Township Supervisors Discuss Impact Fee, Cost Savings

Mary Wilson & Essential Public Radio Staff May 4, 2012

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) is holding its 90th annual conference this weekend. PSATS director Dave Sanko said this year, out of deference to a new era of limited resources, everyone’s focus is on saving money.

“Local governments are not looking to Harrisburg or Washington for money, but they are looking for mandate relief and to enable them to be able to do things more effectively, more efficiently, get rid of the some of the goofy rules that stand in their way that cost them money,” Sanko said.

According to Sanko, some of those “goofy rules” include outdated public notice requirements that he says are unnecessarily costly.

“We’re looking for the option or the ability to be able to post meeting notices on the internet or on our website instead of having to buy newspaper advertising space, as an example,” said Sanko.

A 2006 report by Penn State-Harrisburg found that local governments spend more than $26 million a year on required newspaper advertising.

But township leaders have more on their mind than ad space. The state’s new natural gas drilling impact fee is poised to bring revenue to municipalities in Marcellus Shale country. Sanko said some of the planned talks will explain how local governments can spend the money raised as a result. He says the conference is also an opportunity to talk about pending legislation to get rid of state law requiring that townships pay regionally-set wages for certain road and building construction projects.