Keep PA Beautiful Urges Adoption Of Local Roads, Parks, Other Areas To Fight Litter
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) invites local residents, organizations, civic groups, and businesses to join programs to adopt local areas, such as municipal roads, communities, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways, and trails to keep them litter free.
According to Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study, litter cleanup costs the U.S. more than an estimated $11.5 billion each year, with municipalities spending more than $790 million and counties spending $185 million each year.
“Many communities depend on volunteers to clean up litter," KPB President Shannon Reiter says. "Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works hand in hand with local municipalities and counties to provide residents with the tools and resources they need to keep our communities clean and beautiful. Our adoption program helps mitigate the costs associated with cleaning up and encourages partnerships between local residents and municipalities. It’s a win-win.”
There is no fee to participate and groups must agree to make safety a top priority, schedule two cleanups per year, and report results to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful after each cleanup. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will seek support from the local property maintainer/owner before proceeding with an adoption.
“We all want to live in a clean community," Reiter says. "Adopting an area is a proven and effective way to address persistent dumping and littering and helps keep these areas trash-free. All it takes is a concerned person or group of volunteers and a commitment to be part of the solution to keeping Pennsylvania clean.”
For more information, go to www.keeppabeautiful.org/KeepIt/AdoptionProgram.aspx or contact Stephanie Larson at email@example.com or (724) 836-4121, ext. 104. For information about adopting a state-maintained road, go to www.penndot.gov and search "Adopt-a-Highway."
Attention MS4s: DEP Summer Workshops Will Help Navigate Revised General Permit
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold full-day training workshops at six locations across the state this summer to help new and existing municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) with changes to the MS4 NPDES General Permit, also referred to as a PAG-13.
A reissued PAG-13 General Permit is expected to become effective in March 2018, and notices of intent (NOIs) are due from most MS4s in September 2017. MS4s will need to begin preparing applications soon to meet this deadline.
The workshops also apply to MS4s that will need to submit applications for individual MS4 NPDES permits.
The workshops are scheduled as follows:
• June 14-15 Uniontown
• June 21-22 Scranton
• June 28-29 Wyomissing
• July 19-20 Lewisburg
• July TBA York Area
• July TBA Cranberry Township Area
A separate announcement will be forthcoming about additional workshops to help new and existing MS4 permittees prepare stormwater pollution reduction plans, which must be completed and submitted with the NOI or permit application.
The official registration form and payment must be received by DEP via mail 30 days before each workshop begins. Seating is limited to 50 participants for each workshop, and there is a $50 registration fee, which includes lunch. To download a registration form, go to http://bit.ly/1WuzA96.
Help PSATS Recognize Youth Groups for Outstanding Community Service
Encourage entries for PSATS Youth Awards
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, 2015, and June 30, 2016, and must have benefited a township of the second class.
Guidelines and entry forms are available from PSATS. To download a PDF of the entry form, go to www.psats.org, select the “Programs and Services” tab, and choose “PSATS Award Programs.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show Off Your Sustainable Salt Storage and Snowfighting Solutions By Entering the Salt Institute's Annual Contest
Townships that responsibly store and use salt to de-ice their roads are encouraged to enter the Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting Award contest sponsored by the Salt Institute.
The award is presented to government agencies that have demonstrated best practices in sustainable salt storage and snowfighting. Entries must be received by June 1.
The contest encourages the construction of sound salt storage facilities, as well as practices that minimize environmental hazards and promote worker safety and snowfighting techniques.
Winning entrants will receive a certificate and be recognized in a Salt Institute news release.
For more information or an entry form, contact Laura Elliott at (703) 549-4648 or email email@example.com. Townships may also download an entry form by going to www.saltinstitute.org and typing “award” in the search field.
Effective December 1: A New Unfunded Federal Mandate...
The White House has unveiled a controversial new U.S. Department of Labor rule that will make local government more expensive. Taxpayers, businesses, charities, and other non-profits will face additional financial burdens with the expanded rules for eligibility for overtime pay.
The regulations, released May 18, will open the door for salaried employees to earn overtime if they make up to $47,476 a year, more than double the current threshold of $23,660 a year. The change is expected to impact 4.2 million workers.
“Townships need to be aware that beginning December 1, 2016 – when the final rule is scheduled to take effect – any employee who earns less than $47,476 per year and works more than 40 hours in a work week will lose their ‘exempt’ status but will be eligible to receive overtime pay, even if that person is salaried or considered management,” PSATS Executive Director David Sanko said.
“This change will impact virtually every township,” he added. “Therefore, townships will need to take into account the rule’s immediate impact on their 2016 budget as well as their budgets for 2017 and beyond.”
Under the new rule, the minimum salary threshold will be adjusted for inflation every third year. Additionally, the rule exempts uniformed public safety employees (fire and police) who work for local governments that employ fewer than five such employees from the requirements.
The National Association of Towns and Townships is predicting a rough road ahead for the rule.
Spokesperson Jennifer Imo says bills have already been introduced in Congress to nullify the provision and require more extensive analysis of its economic impact, particularly on state and local governments, small businesses, and non-profits. President Barack Obama, however, is expected to veto such legislation.
Lawsuits are also likely, Imo says, adding it’s uncertain if the courts will issue a stay on the rule’s implementation while the legal battles ensue.
“Members of Congress will also have to adjust to this change since many congressional staff fall into the group that now qualifies for overtime – and it’s safe to say that a large majority of staff work more than 40 hours per week,” Imo says.
In anticipation of the rule’s December 1 effective date, PSATS is developing training on the overtime changes and other Fair Labor Standards Act issues. Members will be notified as soon as these sessions are scheduled.
In the meantime, townships with questions should contact their solicitor, labor counsel, or PSATS General Counsel Scott Coburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 763-0930, ext. 171. Additional information about the overtime rule is also available here.
Commonwealth Financing Authority Accepting Applications for Business in Our Sites Program
The Commonwealth Financing Agency will be accepting applications for the Business in Our Sites Program until May 31, 2016.
The program provides loans to municipalities to acquire and develop key sites for future use by businesses, private developers, and others.
For more information, click here.
Empowers communities to attract growing and expanding businesses by helping them build an inventory of ready sites.
All development activities are required to make a site shovel-ready. For speculative projects only.
No maximum or minimum, except that the maximum amount of the funding for projects in a single city, borough, town, or township may not exceed 15 percent of the funds available for the program.
No repayment of the loan is required until the property is sold or leased or five years from the date of closing. The site must be previously used property or undeveloped property that is planned and zoned for development. Counties/municipalities must be notified. Substantial likelihood of site use following development, not for primary residential or recreational purposes. The interest rate for the loan will be set by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Purpose of Funding:
• Site Development and Business
• Land & Building
• Municipal authorities
• Redevelopment authorities
• Industrial development agencies
• Private developers