News Archive


What's on Dave's Mind?

Monday April 17th, 2017

PSATS Executive Director Dave Sanko had lots to talk about -- budgets, pensions, and firefighting -- on the latest episode of Behind the Headlines. Watch it here.



Funding Available to Help Clean Up the Bay

Monday April 10th, 2017

Townships in the Chesapeake Bay watershed may be eligible for grants from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which has $8 million to $10 million available. The deadline for proposals is May 9.

Grants will be awarded in two categories:

• Small watershed grants of $20,000 to $200,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and local governments working to protect and improve local waters that contribute to the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay while building citizen-based resource stewardship. These grants require minimum non-federal matching contributions of one-third of the grant request. All 2017 grant projects must be completed within two years of the grant award.

• Innovative nutrient and sediment reduction grants of $200,000 to $500,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, local governments, universities, and state agencies that demonstrate innovative approaches to accelerate adoption of the most cost-effective and sustainable nutrient and sediment pollution load reductions to the Chesapeake Bay.

These grants encourage non-federal matching contributions of 100 percent of the total grant request. Projects under these grants must be completed within three years of the grant award.  

All grant proposals must address at least one of the following conservation objectives:

1) Restore and protect vital habitats.

2) Improve conservation on private lands.

3) Improve urban stormwater management.

For more information about this grant program, go to www.nfwf.org, choose “What We Do” at the top of the page, and click on “Grants” or call (202) 857-0166.



Technical Help Available for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fleets

Monday April 10th, 2017

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting applications from vehicle fleet owners who are interested in maximizing the economic and environmental benefits of alternative fuel use in their fleets. The deadline for applications is June 1.

The Alternative Fuels Technical Assistance (AFTA) is not a grant program. Through this initiative, DEP assigns a qualified, professional consulting firm to work directly with eligible organizations to develop technically viable and economically sustainable alternative fueling strategies.

Alternative fuels considered under this program may include natural gas, electricity, propane, hydrogen, hythane, ethanol, methanol, and other advanced biofuels.

Eligible organizations are political subdivisions, nonprofit organizations, municipal authorities, and school districts. An eligible entity can apply alone or team up with other eligible partners for a multi-organization project to enhance the energy, economic, and environmental benefits of alternative fuels.

Townships may apply to DEP by completing an application and providing basic fleet and operational details. For more information and a link to the application, go to www.dep.pa.gov, hover over “Citizens” at the top of the page and click on “Grants, Loans, and Rebates,” and then select “Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant” in the box on the right.

For help with the application, townships may contact Geoff Bristow of DEP’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance at (814) 332-6681 or gbristow@pa.gov.



Financial Interest Statements Due May 1

Monday April 10th, 2017

As required by the state Ethics Act, all elected and most appointed public officials must file an annual financial interests statement for 2016 with their township by May 1.

“Public officials” include anyone who has the authority to spend public funds, other than reimbursement for per­son­al expenses, or to otherwise exercise the power of the state or any political subdivision.

Public officials and public employees must also file a statement the year after they leave public office for their final year in office. Statements of financial interests must be filed on a form provided by the State Ethics Commission.

Those required to file must provide all requested information to the best of their knowledge and sign the form under oath. Disclosure requires identifying sources of income, not amounts.

Townships are required to keep the statements on file for five years and make them available to the public on request during regular business hours.

The commission mails 10 to 20 forms to township secretaries in late December. Additional forms may be obtained from the commission any time, from the county board of elections during election years, or by visiting www.ethics.pa.gov, which also features information about the commission and updates on the Ethics Act.

Public officials may file online at the Ethics Commission’s website; however, they must submit a copy or a paper version of the form to the township.

Township officials with questions or comments on filing statements should call the State Ethics Commission toll-free at (800) 932-0936.

For more information about filing requirements and other aspects of the law, turn to PSATS’ new Ethics Act Manual. This compliance guide covers everything township officials and staff need to know about complying with the law and also contains the latest court decisions and Ethics Commission advisories and opinions. To order, click here.



Grants Available for Water, Greenway, Recreation Projects

Monday April 10th, 2017

Townships that have water-related projects, greenways and trails, or recreation projects may apply for funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). All of the grants come from the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund and have an application deadline of May 31.

The water-related project grants fall under several categories:

• Watershed restoration and protection program, for projects that restore streams impaired by uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source pollution or maintain already restored streams.

• Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) abatement and treatment program, for projects involving the reclamation of abandoned mine wells; construction of abandoned mine drainage sites; operation and maintenance or remediation and repair of existing AMD sites; establishment of a trust fund to ensure ongoing maintenance of a site; and water quality monitoring to trace nonpoint source load reductions.

• Orphaned or abandoned well-plugging program, for projects that clean out and plug abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells, stray gas mediation systems, and well-venting activities.

• Sewage facilities program, to help cover the costs of sewage facilities planning under Act 537.

• Flood mitigation program, for projects that are authorized by a flood protection author­ity, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service or are identified by a local government for flood mitigation.

Grants are also available for projects that involve the development, rehabilitation, and/or improvement of public parks, recreation areas, greenways, and trails, as well as river conservation activities and flood mitigation projects.

For more information about any of these grants, call the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245 or click here.

Applicants are strongly urged to contact their state House and Senate members to inform them that they plan to submit an application for funding under these programs.



Funding Available for Solar Energy Projects

Monday April 10th, 2017

Townships that want to install solar energy generating equipment may apply for loans from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) under the Solar Energy Program. The deadline for applications is May 12.

The program is jointly administered by the CFA and state Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Community and Economic Development (DCED). Eligible projects include facilities to generate, distribute, or store solar photovoltaic energy. The maximum loan may not exceed $5 million or $3 per watt, whichever is less. There is a match requirement of $1 for every $3 awarded and a $100 non-refundable application fee.

For more information, call DCED’s Center for Business Financing at (717) 787-6245 or click here.



Funding Available for Rural Fire Departments

Tuesday March 7th, 2017

Rural or volunteer fire departments that serve communities with fewer than 10,000 people are eligible for funding from the U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Departments in townships with more than 10,000 people may apply as long as the department covers a rural area or community with a maximum population of 10,000. Applications will be accepted March 7 through May 19.

The grants, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, help rural fire departments organize, train, and equip firefighters to prevent and suppress fires that threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands, farmsteads, or other improvements in rural areas. The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property in rural areas.

This is a cost-share program. Financial assistance on any project during any fiscal year may not exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures, including those of local, public and private nonprofit organizations participating in the agreement. The maximum grant award is $7,500.
Grants may be used to purchase wildfire suppression equipment, protective gear, mobile or portable radios; install dry hydrants; prevent and mitigate wildfires; or attend wildfire training. Funds may also be used to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles received from the Bureau of Forestry and used for fire suppression.

Priority will be given to projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective gear. Grants may not be used for structural fire equipment or protective gear, supply hose larger than 2½ inches in diameter, structures, routine maintenance of vehicles not received from the Bureau of Forestry, medical services, ambulance services, fire police equipment and gear, or search and rescue equipment and gear.

Applications must be submitted online. For updated grant program deadlines and to apply for a grant, click here.



Grants Available for Rural Volunteer Fire Departments

Wednesday March 1st, 2017

Rural or volunteer fire departments that serve communities with fewer than 10,000 people are eligible for funding from the U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Departments in townships with more than 10,000 people may apply as long as the department covers a rural area or community with a maximum population of 10,000. Applications will be accepted March 7 through May 19.

The grants, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, help rural fire departments organize, train, and equip firefighters to prevent and suppress fires that threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands, farmsteads, or other improvements in rural areas. The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property in rural areas.

This is a cost-share program. Financial assistance on any project during any fiscal year may not exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures, including those of local, public and private nonprofit organizations participating in the agreement. The maximum grant award is $7,500.

Grants may be used to purchase wildfire suppression equipment, protective gear, mobile or portable radios; install dry hydrants; prevent and mitigate wildfires; or attend wildfire training. Funds may also be used to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles received from the Bureau of Forestry and used for fire suppression.

Priority will be given to projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective gear. Grants may not be used for structural fire equipment or protective gear, supply hose larger than 2½ inches in diameter, structures, routine maintenance of vehicles not received from the Bureau of Forestry, medical services, ambulance services, fire police equipment and gear, or search and rescue equipment and gear.

Applications must be submitted online. Beginning March 7, click here for updated grant program deadlines and to apply for a grant.