News Archive


Do Your Part to Get an Accurate Census of Your Township

Wednesday October 18th, 2017
You can help ensure an accurate census count by taking part in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Operation. This is a once-a-decade, voluntary program that allows communities to review and comment on the bureau’s residential address list for their municipality before the 2020 Census.
 
This is the only opportunity for townships to verify that the address lists used for the upcoming census are as accurate as possible.
 
The deadline to register to participate in LUCA is December 15, 2017. Townships are encouraged to take part because certain funding, such as liquid fuels reimbursement, Act 13, and recycling grants, is based on the actual population counts, which will impact your township for the next decade.
 
For more information on LUCA, go to www.census.gov and choose “Geography” at the top of the page and then “Partnerships.”


Grants Can Help Protect Your Trout Streams

Wednesday October 18th, 2017
Townships that have trout streams and other coldwater ecosystems may apply for grants from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership, which provides technical assistance and funding for the evaluation, conservation, and protection of Pennsylvania’s streams. Applications are due by December 15, 2017.
 
• Planning grants provide funding to develop a conservation plan that identifies the value of and threats to coldwater ecosystems with naturally reproducing trout. The information collected can be used as a catalyst for more comprehensive planning or watershed improvement projects. Planning grants average about $5,000.
 
• Implementation grants fund projects that have been recommended in a complete conservation plan or report. Potential projects must enhance, conserve, or protect the coldwater stream named in the original plan. The grants average about $7,000.
 
For more information, guidelines, and applications, go to www.coldwaterheritage.org/grant-application-and-guidelines or call program director Tali MacArthur at (814) 359-5233.
 


New EPA Tool Helps Communities Find Funding for Water Infrastructure

Wednesday October 18th, 2017
Townships that are looking for ways to finance drinking water, waste water, and stormwater infrastructure can turn to a new web-based portal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Water Financing Clearinghouse is a searchable database that lists more than $10 billion in water funding sources and more than 550 resources, such as reports, websites, and webinars, to support local water infrastructure projects.
 
The portal consolidates and expands existing EPA-supported databases to create a one-stop-shop for all community water funding needs. It was developed by the agency’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, which helps local leaders make informed decisions to achieve public health and environmental goals.
 
The Clearinghouse includes state, federal, local, and foundation funding sources, as well as information on public-private partnerships, asset management practices, revenue models, and affordability approaches. It is updated in real time using a crowd-sourcing model. 
 
States, federal agencies, and other water-sector stakeholders may suggest edits and new resources or funding at any time and also manage how their programs and initiatives are displayed in the portal.
 
For more information, go to www.epa.gov/waterfinance­center/water-finance-clearinghouse.


Free Workshops, Webinars Explain DCNR's C2P2 Grant Program

Wednesday October 18th, 2017
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, will host workshops in November across the commonwealth to explain the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2).
 
The C2P2 grant program’s application period will open January 23, 2018, and close April 12, 2018. 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.
 
Each workshop’s second half will have breakout sessions on the following topics:
 
• community recreation planning;
 
• community recreation development;
 
• trail planning, acquisition, and development; and
 
• land acquisition for recreation and/or conservation.
 
Following are the dates and locations for the workshops:
 
NOV 8 - Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke
 
NOV 14 - Trinity Point Church of God, Clarion, Clarion County
 
NOV 15 - Hampton Twp. Community Center, Allison Park, Allegheny County
 
NOV 16 - Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell 
 
NOV 21 - Penn Stater Hotel and Convention Center, State College, Centre County
 
Workshops will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. To register, go to http://events.dcnr.pa.gov.
 
Following are the dates and titles of the webinars:
 
DEC 13 - DCNR Grants for Recreation, Conservation, Trail, and Riparian Buffer Projects
 
JAN 11 - DCNR’s Statewide and Regional Partnership Grant Program
 
The webinars will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. For more information about the webinars or registering, contact Jim Young at (717) 783-2712 or jwyoung@pa.gov.


Grants Help Townships Assess, Clean Up Brownfields

Monday October 16th, 2017
Townships that have sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum, may apply for grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess and clean up the sites. The deadline for applications is November 16.
 
Two categories of brownfields funding are available:
 
• Assessment grants provide funds to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning (including cleanup planning) and encourage community involvement in brownfield sites.
 
• Cleanup grants provide funds to clean up a specific brownfield site owned by the applicant.
 
Guidelines for each funding category are available here.
 
For more information or to discuss the eligibility of a project, contact EPA Region 3 Brownfields Coordinator Fred Felicia at (215) 814-5524 or Fred.Felicia@epa.gov.


Money Available for Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Projects

Monday October 16th, 2017
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced the availability of about $1 million in grants to support the installation of publicly accessible alternative fuel infrastructure projects in designated major transportation corridors.
 
Examples of eligible projects include electric vehicle charging stations, compressed natural gas refueling stations and propane refueling stations. All projects must be fully accessible to the public and be located within the designated alternative fuel corridors of I-76, I-276, I-476, I-70, I-95, and I-80.
 
The funding is made possible through the Commonwealth’s FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act. This special solicitation under the AFIG (Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants) Program is designed to provide long-term certainty for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investments.
 
Individual project awards will provide up to a 50 percent reimbursement and be capped at $500,000. Proposed projects must be stand-alone and cannot rely on receiving funding from multiple applications. For additional application requirements and restrictions, please visit the AFIG website.
 
Paper applications only should be submitted to the DEP Grant Center, 15th Floor Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Box 8776, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8776. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. November 17, 2017. The grant solicitation may be extended or re-opened at DEP's discretion.


Streamside Tree-Planting Grants Available Through DCNR

Monday October 9th, 2017
Townships that would like to improve stream buffers may apply for some of the $1 million in PENNVEST-funded grants that are being made available to assist landowners with planting trees along streams in Pennsylvania to improve water quality. The grant application period also includes $250,000 for trails and projects related to the use of snowmobiles and ATVs. The grants are available through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Community Conservation Partnership Program, or C2P2, funding. The application period for these grants closes December 20.
 
Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of streamside buffers by 2025.
 
To expand on the existing streamside buffer options for landowners, DCNR is piloting a multi-functional buffer option that is eligible for these grant dollars to provide greater flexibility in landowner eligibility, buffer designs, widths, plant species and offer the option of planting some income-producing crops in the buffer zone. For the PENNVEST-funded grants, multi-functional buffers are preferred but not required.
  
Individual landowners, businesses, non-profits, local government, and educational institutions are all eligible for the buffer grants, but must be prequalified. Information about how to prequalify is available online on the DCNR grant portal. 
 
Funding for snowmobile/ATV projects is through the ATV Management Restricted Account and the Snowmobile Management Restricted Account as authorized by Act 97 of 2016. The accounts are supported by registration fees.
 
Trail projects include acquisition, planning, development, rehabilitation, or maintenance of designated routes on land for motorized recreation activities. This includes the purchase of equipment for trail construction or maintenance.
 
DCNR Bureau of Forestry service foresters located in each of the 20 forest districts statewide can assist landowners with information about planting forest buffers.
 
Forest buffers along stream banks provide critical barriers between polluting landscapes and receiving waterways. Properly planted and maintained, streamside tree and shrub plantings filter the runoff of sediments and the fertilizers that are applied to lawns and crops; control erosion; improve water quality; reduce flooding; cool stream temperatures; and improve fish habitat.
 
Interested applicants should visit the DCNR grant portal.


Nominate a Project for the Governor's Awards for Local Government Excellence

Sunday October 1st, 2017
PSATS is asking its members to nominate projects for the 2018 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 1.
 
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.
 
The deadline for nominations is December 1. To learn more about the judging criteria for each category, view past award winners, and submit a nomination, click here.


Federal Form I-9 Receives Update: Get the New Edition

Monday September 25th, 2017
Federal Form I-9, which must be used to verify the identity of new employees, was recently updated. As of September 18, 2017, only the most current version (dated July 2017) may be used. The edition date is located at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. For copies of this form and the instructions, go to https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.


Got Traffic Signals? Grant Applications Being Accepted

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The state Department of Transportation is accepting applications for up to $40 million in grant funds for traffic signal maintenance and operation activities until November 9, 2017. Municipalities and metropolitan or rural planning organizations are eligible to apply for the Green Light - Go program. A 20 percent funding match is required.
 
For more information or to apply, go to www.penndot.gov and choose “Travel in PA” and then “Traffic Signals, Management.” Questions should be directed to Daniel Farley, Manager, Traffic Operations Deployment and Maintenance at ra-pdsignalfunding@pa.gov or (717) 783-0333.


Budget Now to Attend PSATS' 96th Annual Conference!

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The PSATS 96th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show offers great value for little cost! Participants realize the benefits of attending and the return on investment throughout the year. Make the most of your budget dollars and plan to attend the Annual Conference in Hershey, April 22-25, 2018.
 
And keep in mind these important dates for the 2018 PSATS Educational Conference:
 
• November 30, 2017 — Deadline for townships to update all PSATS member information.
 
• December 1, 2017 (Early Access) — Log onto conference.psats.org for detailed conference information and registration materials.
 
• December 14, 2017 — Information and registration materials will be sent to township secretaries, supervisors, and members who have elected to received correspondence by mail.
 
• January 16, 2018 — First day to register! Conference registration and hotel reservation system opens at 9 a.m.
 
To facilitate conference online registration, gather PSATS ID numbers for all of your attendees now!
 
As always, you may contact PSATS for assistance or information at any time. For general conference questions, email conference@psats.org or call (717) 763-0930, ext. 189.
 


Submit Your Comments on Appeal/Rewrite of Federal WOTUS Rule

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will accept written comments until November 28, 2017, on a
revised definition of the "waters of the U.S." To submit recommendations, go to www.regulations.gov, follow the instructions, and note Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480.


Tell Your Residents About State's Septic Loan Program

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
Townships that have residents with onlot septic systems are urged to let them know about the Homeowner Septic Loan Program, provided through a partnership of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
 
Homeowners with onlot systems may apply for low-interest, fixed-rate loans to help them fix a malfunctioning system or hook up to a public sewer system. Loans are available for:
• repairing or replacing on-lot septic systems;
• connecting an existing home to a public sewer system for the first time; or
• repairing or replacing an existing lateral to a public sewer system.
 
Eligible homeowners can acquire loans at a fixed rate for the life of the loan; current rates are as low as 1.75 percent. The maximum loan amount is $25,000, and there are no household income limits in 2017. Homeowners have up to 20 years to repay the loan balance (up to 15 years for manufactured homes).
 
Townships are encouraged to include information about the loan program in any municipal sewage planning sessions and distribute brochures about the program at their municipal building, local businesses, libraries, and public meetings.
 
Sewage enforcement officials should be urged to leave a brochure with the homeowner whenever they issue a citation about an onlot system.
 
For more information or brochures, call PHFA at (855) 827-3466 or go to www.phfa.org.


USDA Offers Financial Assistance for Rural Townships

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
USDA Rural Development offers three programs for rural municipalities to provide community facilities, safe drinking water, and water and waste disposal systems. The programs have rolling deadlines, so rural townships may apply at any time.
 
• The community facilities direct loan and grant program provides low-interest loans and grants to help rural areas develop essential community facilities for education, health care, public safety, and public services. The loans feature low interest rates, long terms (40 years on buildings and 10 to 20 years on vehicles), and no loan fees. 
 
Eligible borrowers include municipalities with a population under 20,000 and nonprofit organizations headquartered in a municipality with a population under 20,000.
 
For more information, contact Michael Ward, community facilities program director, at (717) 237-2291 or click here.
 
• The emergency community water assistance grants help rural communities that have experienced — or expect to experience — a significant decline in quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency or disaster. The funds help these municipalities meet the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
 
For more information, contact USDA Rural Development’s Pennsylvania office at (717) 237-2299 or click here.
 
• The USDA water and waste disposal loans and grants provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage in rural areas and towns with a population of up to 10,000. Applicants must be unable to obtain financing from other sources at rates and terms they can afford and/or from their own resources.
 
For more information, contact Barb Lukens, community program specialist, at (717) 237-2294 or click here.