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News: Slate Belt Council of Governments Receives Association’s Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Award


April 24, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ginni Linn
Executive Editor/Print Manager
(717) 763-0930, ext. 127
glinn@psats.org


Tom Petrucci
Plainfield Township Manager
610-759-6944
manager@twp.plainfield.pa.us

 

Slate Belt Council of Governments Receives Association’s Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Award

The Slate Belt Council of Governments in Northampton County received the Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Award during the 95th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), held April 23-26, 2017, in Hershey. The award is cosponsored by PSATS and the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships.

The association established this award to honor communities that are working together to find creative ways to complete projects and provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively.

The Slate Belt Council of Governments (COG) and several of its members were honored for their Animal Control Program, which was instituted to handle stray animals as mandated by the Pennsylvania Dog Law.

Several years ago, Northampton County commissioned the Meyner Center at Lafayette College to study the feasibility of a countywide solution to animal control. The study resulted in a projected cost for startup, including personnel and construction of a shelter, of $1.5 million. The COG members felt that they could come up with an efficient and more cost-effective solution.

Lower Mt. Bethel, Plainfield, Upper Mt. Bethel, and Washington townships, together with Bangor, Pen Argyl, Portland, and Wind Gap boroughs, participate in the Animal Control Program. The initiative is funded through a 50-cent per capita fee from each participating municipality. The COG also received a $10,000 grant from the Northampton County Community Investment Partnership Program to offset the start-up costs of personnel and repair of existing licensed kennels in some COG communities.

“We started the program in June 2016, and it has been well-received by all the communities involved,” says Plainfield Township Manager Tom Petrucci. “Members of the public have called to ask about it and how they can contribute to make the project successful.”

The COG began the Slate Belt Animal Advocacy Group at the beginning of 2017, which has helped implement a trap, neuter, and release program for feral cats, Petrucci says.

 “The COG has also reached out to local veterinarians to garner support for the program,” he says. “The group’s next goal is to raise funds for an animal shelter.”

 In the 10 months since the program began, it has made a positive impact in all the communities, Petrucci says.

“The owners come forward to claim their lost pets, and people work to get the abandoned dogs adopted,” he says. “We have hired one animal control officer and anticipate hiring another so that we can better serve the communities with 24/7 coverage.”

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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the Slate Belt Council of Governments in Northampton County accept the Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Award during the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ 95th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show, held April 23-26 in Hershey. The association established the award in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments to honor communities that are working together to find creative ways to complete projects and provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively. Participating in the award presentation are, from left, Stewart Neff, first vice president, Pa. Association of Councils of Governments; Upper Mt. Bethel Township Supervisor David Due; PSATS Executive Board Member Dave Nyman; Plainfield Township Supervisor Stephen Hurni; Plainfield Township Supervisor Jane Mellert; Plainfield Township Manager Tom Petrucci; and John Kuntzelman, president, Pa. Association of Councils of Governments.