News Archive


Nominate Your Township for Keep America Beautiful Awards

Monday August 19th, 2019
If your township takes pride in its appearance, consider entering Keep America Beautiful’s 2019 Community Improvement Awards competition.
 
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 Annual National Conference in early 2020.
 
All entries must be submitted online at www.kab.org. The deadline is October 1
 
For more information, email Lauren Conte at lconte@kab.org.
 


Need Help with Employment Issues? Attend PSATS' HR and Labor Management Institute

Monday August 19th, 2019
Townships can get up-to-date instruction on employment and labor law issues at PSATS' annual Human Resources and Labor Management Institute, offered in three locations in western, central, and eastern Pennsylvania.
 
Dates and locations are:
 
• September 19, Cumberland Co. (PSATS)
 
• September 26, Butler Co.
 
• October 3, Montgomery Co.
 
For more information or to register, go to learn.psats.org/seminars.


PSATS' Professional Association Seminars Coming Up

Monday August 19th, 2019
PSATS' affiliate professional associations will be meeting for their annual fall seminars in September and October. Townships should urge their consultants to attend these training opportunities.
 
Pa. Association of Zoning Officials (PAAZO)
September 18, Montgomery Co.
 
Township Emergency Management Association (TEMA)
September 20, Montgomery Co.
 
Township Solicitors Association
October 23, PSATS (Cumberland Co.)
 
Township Engineers Association
October 24, PSATS (Cumberland Co.)
 
For more information or to register, go to learn.psats.org/seminars.


Grants Help Townships with ATV and Snowmobile Projects

Monday August 19th, 2019
Townships that want to complete trails and projects related to the use of snowmobiles and ATVs can apply for state funding. The grants are available through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program, or C2P2, funding. The deadline for applications is September 30.
 
Funding for snowmobile/ATV projects is through the ATV Management Restricted Account and the Snowmobile Management Restricted Account as authorized by Act 97 of 2016. The accounts are supported by registration fees.
 
Trail projects include acquisition, planning, development, rehabilitation, or maintenance of designated routes on land for motorized recreation activities. This includes the purchase of equipment for trail construction or maintenance.
 
Interested applicants should contact their DCNR regional adviser for help with applying. Townships may also visit https://brcgrants.dcnr.pa.gov/.
 


Is Your Township Cybersecure? Help Researchers Assess Municipal Readiness

Monday August 19th, 2019
Townships will soon be receiving an important email from Penn State asking them to complete a survey on cybersecurity, and PSATS is urging their participation.
 
Since January, a group of Penn State researchers has been developing a survey to assess the cybersecurity readiness of Pennsylvania municipalities. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is funding the project. The team soft-launched the survey to a random selection of 100 municipalities, and will release the survey to all Pennsylvania municipalities later in August.
 
According to an NPR story, this year alone, there have been 176 ransomware attacks on local and state government. In these incidents, criminals hold hostage sensitive and critical data and demand money in return. The moral of the story is that local governments need to take action now before becoming victims of such cyber attacks.
 
The study's goal is to assess the cybersecurity readiness of boroughs, townships, and cities and identify their strengths and weaknesses in the areas of infrastructure, literacy, and daily practices. A similar study took place in 2008, and the researchers will look at the progress municipalities have made since then.
 
A secondary goal of the survey is to raise awareness among municipalities about what they should be doing to avoid cyber attacks. It is hoped that the survey will serve as an educational tool to teach municipalities more about various countermeasures and recommended practices.
 
Townships should watch their inboxes for an email about the survey from Penn State. (The email will be in the format name@psu.edu.) Townships that do not receive an email will be able to go to altoona.psu.edu/cybersec after the full roll-out to participate.


Funding Available to Expand Broadband

Friday August 16th, 2019
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.
 
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 USDA's broadband loan program webpage. Questions may be directed to the general field representative for Pennsylvania, Richard Jenkins, at (681) 318-3236 or richard.jenkins@wdc.usda.gov.
 


Enter Your 2019 Data into Salary Survey Plus Now!

Friday August 16th, 2019
The PSATS Salary Survey Plus is now open for townships to enter 2019 wage and salary information. Log in to connect.psats.org and choose the Salary Survey Plus link. Entering your data will provide new results for 2019, allow comparisons to the 2018 data, and indicate wage changes from 2018 to 2019. (Trouble logging into Connect? Email memberservices@psats.org.)
 
Once you are logged in, download the Data Collection Worksheet to help you gather the information you need to complete the survey. Be sure to enter all your township’s data by September 20 to ensure full access to the survey results.
 
If your township submitted data for the 2018 survey, the person who entered it will continue to have access to enter new data. However, if you want a different township official or employee to enter the data this year, please email memberservices@psats.org so we can give them access.
 
The survey is easy to use and allows you to complete data entry over multiple sessions. Simply save each page as you go, which submits your data for that page. Start with the Township Profile and then complete the wage sections that apply to your municipality.
 
Once enough data has been entered to release the customized reports, supervisors, managers, and secretaries from townships that have completed all mandatory questions and at least 66 percent of the survey will be able to view and, with a few clicks, create personalized reports to compare their community to similar townships by budget size, road miles, population, and region.
 
Please keep in mind that viewing results and creating customized reports will be open to all supervisors, managers, and secretaries from those townships that enter data in the survey. Your participation is needed to make this tool a success!
 
If you have questions on the survey, email salarysurveyplus@psats.org or call Holly Fishel at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 138.
 


PSATS Now Accepting Workshop Proposals for 2020 Annual Conference

Tuesday August 13th, 2019
PSATS has issued a request for proposals for workshops to be presented at its 2020 Annual Educational Conference & Exhibit Show, which will be held May 3-6, 2020, at the Hershey Lodge (workshops are May 4-5).
 
Submit proposals to PSATS by September 6, 2019, at conference.psats.org. All applicants will be notified by December 2, 2019, whether their proposals have been accepted.
 
If you have any questions about the conference workshop RFP process, please contact Scott Coburn at (717) 763-0930, ext. 171, or scoburn@psats.org.


Learn About Safe Excavation at PA Safety Day Event

Monday August 12th, 2019
Public works employees are invited to learn about safe excavation techniques at the free 2019 PA Safety Day Conference held by Pennsylvania One Call September 19 at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Allegheny County.
 
At PA Safety Days, held in various locations throughout Pennsylvania, educational sessions and demonstrations promote safe digging and the protection of critical underground infrastructure. The event also includes indoor and outdoor exhibits and networking events.
The conference will feature keynote speaker Wylie Davidson of Dival Safety Equipment, whose presentation “Safe 4 the Right Reasons” will address how to get employees to value safety and safe behavior.
 
For more information about PA Safety Day, go to www.paonecall.org/SafetyDays. To register for the conference, go to www.paonecall.org/EVENTS.
 
 


Central PA APWA Symposium Coming Up in September

Monday August 12th, 2019
Public works employees in central Pennsylvania are invited to the annual symposium and equipment show of the local chapter of the American Public Works Association. The event will be held September 19 at the West Hempfield Township municipal building at 3476 Marietta Ave., Lancaster.
 
The symposium will include educational sessions on topics relevant to public works employees, including the LTAP road safety audit, pesticides, and utility safety.
 
Vendors will also be on hand, and activities will include the popular lawn mower rodeo and cone toss contest, with cash prizes.
 
The event is free for public works employees and includes lunch, but you must register in advance to be included in the lunch count. 
 
For more information and a registration form, go to the Central PA chapter website. Direct questions to Kay Dohm at Lancaster Truck Bodies at (717) 629-6246 or kwhitson@lancastertruckbodies.com.
 
 


Recycling Performance Grants Deadline Approaching

Monday August 12th, 2019
Townships have until September 28 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 materials recycled and marketed in 2018.
 
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, aluminum, and bimetallic cans; high-grade office and other marketable grades of paper; newsprint, corrugated cardboard, and plastics. 
 
Download a copy of the grant application here. Applications must be postmarked by September 28 and mailed to the Bureau of Waste Management, P.O. Box 8472, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472 or delivered to the 14th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building at 400 Market St., Harrisburg, 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.
 
 


Coming to a County Near You!

Monday August 12th, 2019
Autumn is just around the corner and you know what that means: PSATS Regional Fall Forums. This year, we’ve scheduled seven forums across the commonwealth. 
 
Each forum includes eight hours of conference-level education spread out over an afternoon and the following morning, and in that little window of time, you’re going to learn a lot. In fact, all the workshops and general sessions have been tailored to address the unique needs of each region. A networking reception is planned at each location, too.
 
Set to kick off in September in Indiana, the forums are a great place to learn and network. They’re affordable, too. The registration fee is just $75 for PSATS members ($125 for non-members).
 
To register or for more information about dates and topics in your area, go to the PSATS Fall Forum page. or call the Association at (717) 763-0930, ext 171.
 
Autumn is all about traditions, and we want our Regional Fall Forums to become one of yours. See you soon!

 

 


Get Help With Crafting Your 2020 Budget

Monday August 12th, 2019
Budgeting is a basic tool for managing municipal finances, but it can be more than that. Preparation and adoption of the annual budget should be based on careful planning of your township’s activities for the coming year and making reasoned and balanced decisions on how municipal resources will be spent.
 
The budgeting process should allow the board of supervisors to express its goals for community services for the coming year in a single document that is readily understandable by the citizens. Since the budget allocates revenues among various municipal needs, careful consideration should be given by the board about where the limited amount of money available will be spent.
 
PSATS' Developing Your Township Budget class provides proven and effective methods and techniques to help new and veteran township supervisors, secretaries, treasurers, managers, roadmasters, and public works officials develop budgets that work.
 
The course is eligible for two PMGA administration primary credits (or secondary credits if enrolled in a different track).
 
Locations and dates are as follows:
 
8/14/19 - Lehigh County
 
8/15/19 - Wayne County
 
8/20/19 - Cumberland County
 
8/23/19 - Lycoming County
 
8/27/19 - Somerset County
 
8/28/19 - Clarion County
 
To register, go to PSATS' classroom courses page
 


Township Secretaries and Administrators: Get Your Training On!

Monday August 12th, 2019
Here is your opportunity to learn from acknowledged experts about the most important issues township secretaries and managers need to know, with topics ranging from budgeting, purchasing, advertising, and meeting management all the way to human resource issues and public engagement. 
 
This full-day class will cover the wide array of administrative and management topics that townships face daily in an interactive and engaging manner. It is a “must attend” for those new to township administration or those looking for a comprehensive refresher on how to be more effective for the township. With a solid focus on the basic principles of township administration, this PSATS-exclusive class should be on the schedule of all new (and veteran) township supervisors, secretaries, treasurers, auditors, or managers.  
 
This course is eligible for six PMGA administration primary credits (or secondary credits if enrolled in a different track).
 
Dates and locations:
 
8/13/2019 - Washington County
 
8/16/2019 - Erie County
 
9/10/2019 - Cambria County
 
9/12/2019 - Tioga County
 
 
To register, go to the PSATS classroom courses list.
 
 


Townships Dominate the 2019 List of Safest Communities in Pennsylvania

Monday August 12th, 2019
PSATS member townships occupy 60 of the top 100 spots for the safest “cities” in Pennsylvania in 2019. The list was compiled by the National Council for Home Safety and Security based on the most recent FBI uniform crime report statistics, population data, and internal research. Only communities with populations of at least 10,000 that have a local police department and submitted a complete crime report to the FBI were included on the list. 
 
The council ranked the communities based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted with violent crimes accounting for 1.5 of the total, due to their severity compared to property crimes.
 
This chart shows the 71 PSATS member townships that made the top 100 list and their rank. Two non-member townships of the second class and 16 townships of the first class also made the top 100.
 
To see the complete list, go to www.alarms.org/safest-cities-in-pennsylvania.
 
 


Townships Can Do Their Part to Promote the 2020 Census

Monday August 12th, 2019
With the 2020 Census on the horizon, Pennsylvania and its communities must be proactive in making sure everyone in the state is counted. Population numbers from the decennial census are used to distribute federal and state dollars for programs and grants and determine Pennsylvania’s political power (i.e., its number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Electoral College votes for electing a president).
 
Townships can encourage participation in the 2020 Census by reaching out to residents and urging them to fill out their form, which will be mailed to all households next year. 
 
In your promotional efforts, be sure to emphasize that census data guides how much money your community gets from the government.
 
Here are some ways for townships to promote the census:
 
• Start advertising Census Day, April 1, 2020, in the township’s newsletter, website, and social media platforms. 
 
• Display and distribute census materials in the township building and at community events. The U.S. Census Bureau has useful tools and materials on its website.
 
• Emphasize the importance of a complete count during public meetings and while talking to residents or the local media.
 
• Pass a proclamation stressing the importance of the census and encouraging resident participation.
 
• Participate in Complete Count Committees, which are made up of local officials and community leaders who seek to increase awareness of and participation in the census.
 
• Plan ahead by mapping out a timeline for how you will promote the census to your residents.
 
To help townships in their promotion efforts, PSATS will be providing a census fact or statistic for each month leading up to the 2020 Census that can be shared with residents. Look for these facts in the Census Corner of the Township News, on this website, and PSATS' social media pages (please share).


Show Off Your Publications in PSATS’ Citizen Communication Contest

Monday August 12th, 2019
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’ 52nd Annual Township Citizen Communication Contest. Eligible publications or other forms of communication must have been produced between November 1, 2018, and October 30, 2019. 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 winners will also compete for the 29th 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.
 
Click here for complete details and guidelines.
 
 


Fire Companies that Promote 811 Calls Can Win $500

Tuesday July 9th, 2019
Fire companies that help promote the “call before you dig” message could win $500 through a contest sponsored by Pennsylvania One Call and various sponsors. State law requires that anyone getting ready to dig with power equipment first call 811 so the location of underground utilities can be marked.
 
The Fire House 811 campaign encourages fire companies to post a creative 811 message on their firehouse marquee and email a photo (along with their address and contact information) to contact@pa1call.org. A winner will be drawn every second Friday of the month through December. 
 
To raise awareness about public safety and call before you dig, Pennsylvania 811, the state’s 811 call center, will post photos of all entries on its Facebook and Twitter pages. If your firehouse doesn’t have a marquee, it can order a complimentary 4-by-8-foot vinyl banner to hang and photograph (the station’s name must be in the picture) to submit for the drawing.
 
The contest began in June and remaining drawings will take place July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11, November 8, and December 13. Fire companies may only enter and win once in the calendar year. 
 
For more information about the contest or to order a vinyl banner, go to the Fire House 811 Campaign page.


PSATS 2020 Calendar is Going to the Dogs...

Tuesday June 18th, 2019

Attention, pet owners! PSATS wants your photos for the Association’s 2020 calendar!

Here is your chance to show off your cute canine companion, furry feline friend, or other pertinent pet pal. PLEASE NOTE: PHOTOS MUST INCLUDE YOU AND YOUR PET(S).

Please provide your name and position, the pet’s name (and species if not readily apparent), and your township and county.

REQUIREMENTS

• To reproduce well in print, photos must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at a size of 4 inches x 6 inches.

• Please email photos as jpeg attachments to kacri@psats.org by September 16, 2019.

• Make sure to provide your name and position, township and county, and a daytime phone number.