News Archive


Grants Available for Transportation Projects

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The U.S. Department of Transportation is accepting applications for the TIGER grant program until October 16, 2017. This program is for transportation projects, such as highway or bridge, public transportation, and intermodal projects. Grant awards range from $1 million to $25 million.
 
This year’s program will give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas. For more information, click here.


Got Traffic Signals? Grant Applications Being Accepted

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The state Department of Transportation is accepting applications for up to $40 million in grant funds for traffic signal maintenance and operation activities until November 9, 2017. Municipalities and metropolitan or rural planning organizations are eligible to apply for the Green Light - Go program. A 20 percent funding match is required.
 
For more information or to apply, go to www.penndot.gov and choose “Travel in PA” and then “Traffic Signals, Management.” Questions should be directed to Daniel Farley, Manager, Traffic Operations Deployment and Maintenance at ra-pdsignalfunding@pa.gov or (717) 783-0333.


Budget Now to Attend PSATS' 96th Annual Conference!

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The PSATS 96th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show offers great value for little cost! Participants realize the benefits of attending and the return on investment throughout the year. Make the most of your budget dollars and plan to attend the Annual Conference in Hershey, April 22-25, 2018.
 
And keep in mind these important dates for the 2018 PSATS Educational Conference:
 
• November 30, 2017 — Deadline for townships to update all PSATS member information.
 
• December 1, 2017 (Early Access) — Log onto conference.psats.org for detailed conference information and registration materials.
 
• December 14, 2017 — Information and registration materials will be sent to township secretaries, supervisors, and members who have elected to received correspondence by mail.
 
• January 16, 2018 — First day to register! Conference registration and hotel reservation system opens at 9 a.m.
 
To facilitate conference online registration, gather PSATS ID numbers for all of your attendees now!
 
As always, you may contact PSATS for assistance or information at any time. For general conference questions, email conference@psats.org or call (717) 763-0930, ext. 189.
 


Submit Your Comments on Appeal/Rewrite of Federal WOTUS Rule

Friday September 22nd, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will accept written comments until November 28, 2017 on a
revised definition of the "waters of the U.S." To submit recommendations, go to www.regulations.gov, follow the instructions, and note Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480.
 
This is the second part of a two-part process to address the rule. The first part involved a proposed repeal of the expanded definition of WOTUS that was adopted during the Obama administration. The EPA is accepting comments on the repeal until September 27, 2017. To comment, go to
www.regulations.gov and note Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203.


Deadline Imminent: Weigh In on Federal Overtime Threshold

Friday September 22nd, 2017
Comments accepted until September 25, 2017
 
A federal court recently struck down a rule from the U.S. Department of Labor that would have extended overtime pay to many current managerial employees. The rule was adopted during the Obama administration and was originally slated to take effect December 1, 2016, but was put on hold due to the appeal.
 
The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking comments until September 25, 2017, on whether the current overtime threshold of $23,600 should be updated for inflation and if multiple standard salary thresholds based on employer size, region of the country, or other factors should be considered.
 
To learn more, go to www.federalregister.gov and choose “Browse,” “Agencies,” and “Labor Department.” Next, choose “Wage and Hour Division” and “Recently Published Documents.” Finally, select “Request for Information; Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.” 


Free Webinar Will Announce FHWA's Newest Proven Highway Safety Countermeasures

Monday September 18th, 2017
Townships are encouraged to register for a free 90-minute webinar on September 28, 2017, at 1 p.m., in which the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Safety will announce the six new additions to the agency's list of proven highway safety countermeasures.
 
Attendees will learn about the overall safety countermeasures initiative and the prior list of proven techniques, such as roundabouts, pedestrian crossings in urban and suburban areas, and longitudinal rumble strips on two-lane roads. State and local agencies will also discuss their experience with two of the new countermeasures.
 
Preregistration is required. If you have a USDOT email account, click here to complete the registration.
 
If you are not a DOT user but have registered for and attended an FHWA webinar in the past, click here and use your previously established email address and password to register.
 
If you are not a DOT user, first click here to request access to the FHWA external portal. It takes about one business day to have an account established. Once you have an account, click here to register with your email and password.


Free Webinar Will Discuss Financing for Wastewater Treatment Systems

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund will host a webinar, “Funding Decentralized Wastewater Treatment with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund,” October 12, 2017, from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT. This webinar will discuss innovative partnerships and financing mechanisms for funding decentralized treatment systems. Presenters include representatives from the states of Washington, West Virginia, and Minnesota.
 
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a low-interest source of funding for the installation, repair, and upgrading of decentralized wastewater treatment systems. In fiscal year 2016, the CWSRF provided $29.3 million to decentralized projects.
 
For more information, contact Alison Souders at (202) 564-2730 or souders.alison@epa.gov. To register for the webinar, click here.
 
If you are a first-time user of Adobe Connect, make sure you have a good Internet connection and that Adobe Flash Player 11.2 or higher is installed on your computer. You may connect to the web meeting via PC/laptop or Android or Apple mobile devices (with the free Adobe Connect mobile app). You can test your computer capabilities before the webinar by running the Adobe Connect Test.


Tell Your Residents About State's Septic Loan Program

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
Townships that have residents with onlot septic systems are urged to let them know about the Homeowner Septic Loan Program, provided through a partnership of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
 
Homeowners with onlot systems may apply for low-interest, fixed-rate loans to help them fix a malfunctioning system or hook up to a public sewer system. Loans are available for:
• repairing or replacing on-lot septic systems;
• connecting an existing home to a public sewer system for the first time; or
• repairing or replacing an existing lateral to a public sewer system.
 
Eligible homeowners can acquire loans at a fixed rate for the life of the loan; current rates are as low as 1.75 percent. The maximum loan amount is $25,000, and there are no household income limits in 2017. Homeowners have up to 20 years to repay the loan balance (up to 15 years for manufactured homes).
 
Townships are encouraged to include information about the loan program in any municipal sewage planning sessions and distribute brochures about the program at their municipal building, local businesses, libraries, and public meetings.
 
Sewage enforcement officials should be urged to leave a brochure with the homeowner whenever they issue a citation about an onlot system.
 
For more information or brochures, call PHFA at (855) 827-3466 or go to www.phfa.org.


USDA Offers Financial Assistance for Rural Townships

Tuesday September 12th, 2017
USDA Rural Development offers three programs for rural municipalities to provide community facilities, safe drinking water, and water and waste disposal systems. The programs have rolling deadlines, so rural townships may apply at any time.
 
• The community facilities direct loan and grant program provides low-interest loans and grants to help rural areas develop essential community facilities for education, health care, public safety, and public services. The loans feature low interest rates, long terms (40 years on buildings and 10 to 20 years on vehicles), and no loan fees. 
 
Eligible borrowers include municipalities with a population under 20,000 and nonprofit organizations headquartered in a municipality with a population under 20,000.
 
For more information, contact Michael Ward, community facilities program director, at (717) 237-2291 or click here.
 
• The emergency community water assistance grants help rural communities that have experienced — or expect to experience — a significant decline in quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency or disaster. The funds help these municipalities meet the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
 
For more information, contact USDA Rural Development’s Pennsylvania office at (717) 237-2299 or click here.
 
• The USDA water and waste disposal loans and grants provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage in rural areas and towns with a population of up to 10,000. Applicants must be unable to obtain financing from other sources at rates and terms they can afford and/or from their own resources.
 
For more information, contact Barb Lukens, community program specialist, at (717) 237-2294 or click here.


Grants Available for Fire, Ambulance, and Rescue Services

Tuesday September 5th, 2017
Applications for funding through Pennsylvania’s Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program are due in October. (Go to www.osfc.state.pa.us for the deadline.) The grants are available for volunteer and career fire companies, as well as emergency medical services and volunteer rescue squads.
 
Eligible organizations may apply for funding for up to two projects in the following four categories:
     • Facilities — The construction and/or renovation of the fire company’s or ambulance service’s facility and purchase or repair of fixtures and furnishings necessary to maintain or improve service.
     • Equipment — The purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance, or rescue equipment.
     • Debt reduction — Debt reduction associated with the facility or equipment categories above.
     • Training — Training and certification of fire, ambulance, or rescue service members. 
 
For more information, go to www.osfc.state.pa.us. Click on “Grants and Loans” and choose “OSFC Grants.” Townships may also call the Office of the State Fire Commissioner toll-free at (800) 670-3473 or email ra-vfcvasgp@pa.gov.


Fire Prevention Week: Homeowners Reminded to Plan and Practice Two Home Escape Routes

Friday September 1st, 2017
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” reinforces the message that seconds can mean the difference between residents escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy. Escape plans are key to saving lives.
 
Fire Prevention Week, an annual observance promoted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is October 8-14. The NFPA offers the following tips for creating a home fire escape plan:
 
    • Involve all members of the household in drawing a map of your home showing every room and all doors and windows.
 
    • Visit each room and find two ways outside.
 
    • Make sure all windows and doors open easily so you can get out.
 
    • Ensure that your home has working smoke alarms.
 
    • Choose a place for everyone to meet outside, ideally in front of your home.
 
    • Review the plan with everyone in your home.
 
    • Practice your home escape plan twice a year. Conduct one drill at night and one during the day for everyone in the home and practice using different ways out.
 
    • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
 
    • Close doors behind you as you leave. This may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
 
    • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
 
    • Make sure the street number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
 
As in previous years, the association has developed free Fire Prevention Week materials, available at www.firepreventionweek.org. The site features downloadable documents, including children’s activities, fact sheets, and more. Public service announcements, communication tips, and a step-by-step media primer for fire departments are also available on the website.
 
The National Fire Protection Association has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 93 years and helps fire departments promote their public education efforts. 
 
For more information about Fire Prevention Week, call the National Fire Protection Association at (617) 770-3000 or go to www.firepreventionweek.org.
 


September is National Preparedness Month: Urge Residents to Prepare Emergency Plan

Monday August 21st, 2017
The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants to make sure that every resident has an action plan in place when disaster strikes. Township supervisors, emergency management coordinators, and others can help spread the theme of National Preparedness Month: “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”
 
FEMA has an entire toolkit of information and outreach ideas at www.ready.gov/september. The agency will stress different themes throughout the month, including the need for multi-generational and individual preparedness and community service, as a lead up to National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30.
 
Townships can urge residents to get involved, or at least stay informed, by sharing information on their website and through social media and the township newsletter, and by holding special events.
 
Townships and their residents can also get preparedness information anytime at www.readypa.org.


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.


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.