News Archive


Learn About Safe Excavation at Pennsylvania 811 Safety Days

Wednesday May 15th, 2019
Plan to attend Pennsylvania 811 Safety Days, which will be held at several locations across the state. These free events include safe digging demonstrations and exhibits by vendors and construction experts. This is a great training opportunity for township officials and road crews to learn safe excavation techniques and use of the PA One Call System.
 
Also, LTAP’s Stormwater Facilities Operations and Maintenance course will be offered at this year’s event. The following 2019 PA Safety Days are scheduled:
 
• June 25 -- Blair County Convention Center, Altoona
 
• June 27 -- York Expo Center, York
 
• September 19 -- Pittsburgh International Airport, Moon Township
 
To register for one of these sessions or for more information, go to www.pa1call.org


Help PSATS Recognize Youth Groups for Outstanding Community Service

Monday May 13th, 2019
Has a youth organization completed a community service project in your township or county? Has a Scout troop helped clean up a township park or a high school group developed an environmental program for residents? Has a local 4-H club held an event for children or adults or a church youth group volunteered to help elderly residents repair their homes?
 
Township supervisors and county association officers can help identify and recognize such outstanding examples of community service by encouraging groups to enter the annual PSATS Youth Awards Contest.
 
The awards program recognizes the contributions youth groups make to improve the quality of life in Pennsyl­vania’s townships. Entrants in this year’s contest will vie for cash prizes of $500 each.
 
To be eligible, projects must have been undertaken or continued between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, and must have benefited a township of the second class.
 
Promotional materials were mailed to townships, county associations, 4-H groups, FFA, and Scout councils in May. To download a PDF of the guidelines and entry form, a promotional flyer and poster, an article and ad suitable for township newsletters, websites, and social media, and a sample news release, go to the PSATS Youth Awards webpage.  
 
Townships are encouraged to help youth groups submit their entry forms to the county association by July 1. County associations must sign off on the projects and forward the entries to PSATS by July 15.
 
Four winners will each receive $500 and a framed certificate, along with coverage in the Pennsylvania Township News and their local newspapers.
 
For more information, contact Brenda Wilt at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 123, or bwilt@psats.org.


New Guide Helps Communities Manage Stormwater Naturally

Monday May 13th, 2019
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) has just published the Working With Nature To Manage Stormwater Guide to help communities use green infrastructure to reduce pollution and flooding caused by stormwater runoff.
 
Stormwater runoff pollutes waterways and causes dangerous, damaging flooding. Nature-based stormwater management strategies allow the ground to absorb and filter stormwater, resulting in cleaner water and fewer, less severe floods.
 
Clean water and flood mitigation, in turn, provide a host of economic benefits. For example, clean water decreases water-treatment costs for communities and supports water activities like fishing and paddling that contribute $29 billion each year to the United States economy.
 
Less frequent flooding saves communities billions of dollars in averted damage. Clean water also provides a host of environmental benefits (e.g., wildlife habitat) and health benefits (e.g., safe drinking water).
 
This guide outlines the three most effective nature-based stormwater management strategies—green infrastructure, land conservation, and best management practices (BMPs) on farms—and provides links to resources for each.
 
Click here for a copy of the new guide and other green infrastructure resources.
 
For resources focused on nature-based stormwater management more generally, visit the Naturally Resilient Communities website
 
For more conservation resources you can use, visit PALTA’s Conservation Tools website.


PennDOT Hosts Open House to Present Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan

Monday May 13th, 2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will be hosting an Open House Meeting to present the vision,themes,objectives, and solicit recommendations for the statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The open house, scheduled for May 30, will be held in Harrisburg from 4 - 6 p.m and also shared via webcast with viewing opportunities available at ten PennDOT Engineering District Offices

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan will outline a vision and framework for improving conditions for walking and bicycle across the commonwealth. The plan will also identify strategies to increase the number of people walking and bicycling, while supporting safety. 

To view the Open House Meeting, you must RSVP by filling out this RSVP form or by calling (717) 783 - 8800 by May 24. For more information, please visit the PennDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan page.



Share Your Township News with our Township News!

Friday May 10th, 2019
Has your township won an award? Has one of your supervisors or staff received recognition for long-time service or a particular accomplishment? Has your township hosted a unique event?
 
The Township News is looking for short accounts (about 100 words) of events, awards, personal accomplishments, and human-interest stories happening in PSATS’ member townships. They can be serious, comical, or somewhere in between but must relate to township activities or people. Send us the details; we’ll do the rest!
 
Email your news to Executive Editor Ginni Linn at glinn@psats.org.


New FEMA Guide Consolidates Disaster Assistance Info

Thursday May 9th, 2019
Townships that have experienced or may face natural or manmade disasters or emergencies have a new resource to help their residents: the Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This reference guide consolidates into one document policies for all of FEMA’s individual assistance programs, including the Individuals and Households Program, Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, and the Community Services Program.
 
The guide provides a comprehensive policy resource for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, non-governmental partners, and other entities that assist survivors during disasters and with post-disaster recovery. It applies to any federal disaster declared on or after March 1, 2019.
 
FEMA is releasing the guide to the public to increase consistency, collaboration, and the sharing of program information to further the agency’s goal of streamlining the disaster survivor experience.
 
To download the guide, go to fema.gov/individual-assistance-program-and-policy-guide.


Help Feed Kids This Summer

Wednesday May 1st, 2019
When school lessons end for the summer, so do the free meals that school districts offer to children of low-income parents. However, townships that participate in the Summer Food Service Program can still make sure children in their community get the nutrition they need. The deadline to apply to be a sponsor is June 15.
 
“The Summer Food Service Program is a critical initiative that ensures students are receiving proper nutrition, even when they aren’t in school,” state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said in a news release. “No child should ever be denied access to healthy and nutritious food, and keeping students well over the summer break perpares them to return to school ready to learn.”
 
The program, administered by the state Department of Education, allows townships to provide nutritious meals and creates summer employment opportunities for local residents.
 
According to the department, 306 organizations participated in the program last summer, providing nutritious meals to children at more than 2,600 locations across the state. However, to reach more children and narrow the hunger gap that may grow in the summer, more organizations and meal sites are needed throughout the state, especially in rural areas.
 
The program is flexible so townships may choose how many days a week to serve food. Most program participants provide meals five days a week with a few serving on Saturdays. However, the Department of Education encourages participating sites to offer more meals if possible. Meals may be served seven days a week. 
 
All children under 18 years of age may receive free meals regardless of their families’ income if the site draws participants from areas where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Townships should contact their local school district or the Department of Education for information on the percentage of children eligible for free and reduced-price meals in their municipality. 
 
Townships are also being encouraged to partner with other community organizations to support a site. For example, one organization might supply volunteers, another could transport food and/or children to the site, and another could provide activities. Sharing these responsibilities can be more feasible than one organization working alone.
 
Township sponsors will be reimbursed $2.30 for each breakfast, $4.03 for each dinner, and $0.95 for each snack served.  
 
For more information about the program and application deadlines, go to www.education.pa.gov/sfsp, call toll-free (800) 331-0129, or email ra-sfsp@pa.gov.


Grants Available to Preserve Natural, Cultural Assets in Southcentral PA

Thursday April 4th, 2019
Townships in southcentral Pennsylvania may apply for mini-grants from the South Mountain Partnership to help protect and promote natural and cultural assets in their communities. Pre-application forms are due by May 31.
 
Grant awards range from $2,500 to $15,000 and require matching funds.
 
The partnership has awarded $345,000 since the mini-grant program began in 2009, which has leveraged more than $760,000 in matching funds. The grants are provided by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Environmental Stewardship Fund.
 
The mini-grant program was developed and is administered by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. This organization co-leads the South Mountain Partnership, which is an alliance of the public and private sectors, nonprofits, universities, and residents in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and nothern York counties.
 
To learn more, go to southmountainpartnership.org/mini-grants. For more information about the mini-grant application and review process, contact South Mountain Partnership Director Katie Hess at (717) 258-5771 or khess@appalachiantrail.org.


Funding Available for Rural Broadband Connections

Monday February 11th, 2019
Townships in rural areas that lack high-speed broadband can apply for funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect).
 
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities may apply for funding through the ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. USDA is making available about $200 million for grants, $200 million for low-interest loans, and $200 million for loan and grant combinations.
 
The application deadlines are:
 
• May 31, 2019, for grants;
 
• June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and
 
• July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.
 
Applicants can request technical assistance from USDA by filling out the contact form on the ReConnect webpage.
 
Funds will be awarded to projects that have a financially-sustainable business model to bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches, and community facilities, such as first responders, healthcare sites, and schools.
 
For more information about the ReConnect program, visit the ReConnect webpage


Apply for Environmental Grants Funded by Act 13 Impact Fees

Tuesday January 15th, 2019
The Commonwealth Financing Authority is accepting applications for grants funded by Act 13 drilling impact fees for watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphaned or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities, flood mitigation programs, and recreation. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2019.
 
These grants are funded by the Act 13 drilling impact fees paid by natural gas drillers.
 
Here’s a quick summary of what’s available and the links for more details:
 
• Watershed Restoration: The overall goal of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Program is to restore and maintain restored stream reaches impaired by the uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source polluted runoff, and ultimately to remove these streams from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Impaired Waters list.
 
• Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) Abatement and Treatment: Eligible projects include the reclamation of abandoned mine well(s); construction of a new AMD site; remediation and repair of existing AMD project sites; operation and maintenance of current AMD remediation sites; establishment of a trust fund to ensure ongoing maintenance; and monitoring of water quality to track or continue to trace nonpoint source load reductions resulting from AMD remediation projects.
 
Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging Program: Eligible projects include the cleaning out and plugging of abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells; stray gas mitigation systems; and well venting projects.
 
Baseline Water Quality Data: Eligible projects include practices for water sample collection and analysis to document existing groundwater quality conditions on private water supplies.
 
Sewage Facilities Program: Eligible costs are those associated with the planning work required under Act 537 Sewage Facilities Act.
 
•  Flood Mitigation: Eligible projects are those authorized by a flood protection authority, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or identified by a local government for flood mitigation.
 
Greenways, Trails, And Recreation Program: Eligible projects  involve development, rehabilitation, and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails, and river conservation.
 
Applicants are strongly urged to contact their House and Senate member to make them aware that they intend to submit an application for funding under these programs and ask for their endorsement.
 
For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit the Commonwealth Financing Authority Act 13 Programs webpage. Questions should be directed to (717) 787-6245.