Recreation and Park Society Event Offers Inspiration for Local Officials
Township officials and recreation board members who want to improve their recreation programs can gain inspiration and knowledge at the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society’s (PRPS) 70th Annual Conference, scheduled for March 26-29 at the Hershey Lodge. Early bird rates are available through February 20.
This year’s conference theme is “All-Inclusive Adventure” and features motivational speakers, educational sessions and workshops, exhibitors, and recreational and networking opportunities.
Speakers will include:
• PRPS CEO Tim Herd, an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who will discuss his Game Plan for High Performance;
• Jody Urquhart, who will share her expertise on the importance of fun and meaningful work environments;
• comedic duo Tim Wambach and Mike Berkson, whose presentation "Handicap This!" will challenge your thinking, wake up your attitude, and prepare yout o tackle any obstacle; and
• Dr. Andrew Mowen, the lead researcher for the state's award-winning 2014-2019 outdoor recreation plan, who will speak on the future of parks and recreation in Pennsylvania.
Environmental Grants Available for American Water Customers
Townships in American Water's service areas may apply for funding under the company's 2017 Environmental Grant Program. The program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental partnership projects that improve, restore, or protect watersheds, surface water, or groundwater supplies. Applications must be postmarked by March 27.
To qualify, projects must:
• address a source water or watershed protection need in the community;
• be completed between May 1, 2017, and November 30, 2017;
• be a new or innovative program or a significant expansion to an existing program in the community;
• be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations; and
• be sustainable.
Click here for more information and application requirements.
Budget Analysis: State Police Fees, Severance Tax Back on the Table
Gov. Tom Wolf released his 2017-18 budget proposal on Tuesday. Two major issues were included that, if enacted, will impact townships.
- A per-capita fee on State Police services:Wolf has proposed a $25 per-capita fee on municipalities that rely exclusively on the State Police for protection. PSATS opposes any plan, including a per-capita fee, that would mandate townships to pay for State Police services. However, PSATS does support legislation that would allow townships to voluntarily contract with the State Police for patrol and ordinance enforcement services.
- A natural gas severance tax:The governor’s proposed budget would also impose a 6.5-percent severance tax on natural gas extraction. The plan includes a credit for the local natural gas impact fee, which has benefitted municipalities throughout Pennsylvania. While it appears the governor’s intent is to keep the impact fee in place, the complete details of the governor’s proposal haven’t been released. PSATS is working to ensure that the proposal does not reduce the allocation or amount of impact fees distributed to municipalities.
Note: PSATS staff will give a more detailed analysis of the 2017-18 state budget during a free member’s only webinar from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Thursday, February 9. To register, click here. If you are unable to participate in the live discussion, the webinar is being recorded and will be posted at connect.psats.org. Click on "Education" and choose "Members Only."
Funding Available for Recreation and Conservation Projects
Townships may apply for financial assistance with recreation and conservation projects under the Community Conservation Partnership Program, or C2P2. The deadline for applications is April 16.
Funded through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), these grants are awarded to such projects as the rehabilitation and development of parks and recreation facilities; land acquisition for parks and conservation; and technical assistance for feasibility and trail studies and site development planning.
Successful applicants must adhere to DCNR’s guiding action plan and three basic tenets:
• promoting statewide conservation;
• building and maintaining sustainable communities; and
• creating outdoor connections for citizens and visitors.
To apply online, go to www.grants.dcnr.state.pa.us. For more information, call grants customer service toll-free at (800) 326-7734.
Nominate Your Joint Project for PSATS’ Intergovernmental Cooperation Awards
Did your township partner with neighboring municipalities and/or the state and federal governments to complete a project in 2016? If so, submit a description for consideration in PSATS’ Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Awards Program. Submissions are due by March 24.
Presented in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments (PACOG), the contest recognizes townships that work with other government entities to complete projects more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Eligible activities include but are not limited to:
• joint road or bridge construction/replacement;
• intermunicipal parks and recreation projects;
• regional stormwater projects;
• equipment/manpower sharing programs;
• joint comprehensive plans;
• public safety cooperatives; and
• intermunicipal recycling and/or illegal dump remediation programs.
Winners will receive their awards at PSATS’ Annual Educational Conference in April and will be the subject of a Township News article.
For more information or to submit a project, call Melissa Morgan at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 178, or email email@example.com.
Sign Up for COSTARS Salt Contract by March 15
Townships have until March 15 to complete COSTAR's 2017-2018 Salt Participation Agreement, which is posted on the COSTARS members page at www.dgs.pa.gov. 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.
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.
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.
For more information about COSTARS, go to www.dgs.pa.gov and click on “Cooperative Purchasing/COSTARS” in the “Business Links” column or call toll-free (866) 768-7827.
Nominate Public Works Projects, Professionals for APWA Awards
Townships that completed public works projects last year or have exceptional public works employees may want to nominate them for a 2017 American Public Works Association Award. Applications are due by March 1.
In addition to honoring its chapter leaders and members, the APWA sponsors competitions open to the entire public works industry, including:
• Top 10 Public Works Leaders of the Year, which recognizes the outstanding career achievements of professionals and officials in the public and private sectors.
• Public Works Project of the Year, which honors excellence in project management and administration by recognizing the alliance among the managing agency, the engineers, and the contractor.
Awards are given in five categories: structures, transportation, environment, historic restoration/preservation, and disaster or emergency construction/repair. Each category is divided based on the cost of the project (less than $5 million, $5 million to $25 million, $25 million to $75 million, and more than $75 million).
• Public Works Project of the Year for Small Cities/Rural Communities, which recognizes creativity, ingenuity, and efficiency in projects that have a profound impact on the community.
Projects are honored in the categories of structures, transportation, environment, historic restoration/preservation, and disaster or emergency construction/repair. Awards are based on the impact to the community, rather than the cost of the project.
• Technical Innovation Award and Management Innovation Award, which recognize an individual, team, or organization for the development and implementation of a creative idea, device, process, or system that enhances public works in serving the public and protecting the environment.
• Exceptional Performance Award, which recognizes individuals, teams, and organizations whose work in emergency response, journalism, or safety has increased public awareness of the public works profession.
• Diversity Exemplary Practices Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to diversity. Awards are given in two categories: individuals and programs/organizations.
• Sustainability Practices Award, which recognizes individuals, teams, or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to promote sustainability in public works. Sustainability is accomplished by the efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best choice in the long term.
Entries are accepted from federal, state, or local governments; educational and nonprofit institutions; and private-sector organizations.
Winners of the Top 10 Public Works Leaders of the Year will receive a plaque during National Public Works Week, May 21-27. All other winners will be recognized at PWX (Public Works Expo) in Orlando, Fla., August 27-30, 2017.
All nominations must be submitted electronically at www.apwa.net (choose the “About” tab and click on “Awards”). For more information, call Rhonda Wilhite toll-free at (800) 848-2792, ext. 5261, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHMC Accepting Applications for Historic Preservation Grants
Local governments and nonprofits may apply for a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). Applications are due March 1, 2017.
The grant program supports projects that identify, preserve, promote, and protect historic and archaeological resources in the commonwealth to benefit the public and revitalize communities. The grants receive funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund. A total of $1.5 million is available.
Two categories of grants, project and construction, are available for historic resources that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants may apply for only one category of grant.
Project grants are available for planning and development initiatives that enhance historic preservation in communities. Applications may include municipal planning initiatives focusing on historic resources or plans to meet building- or project-specific goals. Project grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and require a 50 percent cash match.
Construction grants are available for rehabilitation, preservation, and restoration activities for publically accessible historic resources that are owned by a nonprofit or local government. Grants range from $5,000 to $100,000 and require a 50 percent cash match.
Grants are awarded through a competitive selection process and are contingent upon funding availability. Applicants must use the web-based grant application process (eGrant). For program guidelines and eGrant instructions, go to www.phmc.pa.gov, choose the "Preservation" tab at the top, and click on "Grants and Funding."
Webinars explain grant program
PHMC will host two free webinars about the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program's guidelines and application process. The webinar will help participants understand eligibility and funding requirements, become familiar with the eGrant system, and learn the difference between good and not-so-good projects. Participants will also be able to ask questions and learn from other participants.
Webinars are scheduled at the following times:
• January 19, 2-3 p.m.
• January 24, 10-11 a.m.
To register for one of the webinars, call PHMC's Karen Arnold at (717) 783-9927 or email email@example.com.
Funding Available to Extend Broadband to Rural Communities
Rural townships that need broadband internet access may apply for funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Connect Grants. The deadline for applications is March 13, 2017.
This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically feasible for private-sector providers to deliver service. Eligible rural areas are those that lack existing broadband speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.
Funds may be used for:
• the construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land, or buildings used to provide broadband service for a) all residential and business customers located in the proposed funded service area and b) all participaing critical community facilities, such as public schools, fire stations, and public libraries and/or
• the cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the critical community facilities for two years.
Less than 10 percent of the grant amount, or up to $150,000, may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public.
Grants require matching funds of at least 15 percent from non-federal sources, which may be used for operating costs.
Click here for more information and resources.
DEP Offers Funding for Stormwater Management Projects
Program promotes best management practices
Townships in Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, and York counties may be eligible for stormwater project grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP is offering grants up to $200,000 to municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for projects that implement best management practices to reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment pollution in local waterways.
The program is available to townships, counties, cities, boroughs, incorporated towns, and municipal authorities.
Examples of eligible projects include raingardens, bioswales, urban nutrient management/tree planting, vegetated open channels/roofs, and wet ponds and wetland preservation. The projects can be located on public or private property.
Applicants can be eligible for grants of up to $200,000, and no local matching funds are required. Funding for the projects is competitive and the department will apply a scoring system when awarding the grant money. The application must include a description of the project and timetable for the work. Grant applications are due by March 3, 2017.
Click here for application instructions and eligibility. Other parties that wish to obtain funding for a stormwater project are encouraged to approach the eligible local entity where the project would be located and offer to assist with the project application and management.
The grant program is federally funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the department.
Grants will be awarded on September 1, 2017.
Enter Your Innovative Creation in the Build a Better Mousetrap Competition
Has one of your township employees recently built an innovative gadget or come up with a better way to do a particular job? If so, now is the time to show it off by entering the 2017 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition.
PennDOT is looking for projects that municipal employees or road crews designed and built. It can be anything from the development of tools and equipment modifications to processes that increase safety, reduce costs, or improve efficiency or the quality of transportation.
If you have a project that qualifies, submit your entry by March 3, 2017. PennDOT will choose a state winner in March and announce it at the annual conference of the winner’s respective municipal association. Entries will be judged by a committee of municipal road employees on cost savings/benefits to the community, ingenuity, transferability to others, and effectiveness.
LTAP will submit the winning entry into a national competition for prizes 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 website and compiled into an electronic booklet.
Click here to download an entry form. Complete the form and return it by March 3 to PennDOT-LTAP, c/o PSATS, 4855 Woodland Drive, Enola, PA 17025 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call Karen Atkinson at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 156.
Call for Entries: Applications Are Being Accepted for the Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest
Did your township complete an outstanding road or bridge project in 2016? If so, you have until March 3 to enter it in the 35th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest.
Sponsored by PSATS, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association, and the state Department of Transportation, the contest recognizes townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort to making roads and bridges safer for motorists, pedestrians, and other travelers.
Eligible projects include safety improvements initiated and completed in 2016 or ongoing projects begun in 2016. Entries must involve visible improvements, such as guide rail or stop sign installation, road widening and resurfacing, bridge improvements, or clearing brush from a road curve where poor sight distance has resulted in accidents.
Education programs, stricter speed limit enforcement, and drunk driver programs, while contributing to traffic safety, are not eligible for this contest.
Winners will receive their awards at PSATS’ Annual Educational Conference in April and will be the subject of a Township News article.
Entry forms for the contest were mailed to townships and Engineers Association members in December. The completed form must be sent to PennDOT by March 3.
Click here to download an entry form. For more information, call Brenda Wilt at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 123.