News Archive


Pennsylvania One Call Hosts 811 Day Free Webcast - Tuesday August 11th

Tuesday August 4th, 2020

Pennylvania One Call wiil be hosting a free National 811 Day Webcast on August 11 at 8:11 a.m. This virtual webcast will include presenters, games activities and a chance to win $811 in prizes and giveaways.

To access the webcast, attendees can go to the Pennsylvania One Call National 811 Day Webcast page and register for the event. Pennsylvania One Call will also be live streaming the webcast from their Facebook page.

The full webcast agenda is available on the flyer provided below. 

 



DCNR Accepting Applications for ATV and Snowmobile Trail Projects

Monday August 3rd, 2020

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is now accepting applications for projects proposing land acquisition, planning, development, maintenance, equipment purchase, or educational programs for all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile trails and facilities. Applications are due September 30 and must be submitted electronically. A brief recorded webinar on the program is available on the department’s website. For more information, click here



Reminder: Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Applications Due August 12

Friday July 31st, 2020

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is accepting applications until August 12. This grant program is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of the Capital Budget Itemization Act.  

Projects must have a regional or multijurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases in or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. To learn more, click here.  



Contact County Commissioners for Deadline to Access CARES Dollars

Thursday July 30th, 2020

The federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020, provided a $2 trillion economic relief package aimed at helping our state and local governments, families, and businesses recover from the negative public health and economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 disaster.

7 counties got a direct allocation from Congress. The state’s 2020-2021 budget allocated $625 million in CARES funds as block grants to the remaining 60 counties to offset some of the costs their municipalities incurred for response and planning efforts (including PPE costs), and to deploy broadband to unserved or under-served areas of the state. Eligible expenditures must be incurred during the period from March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020.

Townships in all 67 counties are reminded to contact their county commissioner’s office promptly to determine when the deadline is to submit your application to receive such funds. 



EPA Takes Action to Address PFAS

Thursday July 30th, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is taking action to address per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This includes developing new policies on the disposal and monitoring of these substances and a proposed new rule that would require notice and EPA review before the use of long-chain PFAS, which have been phased out in the U.S., could begin again. In addition, products containing certain PFAS used as a surface coating and carpets can no longer be imported without EPA review. Click here to learn more.  



Mental Wellness Support Available for Firefighters, EMS Personnel

Thursday July 30th, 2020

State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego announced the launch of several new online training resources designed to provide mental wellness resources for fire, rescue, and emergency medical services personnel.  

Left unaddressed, mental, and behavioral stress can interfere with day-to-day life and result in diagnosable mental illnesses. Unfortunately, the most serious consequence of untreated behavioral health problems is the risk of suicide.  “Continuing to ignore the mental health of first responders is simply not an option,” Trego said. “The costs are too great.” 

Four courses are now available at no cost to PA fire and EMS personnel by clicking here and registering for a Train PA account. Courses cover a variety of topics, including Being a First Responder During a Global Pandemic, Had a Bad Call?, How to Better Support Your Fellow First Responders, and Capturing the Load. 



Don’t Open Seeds from China, Warns Agriculture Departments

Wednesday July 29th, 2020

The US and state Department of Agriculture is warning consumers to report unordered and mislabeled seeds shipped from China. The packages, confirmed in all 4 corners of PA, may be labeled as jewelry and may contain plant diseases or invasive plants. Consumers are asked to retain the seeds and packaging. If opened, double bag and seal the seeds. Do not plant them or discard loose seeds. Report the package to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s confidential Anti smuggling Hotline, 800-877-3835, or email SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide further instructions. 

 



PennDOT Announces Annual Highway Safety Survey

Tuesday July 28th, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking motorists’ input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its annual online Highway Safety Survey. Click here to participate!  

 The survey is available on PennDOT’s website through August 17 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses, including the “comments” fields, are anonymous. 

More than 10,000 people responded to last year’s survey. When asked which behaviors distracted them while driving in the last month, only 14 percent of respondents indicated “Using a hand-held cell phone” was a distraction. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed indicated “Adjusting the radio or climate controls” was a distraction, while 37 percent indicated they were distracted by an object outside of the vehicle. “Driving is a skill that requires 100 percent of your attention 100 percent of the time, and distractions are everywhere, it’s not just your cell phone,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian, “Don’t drive distracted.” 



Neighborhood Assistance Program Now Open for Applications

Tuesday July 28th, 2020

Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced that applications for the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) and the Neighborhood Assistance Program, Enterprise Zone Tax Credit (EZP) are now open for the 2020-21 program year. 

“By encouraging businesses to make impactful investments in their communities for worthy projects across the commonwealth, the Neighborhood Assistance Program plays an invaluable role in improving the lives of Pennsylvania residents,” said Sec. Davin. “By working together, we are building a bright future that unites our families, neighborhoods, and businesses.” 

Applications for the 2020-21 program year will be accepted until August 31, 2020. 

 The department will also prioritize any EZP projects that provide for the manufacturing of critical and necessary medical supplies such as masks, face shields, ventilators, and other similar products or focus on job creation. EZP is an incentive program that provides tax credits to private companies investing in rehabilitating, expanding, or improving buildings or land located within designated enterprise zones. 



EQB Seeks Comments on Decreasing Manganese Limit in Surface Water

Tuesday July 28th, 2020

The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) is accepting public comments on a proposal to lower the limit of manganese in surface water in Pennsylvania from 1.0 milligrams per liter to 0.3 mg/L. Manganese is a naturally occurring element that is often discharged into Pennsylvania waterways from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, power plants, and abandoned mines.  

Comments are requested on two alternative points of compliance: at the point of discharge and at the point of all existing or planned potable water supply withdrawals. The comment period ends September 25, 2020. Click here for more information.  



Turnpike Tolls to Increase in January 2021

Wednesday July 22nd, 2020

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission confirmed its movement to 100% cashless operations with approving a 6% toll increase for EZPass rates systemwide and establishing rates for the new PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program. Rates for toll facilities newly converted to TOLL BY PLATE will increase by an average of 45 percent to reflect the costs for the new method. The rate changes will take effect on January 3, 2021. 

This means that the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.50 to $1.60 for E-Z Pass customers and from $2.50 to $3.90 for those choosing TOLL BY PLATE. The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor-trailer will increase from $12.20 to $13 for E-ZPass and from $17.30 to $26.60 for PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE customers.  

“The primary driver of the annual toll rate increases continues to be our quarterly transit payments to PennDOT and the resulting debt service that comes along with the legislatively mandated funding obligation,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “As a result, the PA Turnpike has delivered almost $7 billion in funding to PennDOT in the last decade, primarily to support mass transit operations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.” 

Compton said the commission’s debt service costs on outstanding Act 44 bond debt are $440 million annually and growing; this amount must be paid each year even if the commission seeks, and is granted, deferment of a quarterly Act 44 payment — as it recently did to partially offset revenue impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.  



Recognize Your Local Hometown Heroes and Win Cash for Your Township!

Wednesday July 22nd, 2020

Townships of under 5,000 population have until August 15 to nominate an outstanding civic volunteer or organization for the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award. The award recognizes hometown heroes such as an exceptional volunteer firefighter or fire company, EMS volunteers, your emergency management coordinator, municipal advisory committee volunteer, or the whole committee or commission. The purpose of the award is to recognize and reward the efforts of civic volunteers in smaller communities across America and shine a spotlight on the growing need for people to serve as grassroots volunteers to fill a variety of critical local public service roles.  

Nominees may be an individual or organization. "Organization" means any board (including supervisors), committee, council, commission, trust, or related entity that is officially recognized by your township doing a community service. It could be, for example, an entire fire company, library board, or other town committee/advisory committee that accomplished something powerful as a team. 

It’s easy to enter! Simply go to www.civic-volunteer.com and submit the application. Your township will win a cash prize if it lands in the top three entries: $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively. Also, the municipalities represented by the top 100 nominees will win a custom website and one year of free website hosting by CivicPlus. 

The awards program is underwritten by CivicPlus, the country’s largest local government technology company. 

Any PA township winners will be recognized in the Pa. Township News and PSATS will help with local news coverage.  



COVID-19 Grants for Fire and EMS

Tuesday July 21st, 2020

The Office of State Fire Commissioner is accepting applications for grants under Act 26 of 2020, which provides COVID-19 grants for fire and EMS. Applications are due August 7, 2020. Each fire company and EMS company that received 2019-2020 grants through the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant program will receive, at a minimum, the same amount as their 2019-2020 award. However, all fire, rescue, and EMS companies must register for the new program in order to receive a grant

These one-time grants are to be used by eligible fire, rescue, and EMS companies to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are to be used to supplement operational expenses due to a lack of opportunities for fund raising and the inability to create revenue due to compliance measures. These include expenses for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting equipment and property and other expenses incurred to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Click here for more information! 



Townships Receive Multimodal Grant Awards

Friday July 17th, 2020

Townships Receive Multimodal Grant Awards

The commonwealth has announced grant awards for $30.2 million from the Multimodal Transportation Fund. Award winners include White Township, Beaver County; Rush Township, Centre County; West Whiteland Township, Chester County; Benezette Township, Elk County; Neshannock Township, Lawrence County; Oliver Township, Mifflin County; Horsham Township, Montgomery County; Wharton Township, Potter County; Frenchcreek Township, Venango County; and Tunkhannock Township, Wyoming County. Congratulations! To learn more about the projects, click here.  

The next round of multimodal grant applications will open in September 2020. To learn more about the program, click here. Go to penndot.gov and choose “Multimodal Program.”

 



PHMC Grant Opportunity Available for Archival Records

Thursday July 16th, 2020

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is now accepting applications for the Historical and Archival Records Care Grant Program until October 1. Funding is available for historical records repositories and collections care, including surveying, inventorying, preserving, arranging, and describing historical records significant to Pennsylvania. Local governments may apply for up to $15,000 with a 50 percent match or up to $5,000 with no match. Click here to learn more. 

 



Make Sure Your Township Has the Earliest Access to Salary Survey Results!

Wednesday July 8th, 2020

Be sure your township has the earliest access to the 2020 PSATS Salary Survey Plus results! Make sure your designated township staff (PSATS Salary Survey Plus Processor) enters your township’s wage and benefit data by August 15 to ensure the earliest access to all reports, including comparisons to 2019 and 2018 results, question by question comparisons, and reports by region, population, budget size, union status, benefits, and more! This salary comparison data will be especially helpful as you begin to make budget preparations for your 2021 budget.

Townships participating in this secure survey allows your township supervisors, managers, secretaries, and other township-authorized employees to view the data you enter and run reports and comparisons. To protect anonymity, results are only provided for questions that receive responses from at least 5 townships.

Questions? Email salarysurveyplus@psats.org or call 717-763-0930 ext. 138.Trouble logging into connect? Click here for directions.

Need to change the township official designated to enter data (PSATS Salary Survey Plus Processor)? Contact memberservice@psats.org or (717) 763-0930 so that we may give the correct employee or official access.



2019 Common Level Ratio Released for Realty Transfer Tax

Tuesday July 7th, 2020

The state Department of Revenue has released the real estate valuation factors compiled by the State Tax Equalization Board in 2019, which are the mathematical reciprocals of the actual common level ratio (CLR). For Pennsylvania realty transfer tax purposes, these factors apply to documents accepted from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Click here to view the 2019 CLR from the Pennsylvania Bulletin



DEP Releases Draft State Water Quality Report

Tuesday July 7th, 2020

The state Department of Environmental Protection released its draft 2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report that details the health of Pennsylvania’s 86,000 plus miles of streams and rivers and more than 160,000 acres of lakes. The draft report is open for public comment until August 11, 2020, through the DEP eComment system.

The report has a map viewer that allows users to view individual stream or rivers sections and export information, which could be a useful tool for township officials. Click here to view the report. 



Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Applications Open July 13

Monday July 6th, 2020

The Department of Community and Economic Development announced that the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program will accept applications beginning July 13 and ending August 12. This grant program is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of the Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multijurisdictional impact, and general substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. To learn more, click here.



Reminder: Child Labor Law Limits Types of Work Performed by Minors

Monday June 22nd, 2020

Is your township looking to hire minors to help out over the summer? The state Department of Labor and Industry has issued a reminder that the state’s Child Labor Law limits working hours and the types of work that may minors may perform.  

All minors must have a written statement acknowledging the duties and hours of employment and granting permission to work. In addition, there are restrictions for hours, as well as jobs that those who are 16 and 17 years old may perform, and there are more limitations on jobs that those who are 14 and 15 years old may do. To learn more, click here



PUC Announces Overlay Number for 814 Area Code, Date to Start 10-Digit Dialing

Tuesday May 19th, 2020

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has announced that the number “582” will be the new overlay area code for the current 814 area code, which covers all or parts of 27 counties across central and northwestern Pennsylvania. This area code will be assigned to new telephone numbers once the available supply of 814 numbers is exhausted.  

To implement the change, consumers and residents in the 814 region are encouraged to begin voluntarily dialing 10 digits for calls within the 814 region beginning October 3, 2020. Mandatory 10-digit dialing will be required for all calls within the region on April 3, 2021.  



Sanko Named to National Advisory Team for Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award Program

Monday May 18th, 2020

David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), has been appointed to serve on a five-member national advisory team for the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program.

Sanko was selected to serve on the award program advisory team because of his long-standing support for strong grassroots local government. He is also past president and current member of the board of directors of the National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT).

NATaT joins a representative from the National Association of Counties, the National Volunteer Fire Council, Points of Life (the nation’s largest volunteer service organization, which was founded by President George H.W. Bush), and the National Main Street Center on the board.

“In some places, democracy and self-government are being taken for granted,” Sanko says. “Apathy is on the rise. Some municipalities struggle to fill local government vacancies, whether it’s finding candidates for civic service on boards and commissions or recruiting volunteer firefighters to help ensure citizens’ safety. I am honored to join this advisory team and promote efforts to address a critical challenge facing the nation’s countryside communities.”

The award program is intended to spotlight a growing crisis facing thousands of smaller townships, cities, and rural counties: the decline in the availability of citizens to serve in critical public safety and community service roles, including volunteer firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and local government boards and commissions. The awards will recognize 100 hometown “heroes” from countryside communities nationwide for their extraordinary public service. Eligible municipalities include those of 5,000 people or less.

The civic volunteer award program is being underwritten by CivicPlus, the largest local government technology company in the country. Local governments represented by the top three winning honorees will receive cash grants of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively. Municipalities and counties represented by these top 100 nominees will receive custom CivicPlus websites (and one year of website hosting at no charge) featuring a unique module offering civic volunteer retention and recruitment resources. The program has an estimated total value of more than $1 million in donated services and grants.

The Barton Russell Group (BRG) has been chosen to design and manage the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program. BRG has built and/or consulted on several national award and grant programs, including the Best Small Towns in America contest, the American Hometown Leaders Award, and the America’s Best Communities competition.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

 

Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program

The events of the past few months have revealed communities’ dependence on civic volunteers, especially firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. Townships also rely on residents to serve on their volunteer boards, commissions, and committees. If your township has a population under 5,000, you can nominate outstanding civic volunteers through a new national program: the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Awards (STACVA).

This new program honors extraordinary public service volunteers in small municipalities (population under 5,000) nationwide and helps shine a spotlight on a growing national problem: a decline in the availability of citizens to fill important public safety and service roles.

Civic volunteers are hometown heroes who serve in critical positions, including firefighting, emergency medical services, municipal and county councils and boards, and on advisory committees supporting library, recreation, planning, environmental, and other important local government services.

Public service volunteerism is the lifeblood of small communities and rural counties. Research has shown, however, that the percentage of people volunteering in small communities has dropped substantially for 12 consecutive years. The primary purposes of the awards are to focus national attention on this issue, highlight best practices to encourage a new group of citizens to fill these vital roles, and support innovative local volunteer retention and recruitment strategies.

The awards program, designed and managed by the Barton Russell Group, is underwritten by CivicPlus, the country’s largest local government technology company. Localities represented by the top three winning honorees will receive cash awards of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively.

Municipalities and counties represented by the top 100 nominees will receive custom CivicPlus websites (and one year of website hosting at no charge) featuring a unique module offering civic volunteer retention and recruitment resources. The awards program has an estimated total value of more than $1 million in donated services and grants.

To nominate a volunteer in your community, fill out the online application on the STACVA website at civic-volunteer.com. The deadline for nominations is August 15.



NATaT Releases Rural Grant Guide

Friday May 15th, 2020

The National Association of Towns and Townships has released an updated Rural Grant Guide for local governments. The guide identifies potential funding opportunities to support community development, broadband, water and wastewater projects, and more in rural communities. The guide focuses on federal grant opportunities that typically reoccur.  

The guide is a valuable resource for townships in rural areas looking for grant and loan resources. Click here to access the guide.  



PSATS Looking for Photos of Township "Everyday Heroes"

Wednesday April 15th, 2020

 

Attention, township officials! PSATS wants photos of your "Everyday Heroes" for its 2021 calendar!

In no other time in recent history have townships experienced anything like the COVID pandemic, but as in many other crises, townships have those "Everyday Heroes" who step up to the plate to help their neighbors.

 

Do you have a township official, employee, or volunteer who has gone above and beyond to help others during the pandemic or for other reasons and causes? We want to see them "in action" on the annual PSATS Calendar! Maybe it's you!

 

With so much going on around us these days, we thought it might be a wonderful idea to spotlight these heroes who don't wear capes and don't often get the praise or recognition they deserve. Now is the chance to blow their horn and take photos of them doing what they do best: helping others in times of need, especially now. 

 

Here are some ideas for "heroic" acts. You may know of others....

  • Township officials, employees, volunteers, and others performing any act of kindness or community service for any reason. 
  • Your "hero" handing out food to people who are going through a rough time and don't have the means to feed their families.
  • Police officers/firefighters/staff going door to door to check on residents, particularly the elderly.
  • Volunteers helping out at a testing center or food distribution site.
  • Volunteers making face masks to help with social distancing and health guidelines. 
Be as creative as you want and show us how your "Everyday Heroes" are serving your community. 
 
 
PHOTO REQUIREMENTS
  • To reproduce well in print, photos must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at a size of 4 inches x 6 inches. Photos taken with a smartphone are just fine. Be sure to send them to us as "actual size" to ensure full resolution.
  • Photos should be in color. 
  • Email photos as jpeg attachments to kacri@psats.org by August 21, 2020. 
  • Provide your name, position, township, county, and daytime telephone number.  
  • Identify everyone in the photo left to right, their titles or roles, and a brief description of what they're doing in the photo. 

 

 

SNAP some pics,

SEND ’em to PSATS, and

SEE your township's "Everyday Heroes" in the 2021 calendar!



KPB Moves ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania’ to Fall

Sunday March 1st, 2020
Statewide cleanup to be held September 1 to November 30.
 
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.
 
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. 
 
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.
 
Further details about registering events and available supplies will be forthcoming. Townships may also email Michelle Dunn of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful at mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.