Governor's Awards Recognize Dedication of Local Governments, Officials to Community Improvement
Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, on behalf of Gov. Tom Corbett, recognized municipalities and local government officials around the state April 15 for their dedication and commitment to strengthen their communities and better serve their residents.
“The governor and I understand the immense responsibility you all have to provide solutions that make your community a vibrant place to live, work, and raise a family,” Cawley said. “Today is recognition of your dedication to public service and a celebration of leadership and innovation that has resulted in vibrant communities for the citizens you serve.”
The recognitions were part of the 17th Annual Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence. Eight local government leaders and 12 communities across the state received awards that were presented at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
The following local government officials were recognized for outstanding service to their communities and local government associations:
- Jack Walter, supervisor, Athens Township, and a PSATS Trustee
- Erick Coolidge, commissioner, Tioga County
- James Felmlee, council member, Lewistown Borough
- Daniel Guydish, executive director, Mountain Council of Governments
- Kenneth B. Hughes, director, Montgomery County Planning Commission
- John Lucas, commissioner, Marple Township
- Nick Nicely, Fox Chapel Authority
- Ed Pawlowski, mayor, City of Allentown
The community awards cover 10 categories, including: building community partnerships; promoting community and economic revitalization; innovative community and governmental initiatives; fiscal accountability; innovative planning and sound land-use practices; intergovernmental cooperation; responding to adversity; innovative energy conservation; and innovative environmental partnerships.
The following municipalities, organizations, and Councils of Governments were recognized:
Allegheny Valley Volunteer Fire Company #1, Allegheny County, was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation. Through cooperation from Harmar and Springdale Townships, along with the Harmar and Springdale Township Volunteer Fire Companies, the group forged a stronger and more efficient fire department at a reduced cost to the public.
The Butler County Council of Governments, in conjunction with the Lawrence and Beaver County Regional Council of Governments, was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation for developing a unique health care initiative for municipalities in Western Pennsylvania. The combined first-year savings for these local governments was $1.1 million, with membership at seven COGs and 41 municipalities.
The Capital Region Council of Governments was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation through its partnership with two local police departments. Serving the role of fiduciary for a police testing association, the Council of Government and police departments have experienced overwhelming success through the shared efforts.
Central Keystone Council of Governments, Union County, was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation by facilitating the formation of a regionalized police department. The Central Keystone COG provided clerical support along with direction and guidance. In 2011, the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department was formed with four surrounding communities.
Erie Area Council of Governments was recognized in the category of information technology for improvements to Erie County’s local government electronic capabilities. The innovative internet-based collaborative system allows the municipalities and intergovernmental organizations to coordinate their individual and joint activities.
Garden Spot Fire Rescue, Lancaster County, was recognized for building community partnerships through the consolidation of local fire services. With the consolidation, Garden Spot has noticed a more efficient response process while covering a larger area that will ensure continued volunteer fire and rescue operations at a reduced cost.
Hampton and Shaler Townships, Allegheny County, were recognized for their intergovernmental cooperation with the Hampton Municipal Authority. The shared efforts allowed the parties to improve the long-term delivery of water service to residents in the area by creating the Hampton Shaler Water Authority.
Keystone Valley Regional Fire District, Chester County, was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation through the consolidation of three fire companies covering Sadsbury, West Sadsbury, and Highland Townships and Parkesburg Borough. The successful consolidation was a result of municipal cooperation and will provide local communities with a stronger emergency service presence at a reduced cost.
Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, was recognized for promoting community and economic revitalization. The township, when presented with an aging business park and dwindling occupancy, took the lead to revitalize the 300-acre business park, create and retain jobs, fill vacant buildings, and increase property values. Since the renovation, Lower Providence has retained its two largest employers, representing 1,200 jobs, and attracted 22 new businesses with an additional 825 jobs.
McCandless Township, Allegheny County, was recognized for intergovernmental cooperation through its partnership with Ohio Township. The municipalities partnered to switch to an automated curbside collection for recycling, trash, and yard waste. This method will allow both communities to move toward a greener and sustainably clean lifestyle for its residents.
Mt. Lebanon, Allegheny County, was recognized for its intergovernmental cooperation through the creation of a regional municipal recycling competition to boost the waste being recycled. The multimunicipal recycling competition brought together 10 diverse Pittsburgh communities in the South Hills and increased the annual rate of recycling by over 10 percent.
- Tarentum Borough, Allegheny County, was recognized for its innovation toward community and governmental initiatives. Working with General Electric, the borough replaced its street lighting system with new, energy-efficient LED lighting at no additional cost to residents. The change from 450 high-pressure sodium streetlights to LED lights reduced the borough’s street-lighting electricity costs by 66 percent and maintenance costs by 99 percent.
The Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence are presented annually to communities and individuals by the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, an office within the Department of Community and Economic Development that works to assist Pennsylvania’s local governments.