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News Archive


U.S. Rep. Calls to Suspend Stormwater Fees

Friday February 15th, 2019

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser is calling for the suspension of a new stormwater fee until more clarity is provided to Wyoming Valley area property owners who must pay it. In a recent letter sent to the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, Meuser (R-Dallas) addressed how his constituents have “shared their understandable alarm that they face new and sudden fees that could reach into the thousands as a result of the implementation of these regulations.”

To read more about this story, click here

 



FEMA's SAFER Grant Application Now Open

Friday February 15th, 2019

FEMA's Fiscal Year 2018 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant application period is now open.

The SAFER Program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720). 

For assistance, applicants can contact the SAFER Grants Help Desk at firegrants@fema.dhs.gov or (866) 274-0960. Application assistance tools are available online at www.fema.gov/firegrantsGrant applications are due March 22, 2019. 



Grants Available for Fleet Diesel Trucks, Buses, Other Vehicles

Friday February 15th, 2019
The state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the PA State Clean Diesel Grant Program until February 28. The program provides funding to replace, repower, or retrofit fleet diesel-powered trucks, buses, and other vehicles and equipment through the Driving PA Forward Program. Read the formal notice here.
 
More than $2.6 million is available due to the 2018 settlement with Volkswagen, relating to emissions cheating.
 
Grants are available for both public and private entities, including school districts, local governments, and nonprofit organizations.
 
The application package, including guidance and application instructions, is available electronically on DEP's Driving PA Forward webpage or by emailing the Bureau of Air Quality at ra-epvwmitigation@pa.gov or calling (717) 787-9495.
 
Applications must be submitted online through the Single Application for Assistance.


Deadline Extended for Rural Broadband Funding

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). The deadline for applications has been pushed back to at least May 31, 2019. New specific deadlines for ReConnect Program grants, loans, and grant-loan combination applications will be posted in the Federal Register in late February.
 
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.
 
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.
 
USDA is hosting a webinar with general information about the ReConnect program and guidance from experts for potential applicants. The webinar is open to the public and interested parties. It will be held February 13 at 2 p.m.
 
For more information about the ReConnect program, visit the ReConnect webpage


Stormwater Funding Available for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Communities

Thursday January 24th, 2019
Pennsylvania communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed can apply for funding to help reduce stormwater runoff in urban areas by implementing green infrastructure practices. The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. March 7, 2019.
 
The Chesapeake Bay Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grant Program helps communities:
 
• develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff;
• increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas;
• improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay; and
• enhance quality of life and community livability.
 
Applicants may request up to $15,000 for conceptual plans, $20,000 for white papers, $30,000 for engineered designs, $50,000 for greening communities and urban vacant lots, and $100,000 for implementation projects.
 
For more information or to apply, visit the grant program 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.


Enter Your Joint Project in PSATS’ Intergovernmental Cooperation Awards Program

Monday January 14th, 2019
Did your township partner with neighboring municipalities and/or the state and federal governments to complete a project in 2018? If so, submit a description for consideration in PSATS’ Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Awards Program. Submissions are due by March 18.
 
Presented in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments (PACOG), the contest recognizes townships that work with other government entities to complete projects more efficiently and cost-effectively.
 
Eligible activities include but are not limited to:
• joint road or bridge construction/replacement;
• intermunicipal parks and recreation projects;
• regional stormwater projects;
• equipment/manpower sharing programs;
• joint comprehensive plans;
• public safety cooperatives; and
• intermunicipal recycling and/or illegal dump remediation programs. 
 
Winners will receive their awards at PSATS’ Annual Educational Conference in April and will be the subject of a Township News article.
 
For more information or to submit a project, call Brenda Wilt at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 123, or email bwilt@psats.org.


Enter Your Road or Bridge Project in Annual Contest

Friday January 4th, 2019
Did your township complete an outstanding road or bridge project in 2018? If so, you have until March 1 to enter it in the 37th Annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest.
 
Sponsored by PSATS, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association, and the state Department of Transportation, the contest recognizes townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort to making roads and bridges safer for motorists, pedestrians, and other travelers.
 
Eligible projects include safety improvements initiated and completed in 2018 or ongoing projects begun in 2018. Entries must involve visible improvements, such as guide rail or stop sign installation, road widening and resurfacing, bridge improvements, or clearing brush from a road curve where poor sight distance has resulted in accidents. 
 
Education programs, stricter speed limit enforcement, and drunk driver programs, while contributing to traffic safety, are not eligible for this contest.
 
Entry forms for the contest were mailed to townships and Township Engineers Association members in January. The completed form must be sent to PennDOT by March 1.
 
Winners will receive their awards at PSATS’ Annual Educational Conference in April and be the subject of a Township News article.
 
For more information or additional entry forms, call Brenda Wilt at PSATS at (717) 763-0930, ext. 123. Townships may also download a brochure.


Grants for Historic Preservation Available

Friday January 4th, 2019
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and local governments for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program.
 
Grants support projects that identify, preserve, promote, and protect historical and archaeological resources in Pennsylvania for both the benefit of the public and community revitalization. The grants receive funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund. A total of $2.5 million has been set aside for this program, an increase of $1 million over the previous year due to continued popularity of the program.
 
Two categories of grants – project and construction – are available for historical resources in Pennsylvania that are listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants may apply for only one type of grant.
 
Project grants are available for planning and development initiatives that enhance historic preservation in communities. Project grant applications may include municipal planning initiatives focusing on historical resources or may be used to meet building- or project-specific planning goals. Keystone Historic Preservation Project Grants are available between $5,000 and $25,000 and require a 50/50 cash match.
 
Construction grants are available for rehabilitation, preservation, and restoration activities for historical resources that are publicly accessible and under non-profit or local government ownership. Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants are available between $5,000 and $100,000 and require a 50/50 cash match. 
 
Applications are due March 1, 2019. Grants will be awarded through a competitive selection process and are contingent on the availability of funds. Please note that all PHMC grant applications must be submitted on the commonwealth’s Single Application for Assistance system. For grant program guidelines and a program fact sheet, visit PHMC online at www.phmc.pa.gov and click on “Grants and Funding” under the "Preservation" tab in the top navigation bar. 
 


Have You Built a Better Mousetrap? Show It Off in Annual PennDOT Contest

Tuesday January 1st, 2019
Has one of your township employees recently built an innovative gadget or come up with a better way to do a job? If so, now is the time to show it off by entering the 2019 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition.
 
PennDOT is looking for projects that municipal employees or road crews designed and built. It can be anything from the development of tools and equipment modifications to processes that increase safety, reduce costs, or improve efficiency or the quality of transportation.
 
New this year, the contest will have four categories for submitting entries, with a potential winner in each. From among these winning entries, an overall winner of the contest will be chosen. The categories are: 
 
1) Inspection and data collection (automated/remote means, testing, time, etc.) 
 
2) Asset management techniques (GIS, mapping, decision support systems, etc.) 
 
3) Maintenance tools and methods (lifters, reachers, modifications, assembly, etc.) 
 
4) Transportation facilities improvements (storage, access, operations, services, etc.)
 
If you have a project that qualifies under one of these categories, submit your entry by March 8, 2019. PennDOT will choose winners in March and announce them at the annual conference of the winners’ respective municipal associations. Entries will be judged by a committee of municipal road employees on cost savings/benefits to the community, ingenuity, transferability to others, and effectiveness. 
 
The winning entries will be submitted into the national competition for prizes and, of course, bragging rights. Winners of the national competition will be announced at the annual LTAP/TTAP national conference next summer. All entries at the national level will be posted on the LTAP/TTAP website and compiled into an electronic booklet.
 
To download entry forms for the 2019 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition, go to www.ltap.state.pa.us and click on “News Items.” Complete the entry form and return it by March 8 to PennDOT-LTAP, c/o PSATS, 4855 Woodland Drive, Enola, PA 17025 or email it to katkinson@psats.org
 
For more information, call Karen Atkinson at (717) 763-0930, ext. 156.


Funds Available for Rural Fire Departments

Monday December 31st, 2018
Rural or volunteer fire departments that serve communities with fewer than 10,000 people are eligible for funding from the U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Departments in townships with more than 10,000 people may apply as long as the department covers a rural area or community with a maximum population of 10,000. The application period opens February 26 and closes May 2, 2019.
 
The grants, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, help rural fire departments organize, train, and equip firefighters to prevent and suppress fires that threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands, farmsteads, or other improvements in rural areas. The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property.
 
This is a cost-share program. Financial assistance on any project during any fiscal year may not exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures, including those of local, public, and private nonprofit organizations participating in the agreement. The maximum grant award is $7,500.
 
Grants may be used to purchase wildfire suppression equipment, protective gear, and mobile or portable radios; install dry hydrants; prevent and mitigate wildfires; or attend wildfire training. Funds may also be used to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles received from the Bureau of Forestry and used for fire suppression.
 
Priority will be given to projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective gear. Grants may not be used for structural fire equipment or protective gear, supply hose larger than 2½ inches in diameter, structures, routine maintenance of vehicles not received from the Bureau of Forestry, medical services, ambulance services, fire police equipment and gear, or search and rescue equipment and gear.
 
Applications must be submitted online. For updated grant program deadlines and to apply for a grant, go to www.grants.dcnr.state.pa.us or call toll-free (800) 326-7734.


Energy Assistance Available for Rural Communities

Monday December 31st, 2018
Rural townships may apply for grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program.
 
Grantees use the funds to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers with renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and energy site assessments.
 
The deadlines for the various grant levels are as follows:
 
• Grant or guaranteed loan/grant combination of $20,000 or less: April 1, 2019.
 
• Unrestricted grant or guaranteed loan/unrestricted grant combination: April 1, 2019.
 
For more information and applications, go to www.rd.usda.gov/pa or contact Amanda Hope in the Pennsylvania Rural Development Office at (717) 237-2289 or amanda.hope@pa.usda.gov.
 


Free Webinars Explain DCNR Grant Programs

Monday December 31st, 2018
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will host two webinars to explain aspects of the department’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2), which provides funding for recreation and conservation projects. Applications will be accepted January 22 through April 10, 2019.
 
The webinars and their topics are:
 
• Jan. 30: DCNR Grants for Recreation, Conservation, Trail, and Riparian Buffer Projects. Those who were unable to attend one of the in-person workshops in the fall are encouraged to register for this webinar, which will cover the same material.
 
• Feb. 27: DCNR’s Statewide and Regional Partnership Grant Program. This webinar will discuss grant funding for public recreation, conservation, or heritage-area initiatives undertaken across a statewide or regional landscape.
 
For more information on registering for the webinars, call Jim Young at (717) 783-2712 or email jwyoung@pa.gov. Online registration is required; 
go to events.dcnr.pa.gov.