The PA State Association of Township Commissioners (PSATC) represents the Commonwealth’s first class townships. PSATC asks the General Assembly to address the following issues during the 2018-19 session.
Local governments are faced with more than 6,000 mandates. These mandates – often unfunded – tie the hands of municipalities and increase the tax burden on residents and businesses. PSATC seeks the following:
Municipal Public Safety Pension Reform
Public safety employees deserve pensions that reflect the services they perform. Likewise, taxpayers deserve predictable and sustainable pension costs. The current public safety pension statutes are antiquated resulting in an inequitable and unaffordable burden on taxpayers. PSATC seeks an equitable solution to ever-growing pension costs.
Binding Arbitration Reform
For 50 years, binding arbitration has been the process to address public safety contract disputes in Pennsylvania. Over time, the process has weighed heavily in favor of the unions. PSATC is not advocating for the elimination of Act 111. Rather, it supports leveling the playing field with commonsense changes.
Public Notice Modernization
Making public information accessible should be efficient and affordable for those seeking the information, as well as for those providing it. PSATC supports a central depository for public notices in the form of a publically accessible, searchable website. A “one-stop” approach will increase access to public information while saving tax dollars.
Prevailing Wage Reform
The 55 year old prevailing wage threshold of $25,000 for public projects needs to be raised to reflect today’s costs. PSATC supports increasing the threshold and adding an annual inflation mechanism that will allow the threshold to keep pace with future costs.
Public safety is a primary function of local government. PSATC seeks the tools necessary to support local officials in this important and basic function.
Local Use of Radar
Speeding is a paramount issue for local elected officials as it is the number one complaint from constituents. Radar is a reliable, accurate and efficient public safety tool, unlike the antiquated VASCAR system local police currently use. PSATC strongly supports the authorization for local police to use radar.
Preservation of Local Zoning and Rights-of-Way Management
Zoning is an inherent right of local government used to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and property. PSATC strongly opposes legislation that will preempt local land use decisions and limit rights-of-way management as it infringes on a local governing body’s duty to protect its citizens and their property.
Water, Sewer and Storm Water Infrastructure Funding
Upgrading basic water and sewer infrastructure is costly, but it is also a matter of public safety. Meeting state and federal requirements for nutrient reduction and storm water management are also costly with the added element of mandated compliance. To fund aging infrastructure repairs and meet mandates, PSATC advocates for new funding options and local flexibility.