Friday, February 1, 2013

Busy First Month of 2013

Hope everyone had a great January. It sure has been tumultuous on the weather front. Similarly, we have had some very interesting events in local government. Let's get started...

McSherrystown Borough Council:

At the January 9th meeting, we were informed by Borough Manager Scott Cook that the state's Act 108, which is a disposal ban on computer supplies and equipment, has mandated that we can no longer dispose of these types of items in the regular recycling/garbage pick-up. They must be recycled through the types of e-Recycling program our Borough currently participates in, in conjunction with the York County Solid Waste Authority via Penn Township. If you have old computer monitors, towers, etc. that you need to recycle, please contact the Borough Office for drop-off times and locations. You can also speak to one of the area computer repair businesses who will often recycle them into usable units again.

We were informed of a sewer back-up issue on N. 2nd Street by a resident there. We contacted USG, who had done our camera work for the Sanitary Sewer Maintenance for us just a few months ago, and they confirmed that there is a 75% blockage of the line beyond the curb, which the Borough has accepted responsibility to repair (usually it is the homeowner's responsibility for lines beyond the main tie-in). The first option explored was to use a type of "balloon" repair to seal the line, but with the extent of the damage, it will be necessary to dig up the line and physically repair it. As that part of the street is state (PennDot) road, we needed to apply for a permit to dig it up. We have done so, with the permit lasting two months starting April 15th. This will give us time after winter to get in there and do the work, but also PennDot plans to repave that road this summer, so doing the work at that time will save Borough money in retopping costs after the work is completed. Also, we were informed that the costs for the camera/line cleaning performed by USG was adjusted from $16,283.25 to $14,504.28 (eliminating duplicate fees), which saved us even more from the original budget of $25K for the project. Council approved the balance owed to be paid to the company ($8,141 was sent in December).

The Borough was able to collect over $10K in costs and fees coming from liens on two properties in town after Sheriff sales. These funds were in direct relation to municipal bills that were not paid by the owners after several years. There are still more liens of this sort that are outstanding, and the Borough is committed to collecting these amounts to offset the costs paid by the rest of the citizenry.

The Council discussed the Adams County Transportation Planning Organization's initiative to unit the Hanover Urban Area under a common MPO. Adams County municipalities outside of Gettysburg, Conewago Township and McSherrystown are in favor of having a County-specific MPO to apply for state and federal funding for various projects, however, the federal government, following the recommendations of the Census Bureau, has identified our very specific local area as one that will be expanding rapidly over the next 10 years. Although we cross county lines, the metropolitan area is recognized as being viable outside of county designations. Council voted unanimously to continue working with the Hanover Urban area in this pursuit, as it will serve to offer more success in acquiring grants and funds for local projects, such as the Hanover Area Regional Economic Development Committee, and as we already participate in Joint Bidding endeavors with these municipalities.

Adams County Boroughs Association:

At the January meeting, I was installed as Vice-President and Chairman of the Legislative Committee. I discussed my resolve to eliminate unfunded state and federal mandates on local municipalities, which ultimately cost our taxpayers more for programs that are not directly controlled at our local level.
Senate Resolution 323 of 2010 reviewed these mandates and made many suggestions as to the elimination of a bulk of the 6500 identified, many of which are archaic (some dating back to the early 1800s). One such mandate which the County Commissioners have done away with recently was the $12,000 yearly salary paid to the Jury Commissioner, who was in charge of picking jurors for the county. Since the 1970s, this job has been accomplished by computers, and thus, no person was needed to perform this task, although the County had been paying the salary each year.  I will have more on this as my Legislative Committee discusses other concerns, such as the Prevailing Wage mandate, which increases costs to local municipalities by 30-70% for work done by contract, such as road paving, construction, etc.  CLICK HERE to view the Task Force report and to review these mandates in detail.

I also discussed Senate Bill 65 for the 2013-2014 of the State Senate which is currently in the Local Government Committee. Memo #9 states this is an Act amending Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for local referenda.  As Senator Kim Ward writes, "Currently, there are few special circumstances where local governments can put measures on the ballot for voter approval or denial. Beyond increased debt proposals and special legislative provisions, these local governments do not have the ability to seek the will of the populace in large scale projects or measures. My legislation would broaden the ability of local governments to use voter referendums on items like tax increases, capital projects and ordinances."

I am fully in support of our voters' having the right to tell us directly on ballot how they feel we should direct our legislation on a local level.  Anyone wishing to contact Senator Ward can reach her at 717-787-6063.

I was also asked to serve as the alternate representative to the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs on the Resolutions and Policy Committee. This assignment will aid our own Legislative Committee to be more involved in state level concerns and representing local constituents' interests against those of the larger metropolitan areas of the state, namely Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

On February 6th, I will be a panelist for the Penn State Extension Workshop titled "Toss Your Hat in the Ring, How to Get Involved in Local Government".  With almost 20 people signed up to attend, they will get information on what to do if they would like to run for local office. Monica Dutko from the Adams County Office of Elections will also be there to answer questions. The cost is $25, and is good for those who want to get involved or as a refresher for those who are already serving.

I WILL ALSO BE RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION THIS SPRING/FALL!  As you may know, I ran for and won a two year term in the write-in campaign from 2011. This year, I will be coming around to get my petitions signed and to get the news out about what I am doing to represent the people of McSherrystown. I would appreciate any and all support in my efforts for re-election. You can contact me directly if you would like to help with getting signatures for my petition. The video below explains the process, which begins today and runs through March 12th.

I hope that I am serving your interests, and as always, I am available to talk about any concerns you may have for the Borough, County or State. I have begun to use a new mobile video app on my Facebook page to keep everyone more informed in a more personal format. These posts are labeled for public viewing, so you can subscribe to my posts and be able to view it without adding me to your personal list. CLICK HERE for my Facebook address.  You can also email me directly....CLICK HERE TO EMAIL ME NOW.

Thank you for allowing me to be your voice to our local government!

For Liberty!

David "Scotty" Bolton
McSherrystown Borough Councilman and citizen