News Archive


You Have Until October 31 to Enter PSATS’ Citizen Communication Contest

Wednesday August 16th, 2017
If your township has published a newsletter or other publication to communicate with residents in the past year, show your pride in a job well-done by entering it in PSATS’ 50th Annual Township Citizen Communication Contest. Eligible publications or other forms of communication must have been produced between November 1, 2016, and October 30, 2017. Entries must be received by October 31.
 
Thirty-one awards in eight categories will be up for grabs. Winners will receive a framed certificate and coverage in the Township News. All entrants will also compete for the 27th Annual Outstanding Citizen Communication Award, which will be presented at PSATS’ Annual Conference to the township that exhibits an exceptional commitment to informing its residents.
 
The contest honors townships for their citizen communication efforts in the following categories:
     • Newsletters
     • Most improved newsletter
     • Electronic newsletters (This category is for electronic newsletters that are produced strictly for the web. Printed newsletters that are posted on a township’s website as a PDF are not eligible.)
     • Other publications, including annual reports, brochures, and calendars of events
     • Cable TV channels/programs (Audiotapes are not eligible.)
     • Websites
     • Social media (Judges will evaluate townships’ overall use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and other resources to communicate with their residents.)
     • Audiovisual communication, such as video messages/alerts, pod- or webcasts, video blogs, township meeting highlights, and other recordings posted on the township website, YouTube, or social media
 
Judging: Entries in the printed newsletter category will be judged according to the following population ranges:
     • 2,000 and under
     • 2,001-5,000
     • 5,001-10,000
     • 10,001 and over
 
Entries in the remaining categories will compete against one another regardless of township population. 
 
Each entry will be judged on the usefulness of information presented, how well the information is communicated, and the entry’s attractiveness, readability, or technical quality, depending on the media being judged. First-, second-, and third-place awards will be given in all categories unless the entries fail to meet the minimum standards of the judges.
 
Awards: Awards will be mailed to winners by March, and the Association will publish an article in the Township News about the winning entries and send news releases to the winners’ local media.
 
How to enter: To enter, provide the following: 
 
• For newsletters and other printed publications, send three copies of each entry. 
• For websites and social media, send three printouts of the home page and the Internet address for judges to access the sites.
• For cable TV channels/programs, send three DVDs of each entry. Please note: Each township is limited to three entries in this category.
• For audiovisial communications, send three DVDs of each entry or a description and a link to where they may be viewed online. Please note: Each township is limited to three entries in this category.
 
Each entry must be accompanied by a cover letter noting the category being entered and, for printed newsletters, the town­ship’s population.
 
If submitting multiple publications in one category, such as Newsletters or Other Publications, please indicate whether they should be judged as one entry or separate entries. Multiple issues of the same newsletter, such as the spring and summer issues, will be judged as a single entry.
 
Townships entering the Most Improved Newsletter category should state in their cover letter who was responsible for the redesign, such as staff or outside agencies, and include three copies each of “before” and “after” newsletters.
 
Note: Once-a-year tabloid-type publications that contain a map of the township and business advertisements and are produced by outside firms are not eligible.
 
For complete details and guidelines, click here.


Loans Available to Expand Broadband in Rural Areas

Wednesday August 16th, 2017
Townships in rural areas that want to expand higher-speed broadband service may apply for loans through the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program from USDA Rural Development. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2017.
 
Eligible service areas must be completely within a rural area as defined in the application guidelines or composed of multiple rural areas and meet the following criteria:
     • At least 15 percent of the households are unserved by high-speed broadband;
     • No part of the funded service area has three or more existing service providers; and
     • No part of the funded service area overlaps with the service area of current Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers or the service areas of grantees that were funded by RUS.
 
Broadband loans and loan guarantees provide funding to finance:
     • the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities required to provide high-speed broadband service, including those required for providing other services through the same facilities;
     • the cost of leasing facilities required to provide high-speed broadband service if the lease qualifies as a capital lease under generally accepted accounting principles;
     • an acquisition under certain conditions;
     • the refinancing of an outstanding telecommunications loan under certain conditions; or
     • the reimbursement of pre-loan ex­penses in an amount not to exceed 5 percent of the broadband loan, excluding amounts requested to refinance outstanding telecommunication loans.
 
For more information about the loan program, go to www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-bill-broadband-loans-loan-guarantees.
 
Questions may be directed to the general field representative for Pennsylvania, Kenrick Gordon, at (717) 433-8998 or kenrick.gordon@wdc.usda.gov.


National Grant Award Helps Township Replace Deteriorating Bridge

Wednesday August 16th, 2017
Quincy Township in Franklin County was able to replace a deteriorating steel bridge thanks to winning the 2017 Dire States competition, Case Construction Equipment's national program to help improve local infrastructure. The township received $25,000 worth of free equipment rental from a local Case dealer in this successful example of public-private cooperation.
 
The weight limit on the 51-year-old bridge had been lowered each of the last five years, restricting access to heavy trucks and emergency vehicles and threatening to prohibit use by schoolbuses and residents as it continued to deteriorate.
 
The township had been trying for nearly a decade to come up with an affordable replacement plan and the necessary funding. The $25,000 award, plus a $67,000 grant from the Franklin County Soil and Conservation District, finally made the upgrade possible.
 
The township public works crew did most of the work, including preparing the site, replacing drainage pipes, demolishing and removing the old bridge, adding new signage, and installing guide rails. Keystone Concrete was contracted to replace the bridge with precast concrete slabs.
 
The entire job, including fresh paving of a mile-and-a-half of the road in each direction, was completed in less than a month. 
 
"This project wouldn't have been completed without contributions from the road crew to office staff to the water and sewer department," supervisor and roadmaster Kerry Bumbaugh told the Record Herald. "Everyone pulled together to make the whole job complete in a timely manner. Quincy Township worked hard with its employees to do this in-house because we did not have the funds to do a full bridge replacement with a contractor."
 
Read more:
Old Forge Bridge Reopens
Township Receives National Grant
Private Grant Funds Public Bridge on South Mountain


Penn State Extension Invites Townships to Complete Community Water Survey

Thursday August 3rd, 2017
Penn State Extension has developed an online Community Water Survey to gather input from municipal professionals on potential community water education programs for local residents and professional training opportunities for local municipal staff, public works professionals, community planners, and engineers. The survey, which will be online at extension.psu.edu/water-survey through August 25, asks municipalities about their educational needs relating to stormwater management, green infrastructure, MS4 permits, and other water education topics in their local communities. 
 
As a thank you, survey participants will have the opportunity to be entered to win a free cooler of Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream.*
 
The Extension Water Resources Education Team is looking forward to collecting input from those who work with community water resource issues in Pennsylvania, including:
 
  ● Municipal staff and Officials
  ● Public works professionals
  ● Water and sewer authority representatives
  ● Community planners and engineers
  ● Municipal staff Who Work with water issues
 
Click here to complete the survey and comment on the educational resources and community programs that would best serve your community. Please share the survey link with all appropriate municipal staff. To be entered in the ice cream giveaway, please complete the survey no later than August 25.
 
*Cooler = 10 half gallons, flavors of choice, shipped to recipient’s door. Limited to residents of the lower 48 states. Contest entry deadline is midnight on 8/25/2017. Limit one entry per person.
 


Environmental Service-Learning Grants Available

Tuesday August 1st, 2017
Does your township have an environmental program that provides education for young people? If so, you might want to consider applying for a GreenWorks grant from Project Learning Tree (PLT).
 
Grants of up to $1,000 are available for service-learning projects that improve the environment or restore natural habitats. The deadline for applications is September 30, and funding will be distributed in December 2017.
 
Eligible projects include such activities as planting community gardens, starting composting and recycling programs, and restoring or improving native habitats.
 
To be eligible for a grant, projects must meet the following criteria:
 
• Projects receiving grants must be completed in one year.
 
• Applicants must have attended a Project Learning Tree workshop, either online or in person.
 
• The proposed project must involve service learning, exemplify student leadership and cooperation, and involve at least one community partner.
 
• The project must secure at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind support.
 
For more information or to apply, click here or contact Haley Herbst at (202) 751-2440 or hherbst@plt.org.
 
Townships may also contact the state PLT coordinator, Jean Devlin of the Bureau of Forestry, at (717) 787-0392 or jedevlin@pa.gov.


Apply for Recycling Performance Grants by October 2

Tuesday August 1st, 2017
Townships have until October 2 to apply for recycling performance grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection under Section 904 of the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling, and Waste Reduction Act. Reimbursement is available for eligible materials recycled and marketed in 2016.
 
Grants are awarded to municipalities based on the weight of source-separated recyclable materials they have collected, as well as their population.
 
Eligible materials include clear and colored glass, steel and bimetallic cans, high-grade office paper, newsprint, corrugated cardboard, other marketable grades of paper, and plastics. 
 
Please note: DEP will no longer mail the grant application to townships. To download a copy, click here.
 
Applications must be postmarked by October 2 and mailed to the Bureau of Waste Management, P.O. Box 8472, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472 or delivered by 4 p.m. on that date. 
 
For more information, call Mark Vottero of the Bureau of Waste Management at (717) 787-7382 or email mvottero@state.pa.us.


Townships Eligible for Keep America Beautiful Awards

Tuesday August 1st, 2017
If your township takes pride in its appearance, why not think about entering Keep America Beautiful’s 2017 Community Improvement Recognition Awards competition? The deadline for entries is October 2.
 
The annual awards recognize local governments and other groups for their work in:
 
• beautification and community greening, including graffiti abatement, gateway beautification, flower and tree planting, community gardens, and cleanups;
 
• litter prevention and community revitalization, including Great American Cleanup activities, adopt-a-highway programs, and litter hotlines;
 
• recycling and waste reduction, including composting, recycling centers or programs, recyclable collections, and illegal-dump hotlines; and 
 
• environmental education.
 
Winners will be recognized at the Keep America Beautiful 65th Annual National Conference in Dallas, Texas, January 17-19, 2018.
 
All entries must be submitted online at www.kab.org. The deadline is October 2.
 
For more information, contact Lauren Conte at lconte@kab.org.  
 


Learn Safe Excavation Techniques at Free Event

Thursday May 11th, 2017

Township officials and employees are invited to the remaining Pennsylvania 811 Safety Day, which will be held September 14 at the Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville, Allegheny County.

This free event, which includes safety demonstrations, exhibits by vendors and construction experts, and door prizes, is a great opportunity to learn safe excavation techniques and about the PA One Call System.

Click here to register and for more information.