News Archive


Action Alert: Townships Urged to Oppose Clean Water Act Change

Friday September 19th, 2014

PSATS is asking township officials to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposed change to the Clean Water Act that would dramatically impact land, water, and local budgets.

If adopted, this rule would tighten federal control over the nation’s waters and land, including private property, by redefining what constitutes “waters of the U.S.” This phrase currently covers “navigable waters” that flow between states, typically rivers, but under the new rulemaking, it would include streams, wetlands, ponds, and even temporary bodies of water created by heavy rains and flooding, such as ditches.

While the agencies’ intentions may be admirable, their approach is being roundly criticized as a “terrifying power grab.” Why? Because the rule change would give the federal government greater authority over public and private waters and land. Local officials worry, for instance, that the regulation would delay projects and create new bureaucratic hurdles.

Click here to see the proposed definition of "Waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act.

PSATS opposes the rule change and is encouraging townships to support its efforts. Here’s what you can do:

  • Study up on the rule change. Read more on the proposed rule from the National Association of Towns and Townships. Townships can also go to any search engine and do a keyword search — use such phrases as “Waters of the U.S.” and “Clean Water Act expansion” — to find related information and news articles.
     
  • Participate in the EPA’s public comment period, which ends October 20. Comments may be emailed to ow-docket@epa.gov or mailed to Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-2011-0880. (Note:Suggested talking points for PSATS member townships are available under "Member Resources" and then "Environmental Info." You will need to enter your member ID and password to view the information.)
     
  • Register your opposition with Pennsylvania’s senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and your congressman. (You can access their contact information by entering your zip code here.)

 



September TVN Features Fall Legislative Preview, Election Reminder, and More

Thursday September 18th, 2014

Don't miss the September edition of PSATS' Township Video News! Our latest monthly digital newsletter is now available for viewing and features:

  • details about Membersuite, a new service that enhances the security of information you provide to PSATS;

  • a preview of the fall legislative session; and

  • a message from PSATS Executive Director Dave Sanko, who encourages local leaders to do their homework before voting in November.

Click here for this edition.

Please note that TVN features a “chapter” format, which allows you to watch the broadcast by segment or in its entirety..

Townships that want to provide feedback, suggestions for future episodes, or post a link to TVN on their own websites should contact Jill Ercolino, PSATS assistant director of communications and TVN’s producer, at jercolino@psats.org or (717) 763-0930.



New Census Data Details Computer Ownership, Internet Access in PA

Thursday September 18th, 2014

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the latest statistics on computer ownership and Internet access in Pennsylvania.

The Bureau's annual update of more than 40 demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population (the 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates) shows that 81.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s nearly 5 million households had a computer in 2013, while 73.7 percent had some form of internet access. Figures for Pennsylvania were slightly below that of the nation, which reported 83.8 percent with a computer and 74.4 percent with Internet access.

The new data also reveals that 77 percent of Pennsylvania households had a desktop or laptop computer in 2013, while nearly 6 in 10 households (58.7 percent) had a handheld computer device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

The 2013 ACS estimates are based on an annual, nationwide household sample of about 295,000 addresses per month, or nearly 3 percent of the population per year. The estimates aggregate the sample responses from Pennsylvania households collected from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013. Geographic areas for which data are available are based on total populations of 65,000 or more.

Click here to read more about the 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates for Pennsylvania.

This information was provided by the Pennsylvania State Data Center.



Free LTAP Webinar to Review FHWA Sign Requirements

Monday September 15th, 2014

Is your municipality compliant with the Federal Highway Administration's traffic sign retroreflectivity requirements?

The deadline for compliance was June 14, but you can still sign up for a free LTAP webinar on Monday, Oct. 20, to learn more about:

  • the retroreflectivity requirements
  • development of a compliance plan
  • different methods for evaluating sign retroreflectivity
  • sign inventory and management options
  • free Pennsylvania LTAP sign inventory and management program

Choose a link below to register for either the morning or afternoon session:

If you have questions, please contact Karen Atkinson or Jill Wawrzonek at katkinson@psats.org or jwawrzonek@psats.org or at (717) 763-0930.



National Drug Take Back Day Is Just Around the Corner

Wednesday September 10th, 2014

Alert your residents that the National Drug Take Back Day is just around the corner on September 27, 2014.  The federal Drug Enforcement Agency iniative provides a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of old or leftover prescription drugs, preventing them from being flushed into local waterways and educating the general public about the potential for medication abuse.

For collection locations in Pennsylvania, posters, banners, public education tools,  and more information, click here.

To learn more about emerging water contaminants and educational resources, click here.



FEMA Firefighter/EMS Grants Application Period to Open in October

Tuesday September 9th, 2014

Fire departments and emergency services organizations may apply for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants beginning in October.

Eligible applicants include fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies.

Three types of grants are offered through the program. Applicants may file under multiple categories, which include:

    • Operations and safety, including training, equipment, personal protective gear, wellness and fitness programs, and facility modification to enhance safety;
    • Vehicle acquisition, with high priority given to nontransport, nonaffiliated EMS vehicles for community paramedic services; and
    • Joint/regional projects, which are large-scale projects for any number of AFG-eligible organizations.

All AFG grantees are subject to cost share requirements based on population, and matching funds must be cash. Population categories and the required match are as follows:
    • Populations under 20,000: 5 percent of the grant total;
    • Populations between 20,000 and 1 million: 10 percent of the grant total; and
    • Populations greater than 1 million: 15 percent of the grant total.

For more information, go to www.fema.gov/assistance-firefighters-grant or call the AFG help desk toll-free at (866) 274-0960.



Upcoming Workshops Help Townships Apply for Conservation, Recreation Funding

Tuesday September 9th, 2014

Is your township planning a recreation, conservation, or community enhancement project? Plan to attend an upcoming workshop that will help potential applicants of Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) grants from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, DCNR is offering free grant workshops across the state in November. The grant program’s application period opens January 14, 2015, and closes April 16.

Participants of the grant workshops will receive guidance and updates on using the online application process and creating competitive applications. Attendees will also learn about eligible projects and the necessary documents for various project types and be able to interact with staff from the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. Township officials, park and recreation board members, and others who are involved with recreation and conservation projects are encouraged to attend one of the sessions.

The workshop dates and locations are:
    • Nov. 5 — Camp Hill Borough Building, Cumberland County
    • Nov. 6 — Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus (Fire Academy), Conshohocken
    • Nov. 18 — Pine Township Recreation Center, Wexford, Allegheny County
    • Nov. 19 — Quality Inn, Franklin, Venango County
    • Nov. 20 — Luzerne County Community College (Educational Conference Center), Nanticoke
    • Nov. 21 — Penn State Hotel and Conference Center, State College, Centre County

The workshops require preregistration. To register, go to www.apps.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp?intDivisionID=52. For more information, townships may call Linda Manning at (717) 783-4736 or email linmanning@pa.gov.



Don't Miss the Oct. 15 Deadline for PennDOT Winter Road Service Agreements

Tuesday September 2nd, 2014

Townships that want to renew or establish winter road service agreements with the state Department of Transportation should notify their Penn­DOT district maintenance office. The state office should receive all agreements by October 15 to ensure that municipalities receive prompt payment.

Under these agreements, which can have terms of up to five years, PennDOT pays municipalities an annual lump sum to remove snow and ice from secondary B, C, D, and E state roads from October 15 to April 30. Townships are expected to provide the same amount of snow removal to state roads as their own.

PennDOT must approve all contracts before townships begin this winter maintenance. The department will automatically apply increases in the reimbursement rate to the township’s contract and, in the event of a harsh winter, may continue to make payments after the season.

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 employee benefits.

Townships should also consider the legal ramifications of entering into such an agreement and review these contracts with their solicitor.

Fifteen percent of state roads are maintained through service agreements with townships and other municipalities.

For more information, call your PennDOT district maintenance office. 



Old PSATS Member Passwords Expire Sept. 30: Create Your New Member Portal Account Now!

Tuesday September 2nd, 2014

The passwords that townships have been using to access the members-only portion of the PSATS website expire on September 30. The new sign-on will provide access not only to the secure areas of the website but also to the new PSATS Portal, a secure online database that stores member information in one convenient location.

Even if you have never used the members-only areas of the website (you should; there's great information there!), it is critical that you create an account in the PSATS Portal. This portal provides PSATS with contact information for all township supervisors and employees. It also allows you to access, update, and review all of your contact information at your convenience.

The key to providing members with accurate, consolidated information is having data for each person linked to a single, unique email address. If your township creates a PSATS Portal account using just one email address for the entire board of supervisors and employees, for example, it will be missing out on much of the functionality the portal offers. Plus, if you use just one email address for multiple people, you may receive numerous copies of a single email from PSATS.

To create your PSATS Portal account:

  1. Go to the PSATS Portal.
  2. Click "Create a User Account."
  3. Enter your name, email, and zip code.

Consider attending our free PSATS Portal webinar on Sept. 17 from 10-11 a.m. to learn more and get all of your portal questions answered.



PMGA Prepares Township Officials for Leadership

Tuesday September 2nd, 2014

Attention elected and township officials and staff! Are you prepared for all the challenges you may encounter in your role with your township? Are you looking for resources to arm you with the skills and knowledge that will help you become the best leader you can be?

The PSATS Municipal Government Academy is here to help. PMGA provides an optimum training experience that focuses on topics in four categories:

  • administration,
  • planning,
  • public safety, and
  • public works.

Over three years, you will work to earn credits for graduation and will receive acknowledgment at the PSATS Annual Conference and recognition in your own community through local media notification.

Learn more about the Academy and download a PMGA application form here or call the Association at (717) 763-0930 for more information.
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