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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Press Release
"Rendell Administration Recognizes Achievements of Local Governments"
15 Apr 08

CRCOG

From left:

  • Dennis Yablonsky, Secretary, PA Dept. of Comm. & Economic Development.
  • Dennis Hameister, Harris Twp. Supervisor & PA COG Officer
  • James C. Steff, Exec. Director Centre Region COG
  • Greg L. Roth, CRPR Parks Supervisor
  • Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll
  • Holly Fritchman, Nature Center Advisory Committee
  • Fred Reddig, Director, Local Gov't Services, PA DCED.
  • Sue Mascolo, Chair, Centre Reg. Recreation Authority
  • Ronald J. Woodhead, CRPR Director
  • Molly A. Hetrick, CRPR Rec. Supervisor, Nature Center

The text below is also available at: http://www.newpa.com/newsDetail.aspx?id=948

HARRISBURG -- Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky praised the efforts of eight municipal organizations and nine local leaders today during the 12th annual “Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence” award ceremony.

“The most successful teams have players who work together towards a common goal,” Yablonsky said. “Whether it’s allocating funds to help purchase new police department equipment, supporting efforts to consolidate services, distributing grants to make our neighborhoods more attractive, or offering guidance when new laws take effect, we consistently and effectively work with our municipal entities, making them some of our strongest teammates in putting Pennsylvania on the road to enduring progress.”

The Lieutenant Governor also noted her appreciation for those who serve on the “front line” closest to their constituents.

“Local government people simply have no place to hide from the high expectations of their friends and neighbors. They are the first line of offense and defense in the American system of government,” she said. “Thank you for being so good at what you do.”

The two presented plaques and certificates to local government entities in six categories. Nine individual awards were also presented to those who saw where their communities could use improvement, then worked tirelessly to fix them.

The Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence are presented annually by the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services. The center’s staff chooses the winners from applications submitted by municipal organizations throughout the commonwealth.

In his remarks, Yablonsky said local governments would benefit substantially from legislation that consolidates earned income tax collection.

“With its different rules, rates, forms and codes, the way we currently collect these taxes is not only cumbersome, it’s costing our municipalities $237 million a year,” he said. “We need to reduce that burden and allow that money to be used in ways that further enhance our communities.”

To learn more about earned income tax reform, or for more information on Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, visit www.newpa.com or call 1-866-466-3972.

Ready

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A list of the “Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence” winners, separated by categories, and a brief description of their project, follows.

Building Community Partnerships

Centre Region COG/Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority, Centre County

Five participating municipalities of the Centre Region COG, acting through the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority, created the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center from a 12-acre farmstead and 50-acre wetland. The center is located less than a mile from State College and has proven to be an important nature and recreation destination in the Centre County Region, offering quality environmental education programs to more than 8,000 visitors a year, including tour groups, summer camp programs, community events, recreational activities and leisure programs.

Rock Run Regional Visioning Committee, Cambria and Clearfield counties

This group received the award on behalf of 17 municipalities that cooperated to address issues important to the region’s future, including economic development, transportation and wayfinding, land use and infrastructure, public safety and intergovernmental cooperation. Open lines of communication and a common vision of the region’s future fostered the municipalities’ effort to create a multi-municipal plan.

Springfield Township, Jacobus and Loganville boroughs, York County

These municipalities were recognized for building an inter-municipal recreational trail that joins neighborhoods, parks and schools. People will now have the opportunity to bicycle, walk, jog, horseback ride and cross-country ski. The project takes advantage of the existing natural corridor, enhances the quality of life, increases pedestrian safety and is completely handicap accessible.

Promoting Community and Economic Revitalization

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Erie, Erie County

This organization received the award for partnering with the City of Erie and the Erie Downtown Improvement District to develop the Downtown Erie Revitalization Plan. The plan advocates the use of land and buildings in downtown Erie, starting with home-ownership and targeted retail development. The City and ERA have a long record of cooperation on community development initiatives in Erie, but the downtown revitalization plan has taken this partnership to new levels through the leadership and stability of the mayor’s administration and the technical competency and public credibility of the ERA team.

Innovative Community and Governmental Initiatives

Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority, Lebanon County

This authority was recognized for developing a unique educational program within renewable energy power production facility. The power plant doubles energy production from existing renewable fuel supplies, applies innovative technology to collect landfill gas, reduces the risk of landfill gas escaping to the environment, and educates the public on renewable energy. This project exemplifies efficiency, cost savings, and innovation.

Innovative Planning and Sound Land Use Practices

Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee, Lancaster County

This group received its award for developing a multi-municipal plan for 11 contiguous municipalities that are members of the Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee (LIMC), a council of governments in central Lancaster County. The plan stresses the importance of directing expansion to designated growth areas, and delineates 36 growth opportunity districts where officials can encourage more compact, mixed use development. The plan exemplifies strategies of how municipalities throughout Pennsylvania can work together in planning for the future.

Responding to Adversity

City of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County

The city received this award for its work to prevent flood devastation in South Wilkes-Barre. The city completely reconstructed four bridges that span Solomon’s Creek. The new bridges, two of which are complete, feature state-of-the-art flood protection equipment which allows high water to flow in a way that alleviates the potential dangers of flooding to the surrounding areas. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this is the first system of its kind in the United States.

Intergovernmental Cooperation

Warren County Intergovernmental Co-Op

This group is being recognized for improving communication among and between the City of Warren and the county’s boroughs and townships. Prior to the co-op, intergovernmental relations between Warren and the neighboring municipalities were non-existent. The emergence of the co-op and its active program has dramatically enhanced relations between the city and county government and the municipalities countywide. Eighteen of the county’s 27 municipalities are now participating, representing 79 percent of the county’s population. The co-op addresses significant issues that impact municipalities, including taxation and administration.

Individual Winners

Robert Anspach, Mayor, City of Lebanon, Lebanon County

After taking office in 2002, Mayor Anspach brought modern policies and structure to Lebanon city government. As mayor, he has fought crime and addressed quality of life issues; eliminated $1 million health care deficit; and contained expenses to encourage stronger fiscal programs. Under Mayor Anspach’s leadership, Lebanon has experienced a resurgence in its downtown by attracting new businesses to locate within the city. Anspach also serves as the first vice president of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities.

Douglas K. Bowen, Manager, Whitehall Township Authority, Lehigh County

As manager of the Whitehall Township Authority for more than 30 years, Bowen has shown his dedication to his community and a commitment to providing people with safe, sufficient drinking water in an environmentally responsible manner. Bowen has shared his expertise and commitment in various capacities. He has served as a volunteer committee person, board member and officer of the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, leading the organization for the past year as its president. Appointed by Governor Casey and reappointed by Governor Ridge, he served on the board of directors and as chairman for the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System. Bowen is a tireless worker for governmental efficiencies, advocating new technologies and environmentalism. He has demonstrated attributes above and beyond the call of duty when serving the interests of his communities.

Peter A. Ferraro, Commissioner, Ross Township, Allegheny County

Currently the president of the State Association of Township Commissioners and having served on the association’s executive board for 10 years, Ferraro has been a commissioner in Ross Township, Allegheny County, for more than 18 years. He is a former president of the Allegheny County and Western PA Association of Township Commissioners and continues to serve on that board. In addition, he is also a member of the Allegheny League of Municipalities’ executive board. Most recently, he was instrumental in the construction of Ross Township’s newly completed community center and administration building.

Joseph F. Giles, Chairman, Erie County Council

Giles is being recognized for his service as an Erie County councilman and a County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) second vice president; for membership on CCAP policy committees on human services and criminal justice; for representing CCAP at its national association; for current service as vice-president of the Pennsylvania Liability Insurance for County Affiliated Nursing Homes Subscribers Advisory Council; and sitting on several insurance boards and committees, including County Managed Care Resource (COMCARE), Deferred Comp Advisory, PA Counties Workers Compensation Trust (PComp), and the CCAP Unemployment Compensation.

Charles “Bud” Graham, Supervisor, Harris Township, Centre County

Since 1994, Graham has served as a township supervisor and has been active in the Centre Region COG. During his tenure on the COG finance committee, he has witnessed the COG’s budget grow by $15 million and has been involved with several major projects, such as the Schlow Centre Region Library, two fire stations and two regional parks which comprise more than 140 acres. He has also been involved with the initiative to finance two regional swimming pools and has been a member of the Boalsburg Volunteer Fire Company for more than 40 years.

William C. Groves, Chairman, Cumberland Township, Greene County

Groves is being recognized for serving Cumberland Township on the board of supervisors and as chairman of the board; for serving the Greene County Association of Township Officials as a past president; for his service as a former fire chief in the Carmichaels-Cumberland Township Volunteer Fire Department; for serving on the Executive Board of the PA State Association of Township Supervisors; for serving on the DCED Local Government Advisory Committee and for providing significant other public service.

David Perruso, Mayor, Wilson Borough, Northampton County

David Perruso has been a dedicated member of the Wilson Borough community as a member of Borough Council for more than 30 years, including several years as council president. Additionally, Perruso has been serving as a director on the board of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs for 12 years.

Barry Seymour, Executive Director, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Leading 117 staff and overseeing a $20 million work program at the DVRPC, Seymour began the first planning grant program at DVRPC and created the Smart Transportation for Growing Suburbs program to manage transportation planning and community design. He is a tireless advocate for regional, county and local government planning.

Dallas A. Dollase Award for Excellence in Planning

Anna Breinich has served more than 30 years in the municipal, private and non-profit sectors and has been active in state and national affairs with a lengthy list of accomplishments. As director of community planning for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, she helped towns and rural areas across the state promote economic opportunity and a local legacy of history, architecture, beauty, and natural resources. She was an adjunct associate professor and Harrisburg program coordinator of Temple University's Planning Master's degree program. She has served as president of the Pennsylvania Planning Association, chair of the American Planning Association's Chapter presidents council, and PPA Professional Development Officer as well as a member of the PPA board of directors and legislative committee. She was elected to national office in 2006 and is the Region I Commissioner for the American Institute of Certified Planners. She also had an active role through the 10,000 Friends policy advisory committee in building the 2000 Growing Smarter MPC amendments and has served on her own township planning commission. Anna is being recognized for demonstrating a lifelong commitment and devotion to planning.

Department of Community and Economic Development
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, 4th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Contact:  Janel Miller (717) 783-1132

The CRPR Authority is a publicly-funded, municipal agency serving 5 municipalities since 1966. The Authority also maintains 501c3 status.
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