News: Horsham Township Wins Outstanding Citizen Communication Award
April 21, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PSATS Director of Communications
Cell: (717) 805-3588 (through April 23, 2015)
Office: (717) 763-0930, ext. 127 (after April 23, 2015)
Horsham Township Honored for Outstanding Citizen Communication
Horsham Township in Montgomery County received the 24th Annual Outstanding Citizen Communication Award today at the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ 93rd Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show in Hershey for its exceptional efforts to communicate with residents. The conference, which concludes Wednesday, has attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships.
The association presents the award each year as part of its Annual Township Citizen Communication Contest to recognize one township for its overall achievement and commitment to citizen communication.
Horsham Township placed first in the “Websites” category; second in the “Most Improved Newsletter” category; and third in both the “Annual Reports” and “Other Publications” categories for a new resident handbook it developed. The township was the only entrant to win honors in more than two categories.
Manager Bill Walker oversees the township’s communications efforts with help from the staff, whose priority is to keep residents well-informed.
“Communications is part of our culture,” Walker said, adding that the staff tries to look at every issue from the public’s perspective. Often, he said, that means thinking about and presenting complex municipal matters, such as zoning or stormwater management requirements, in a way that’s easy for everyone to understand.
“Sometimes, we’ll put information in an article that we understand because we work in local government,” he added, “and that forces us to take a step back, put ourselves in our residents’ shoes, and make some changes.”
Recently, the township turned that same critical eye on its website and newsletter, which went through major updates to make them more streamlined and user-friendly, Walker said.
“We’ve given both of them a new look, a new energy,” he said. “We want them to be attractive so that residents will seek them out and read them.”
For Walker, earning the Outstanding Citizen Communication Award is proof the township is on the right track.
“We try really hard to put as much information out there as we can,” he said, “and we’re extremely proud of this award. It gave the staff a pat on the back that it really deserves.”
Entries in the Citizen Communication Contest were judged on the usefulness of information presented and how well the information was communicated. Publications were also judged on their overall attractiveness and readability.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.