Register for the March 24 PRPS Park Resource & Maintenance Workshop
Township officials and employees are invited to attend a Park Resource & Maintenance workshop Tuesday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Lancaster Marriott.
Sponsored by the Park Resource Branch of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, the morning will feature on-site product demonstrations and service workshops presented by some of the leading vendors and speakers in parks and recreation.
The afternoon session, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., will feature a tour of Lancaster County’s Central Park, home to a wide variety of park facilities and amenities.
The cost is $30 per person and includes a boxed lunch.
PSATS on Severance Tax: Preserve Funding for Municipalities
On Wednesday, Feb. 11, Gov. Tom Wolf released additional details about his plan to enact a natural gas severance tax in Pennsylvania. The following statement is from David M. Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.
“Pennsylvania has serious fiscal issues, but PSATS is concerned that many see a severance tax as the solution to all of the state’s problems. Local impacts, environmental protection, pensions, public safety, human services, and education funding all lay claim to these potential dollars.
“Meanwhile, Act 13 requires that, if enacted, a severance tax would eliminate the local natural gas impact fee. Since 2011, this funding has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars to townships and other municipalities for transportation, public safety, the environment, flood control, water and sewer systems, and recreational facilities.
“PSATS is very concerned about the loss of these local impact fee revenues, which are invaluable to our townships and their taxpayers. The natural gas industry has helped and should continue to help communities that have been affected by drilling and the costs associated with this economic development opportunity.
“That said, Gov. Wolf’s proposal represents a first step in the dialogue, and PSATS is committed to ensuring that any plan doesn’t change the distribution model for municipalities that are currently receiving impact fee revenues. We commend Gov. Wolf’s commitment to this position as evidenced in his policy statement to the Legislature, where he said: ‘My proposal would continue the payments made to communities impacted by drilling that are currently funded by the impact fee.’
“We look forward to working with the Legislature and the governor to preserve this valuable community resource that helps to keep local property taxes down.”
Ginni Linn, Director of Communications
Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors
(717) 763-0930 (office)
(717) 805-3588 (cell)
PSATS Executive Director Looks at Municipal Pension Status on 'Behind the Headlines'
In the latest installment of "Behind the Headlines," a program produced by the Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy, PSATS Executive Director Dave Sanko offers his view on the status of municipal pensions in Pennsylvania.
He points out that less than 1 percent of municipal pensions in the commonwealth are severely distressed – and yet, some are still calling for those plans to be consolidated. Given the fact that the single statewide pension funds for commonwealth employees and teachers are more than $50 billion in debt, Sanko says, "I’m pretty sure the single statewide solution isn’t the way to go."
DEP Offers Free MS4 Training Sessions
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection invites municipal managers, other public officials, and engineers to attend free training sessions on compliance with water pollution control requirements for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4).
The training sessions will be held across the state this winter. The first four sessions will provide information on the basics of MS4 permit compliance. The second four sessions will emphasize additional MS4 requirements that apply to MS4 permittees with Total Maximum Daily Load and Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan obligations.
MS4 Permit Compliance Sessions:
- Feb. 10 – Best Western, Central Hotel and Conference Center, 800 East Park Drive, Harrisburg
- Feb. 12 – The Woodlands Inn, 1073 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre
- Feb. 18 – Holiday Inn, Morgantown/PA Turnpike, 6170 Morgantown Road, Morgantown
- Feb. 25 – Pittsburgh Marriott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township
TMDL Plan / Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan Sessions:
- March 17 – Holiday Inn Lansdale, 1750 Sumneytown Pike, Kulpsville
- March 19 – Inn at Leola Village, 38 Deborah Drive, Leola
- March 25 – The Woodlands Inn, 1073 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre
- April 1 – Pittsburgh Marriott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township
Each session will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with sign-in at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is included.
Space is limited, so registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Preregistration is required.
To register, contact Joyce Rivers at Century Engineering, Inc., at 717-901-7055 or MS4Workshop@centuryeng.com. Deadline for registration is two weeks before the date of the session.
Sign Up for COSTARS Salt Contract By March 15
Townships should be sure to sign up for next winter’s COSTARS road salt contract by March 15. This program has helped more than a thousand municipalities cut their costs and guarantee adequate supplies.
Participate by completing the program’s 2015-2016 Salt Participation Agreement, which is posted on the COSTARS members page. Under the contract, the state Department of General Services will secure more than 1 million tons of salt this year for the state Department of Transportation and local governments.
[Note: While only registered members may participate in the commonwealth’s salt contract, it takes just minutes for townships to sign up for COSTARS, the state’s cooperative purchasing program. To learn more, go to the COSTARS website or call toll-free (866) 768-7827.]
Participation continues to grow
Last year’s salt contract had a record 1,584 COSTARS members sign agreements for 828,857 tons of salt. That represents an increase of 57 members over the previous year and a 16 percent increase in salt tonnage.
The collective buying power of COSTARS has produced lower costs for participants. The practice of bidding in the spring, plus the large tonnage, has resulted in Pennsylvania’s ability to maintain lower salt prices than in neighboring states.
However, after one of the longest, iciest, and snowiest winters the year before, the price of road salt increased an average of 9 percent last year. Eight counties saw an increase of less than 5 percent, while 15 counties saw an increase of more than 12 percent for the 2014-2015 season.
Contracts are flexible
To participate in next season’s salt contract, townships must fill out a simple one-page document that can be completed and submitted electronically.
Although legally binding, the contract has built-in flexibility. For example, participants are obligated to purchase only 60 percent of their stated needs but may buy up to 140 percent at the contracted price. Townships may use liquid fuels funds to purchase the materials.
DGS goes to bid in the spring and awards the salt contracts, by county, in July. The contract is posted on the COSTARS website in early August.
COSTARS members may realize additional savings, too, by piggybacking on more than 250 other state contracts for such commodities and services as tires, computers, gasoline, aggregates, vehicles, power equipment, office supplies, food, and equipment maintenance. Townships should note that the road salt contract is the only COSTARS agreement that requires an advance commitment.
Enter PennDOT's 2015 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition
Have you or one of your coworkers recently built an innovative gadget or developed a better way to do a road-related job? If so, now is the time to show off a project your municipality is proud of in the Build a Better Mousetrap Competition.
PennDOT is looking for projects that you, your employees, or crew designed and built. That can include the development of tools, equipment modifications, and/or processes that increase safety, reduce cost, improve efficiency, and improve the quality of transportation.
If you have something you think would qualify for this competition, submit your entry by Friday, March 6, 2015.
Entries will be judged by a committee of municipal road employees on:
- savings/benefits to the community;
- transferability to others; and
The winning entry will be submitted to a regional and national competition to compete for recognition and, of course, bragging rights. Winners of the national competition will be announced at the annual LTAP/TTAP national conference this summer. All entries at the national level will be posted on the LTAP/TTAP program website and compiled into an electronic booklet.
See this brochure for more information, including the 2014 winning entries and runners-up.(Congratulations to 2014 winner Upper Nazareth Township in Northampton County and to runners-up Lafayette Township in McKean County and Bushkill Township in Northampton County.)
If you have questions, please email email@example.com or call her at (717) 763-0930, ext. 156.