed seal or a valid U.S. passport or passport card.
 
• Proof of Social Security number — An original, non-laminated Social Security card.
 
• Two proofs of current, physical Pennsylvania residence (if applicable) — Examples include a current driver’s license or photo ID, vehicle registration, automobile insurance card, W-2 form or pay stub, or utility bill that shows your current name and address.
 
• Proof of any and all legal name changes — Examples include a certified marriage certificate, court order, or divorce decree issued by a county family court.
 
Step 2: Apply for pre-verification
 
Drivers who received their first license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card after September 1, 2003, may already have their documentation on file with PennDOT. Residents may find out if their documents are on file by going to the DMV's REAL ID pre-verification webpage. Drivers whose documents are on file may order their REAL ID online, rather than visiting a driver’s license center, and will receive their REAL ID by mail within 15 business days.
 
Drivers who received their first license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card before September 1, 2003, must visit one of the following:
 
• Any PennDOT REAL ID center, which will verify and scan the required documents and issue a REAL ID at the time of service.
 
• Any PennDOT Driver License Center, which will verify and scan the required documents and order a REAL ID, which the driver will receive by mail within 15 business days.
 
 
REAL IDs for CDL drivers
 
Residents with a commercial driver’s license are currently not eligible to apply online for a REAL ID and must apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center. CDL holders must present the required documents as described above to obtain a REAL ID-compliant CDL license.
 
The renewal cost is built into the REAL ID process for non-commercial drivers. However, because renewal fees for commercial drivers are more expensive, CDL holders have two options:
 
1) Drivers can renew their CDL when obtaining a REAL ID and pay a one-time fee of $30 for the REAL ID, plus the applicable renewal fee. The REAL ID CDL will include any remaining time on the current license, plus four years.
 
2) Drivers can get a REAL ID and pay for a duplicate CDL, which will cost the one-time fee of $30, plus a duplicate fee, currently $29.50. The expiration date of the REAL ID CDL will be the same as the expiration on the current CDL.
 
To learn more about REAL IDs, what documents are needed, and answers to frequently asked questions, go to the DMV's REAL ID webpage. 


Townships Receive Traffic Signal Grants

Wednesday October 9th, 2019
Twenty-four Pennsylvania municipalities, half of them townships of the second class, received more than $5 million for traffic-signal upgrades from the state’s Green Light-Go program. 
 
“The safety improvements supported by the Green Light-Go program not only help municipalities relieve congestion and traffic flow, but also help Pennsylvanians move safely and efficiently," Gov. Tom Wolf said. "I’m proud to help our communities improve mobility for Pennsylvanians.”
 
Green Light-Go grants reimburse municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. Grant funding through the Green Light-Go program may be used for a range of operational improvements, including but not limited to: light-emitting diode (LED) technology installation, traffic signal retiming, developing special event plans, and monitoring traffic signals, as well as upgrading signals to the latest technologies.
 
PSATS member townships that received funding are:
 
Chester County
 
• East Whiteland Township – $195,760 for using automated traffic signal performance measures with upgraded detection at five intersections.
 
• Schuylkill Township – $64,455 for upgrading vehicle detection at two intersections.
 
Cumberland County
 
• Silver Spring Township – $219,436 for replacing a traffic signal on US Route 11.
 
Lancaster County
 
• West Lampeter Township – $269,889 for upgrading vehicle detection at six intersections, signal retiming, signal head upgrades, and left turn phase evaluation.
 
Lebanon County
 
• Union Township – $187,572 for traffic signal retiming, vehicle detection upgrades, and controller replacement to provide monitoring and communications technology at three intersections.
 
Mercer County
 
• Hempfield Township – $44,292 for upgrading pedestrian signals and developing optimized traffic signal timings.
 
Montgomery County
 
• Lower Providence Township – $342,025 for use of automated traffic signal performance measures with fiber-optic communication, controller upgrades, and detection upgrades at three intersections.
 
• Montgomery Township – $400,206 for modernization of four traffic signals.
 
Susquehanna County
 
• Choconut Township – $7,193.20 for upgrading vehicle detection at an intersection.
 
Union County
 
• Kelly Township – $263,094 for traffic signal retiming, controller upgrades, and communication at seven intersections along US Route 15.
 
York County
 
• Fairview Township – $30,990 for upgrading three traffic signal controllers.
 
• Manchester Township – $269,889 for upgrading vehicle detection at three intersections, controller replacements, and signal head upgrades.


Funding Available to Mitigate Future Flood, Hazard Losses

Tuesday October 8th, 2019
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is accepting applications for non-disaster flood mitigation and hazard mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Grants are available under two programs:
 
Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA), for reducing or eliminating claims under the National Flood Insurance Program. For FY 2019, $160 million in funding is available, with $70 million prioritized for community flood mitigation proposals.
 
Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), for reducing overall risk to people and structures from future hazard events and also reducing reliance on federal funding. For FY 2019, $250 million is available.
 
To be eligible for funding, municipalities must have adopted their county hazard mitigation plan. Projects must be consistent with the goals and objectives identified in the current FEMA-approved state and local plans.
 
Interested applicants should submit a PEMA Non-Disaster Letter of Interest pre-application form #19 to the agency's Hazard Mitigation Division to determine if the intended plan or project is eligible under the FMA or PDM grant programs. The form is available on the PEMA website. These forms must be submitted by October 31, 2019.
 
Grant applications must be submitted via FEMA's eGrants system. The deadline is 4 p.m. November 15, 2019.
 
For more information, download the PEMA circular about the grant programs on the PEMA Circulars page.


Township News Wins 2019 APEX Award

Friday October 4th, 2019
PSATS has earned national honors in the 31st Annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.
 
The Association's flagship publication, the Pa. Township News magazine, was honored for overall excellence. 
 
APEX Awards for Publication Excellence recognize exceptional entries in individual categories. The Township News received recognition in the category "Magazines, Journals & Tabloids - Print."
 
More than 1,400 entries competed, and 500 awards were presented in 12 major categories and 100 subcategories.


$6 Million Available to Finance Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

Wednesday September 18th, 2019
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 December 13.
 
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.
 
Grants are available for:
 
• Vehicle retrofit or purchase, to offset the incremental cost of purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles or retrofitting existing vehicles to operate on alternative fuels; and
 
• Alternative-fuel refueling infrastructure, to offset the costs of purchasing and installing refueling equipment for fleet, workplace, or intermediary fueling.
 
For more information or to apply, go to DEP's Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant webpage.


Beef Up Your Transportation Assets

Monday September 16th, 2019
Townships and/or councils of governments that want to improve transportation assets to increase pedestrian safety, revitalize transit, and enchance communities may apply for a grant from PennDOT's Multimodal Transportation Fund. (Please note: This fund is separate from the Multimodal Transportation Fund administered by DCED's Commonwealth Financing Authority.) Applications are due November 8.
 
Funds may be used for development, rehabilitation, and enhancement of transportation assets in existing communities, streetscaping, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity, and transit-oriented development.
 
Funding requires a match of at least 30% of the grant award. Matching funds from a county or municipality must be cash contributions from one or more counties or municipalities. Liquid fuels funds, Act 13 impact fees, and other statutorily allocated fees or taxes paid directly to a county or municipality may be used as a local match if the project is an eligible use of such funds.
 
Grants are available for projects with a total cost of $100,000 to $3 million.
 
For more information about the grants, visit PennDOT's Multimodal Transportation Fund webpage, call (717) 705-1230, or email RA-PDMultimodalFund@pa.gov. Funding guidelines are available online as a downloadable PDF.
 
Applications for the Multimodal Transportation Fund must be submitted online.


Nominate Your Township Project for Governor’s Excellence Awards

Sunday September 15th, 2019
PSATS is asking its members to nominate projects for the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence. The awards recognize townships and officials who have found creative ways to improve their communities. The deadline for entries is December 13.
 
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
 
• Health and wellness initiatives
 
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 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.
 
To learn more about the judging criteria for each category, view past award winners, and submit a nomination, go to DCED's Local Government Excellence Awards webpage.


Free Workshops Help Townships Apply for C2P2 Grants

Friday September 13th, 2019
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, will host free workshops this fall to explain the department’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2).
 
The C2P2 program’s application period will open January 15, 2020, and close April 22, 2020. These grants are funded through a variety of sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund; Environmental Stewardship Fund; Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program; and Land and Water Conservation Fund.
 
The in-person workshops will give potential applicants technical assistance on grants available for recreation, conservation, riparian buffer, trail, and community park projects. Attendees will be able to interact with department staff and learn about grant program selection criteria, eligibility, and the documents required for various types of applications. Attendees will learn how to create a competitive grant application.
 
Dates and locations for the workshops are:
 
• Nov. 7: Friedman Jewish Community Center, Kingston, Luzerne Co.
 
• Nov. 13: Montgomery County Public Training Campus, Conshohocken
 
• Nov. 14: Giant Food Store Community Room, Camp Hill, Cumberland Co.
 
• Nov. 19: Pine Township Community Center, Wexford, Allegheny Co.
 
• Nov. 20: Trinity Point Church of God, Clarion, Clarion Co.
 
• Nov. 26: Ramada Conference Center, State College, Centre Co.
 
For those unable to attend one of the workshops, a webinar covering the same material will be held February 19, 2020.
 
For more information on registering for the workshops or webinar, call Jim Young at (717) 783-2712 or email jwyoung@pa.gov. Online registration is required; go to events.dcnr.pa.gov.


Help Clean Up Litter Before It Gets to Waterways

Wednesday September 11th, 2019
Townships can do their part to help cleanup Pennsylvania waterways by participating in Keep PA Beautiful's (KPB) Pick Up Pennsylvania, part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup running through October 31. International Coastal Cleanup Day is September 21.
 
Townships need not have a coastline to help with this effort. A significant portion of waterway pollution originates on land, as plastics, trash, and litter accumulate and are swept into storm drains when it rains. Most storm sewer systems empty directly into the nearest creek or river, eventually flowing to the ocean and taking the trash with it.
 
"Cleaning up your local park or street might seem unrelated to healthy waterways ... but I think we have all seen litter blocking storm drains," KPB President Shannon Reiter says. "Cleaning up that litter before it has a chance to be washed into the creek will significantly reduce the amount of trash that reaches our local waterways and, eventually, our oceans. Please lend a hand and join us in a cleanup this fall."
 
Last year, 577 events were held across Pennsylvania during the state portion of the Coastal Cleanup. Some 13,297 volunteers removed 523,855 pounds of trash and tires from the commonwealth's waterways, coastal regions, parks, sidewalks, streets, and neighborhoods.
 
For more information, visit KPB's Pick Up Pennsylvania webpage.
 
To register a cleanup event, call Michelle Dunn, KPB's cleanup coordinator, toll-free at (877) 772-3673, ext. 113, or email mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org. Gloves and bags are available to registered events while supplies last.


PSATS' TEMA, PAAZO Forums Approaching

Monday August 19th, 2019
PSATS' affiliate associations for emergency management personnel and zoning officials will be meeting for their annual fall seminars in November. Townships should urge their consultants to attend these training opportunities:
 
Township Emergency Management Association (TEMA)
November 7, Ramada Greensburg, Westmoreland Co.
 
Pa. Association of Zoning Officials (PAAZO)
November 8, Doubletree by Hilton, Monroeville, Allegheny Co.
 
For more information or to register, go to learn.psats.org/seminars.


URGENT: Time Is Running Out to Enter Citizen Communication Contest

Monday August 12th, 2019
If your township has published a newsletter or other publication to communicate with residents in the past year, show your pride in a job well-done by entering it in PSATS’ 52nd Annual Township Citizen Communication Contest. Eligible publications or other forms of communication must have been produced between November 1, 2018, and October 30, 2019. Entries must be received by October 31.
 
Thirty-one awards in eight categories will be up for grabs. Winners will receive a framed certificate and coverage in the Township News. All winners will also compete for the 29th Annual Outstanding Citizen Communication Award, which will be presented at PSATS’ Annual Conference to the township that exhibits an exceptional commitment to informing its residents.
 
Click here for complete details and guidelines.