Thursday, November 13, 2014

The 2014 Legislative Year in Review

Adams County is truly one of the greatest places on Earth in which to live. The diverse histories, traditions and individuality of our various communities enrich the utilization of the distinct topography and natural resources placed here for us to glorify and augment with responsible management of all factors involved.  The Adams County Boroughs Association has been an influential consortium for municipalities here and across the state.  This momentum will continue to grow towards the solutions sought by us all.

Being designated the “Greater Hanover Metropolitan Area” by the latest U.S. Census, we must remember to enhance all efforts possible. The Hanover Regional Economic Development Committee (first inter-county effort in PA history) was formed over 2 years ago for this very purpose. Working with many organizations and businesses, including both York and Adams County Planning and Economic Development personnel, we will explore ways to develop our resources, market our product and attract investors to boast the local economies.  We have already begun to see (and will continue to explore) consolidations and mergers of police and emergency services in Adams County.

Some of the richest soil in the county lies in Conewago Township.  We have an invaluable partnership potential with the Penn State Extension Office and the county Agricultural and Natural Resource Center to analyze and maximize the potential for land utilization in all of Adams County.  All considerations must be made to ensure the strength and growth of our farming community and its effects on the economy of the entire county.

All of this must be connected by safe, reliable and accessible roads and bridges. ACTPO has approved a 3-year TIP to address not only the major arteries through Adams County, but will upgrade smaller roads in need as well. Cooperation with York County will ensure continuous consideration for roads extending into neighboring authorities. Upgrades to the PennDOT website allows anyone to access project information, keeping The People of Adams County informed of the decisions made with their mandated contributions, and assuring them of the vision for the future of transportation in Adams County.

Adams County has been an active voice in the affairs of state in Pennsylvania, penning and adopting several resolutions (while also individually adopting them at the municipal level to a majority of Boroughs) which have made changes for the better for The People. An increase in the allowable pay-outs for service clubs in the Small Games of Chance Bill has provided funds for an active K9 unit in the county. The PSAB is steadfast in our pursuit to allow local and regional police the use of radar to protect those in areas where VASCAR and other systems fail. There is optimism that a new Congress, next year, will help move forward the right to municipal referenda during primary and general elections. Adams County will continue to be an active influence on the PSAB’s Municipal Policy, providing legislation and leadership. 

I am proud to have served you this past year as Vice-President, PSAB and ACTPO representative, and as Legislative Committee Chair. I hope to retain your confidence in continuing forward with these same duties next year. Thank you for the opportunity.

David Bolton
McSherrystown Borough Council and Citizen

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer is Over, Time to get back to Work!

Sometimes the best lessons arise from relatively insignificant events. While on vacation this summer, I saw a very out-of-place feline who looked as if it had lost its way. It was fumbling through the dunes, in search of food, water, shelter...I can't be sure. It wandered around by itself and soon, I saw some large birds circling the area. Had they spotted a potential meal? Would the cat make it on its own? 

As representatives of our respective boroughs, there are surely times when we feel as alone as this cat. Trying to find the proper level of resources for the survival of our municipalities while fending off those who would wait to see us fail. 

I wondered, how much better would this cat fair if it were in a small group? Would the birds swoop down on a strong coalition? How much better the chances for survival and a happier life, feeling secure and safe in its group?

Our CBA and the PSAB have created an environment within which our boroughs can retain their individual traditions and heritages, but also share in the benefits of the strength created when we come together to support causes dear to our constituencies. Act 89 has increased our individual share of the revenues created by the state gas taxes/fees, and will ensure the maintenance and safety of our roads and bridges. The Adams County Transportation Planning Organization has approved the project funding levels for the next three years. The improvements provided will make traveling through our county better for business, tourist and local drivers. A new unified Borough Code strengthens the influence of your people in the grand scheme which is our Commonwealth. The increased weekly pay-outs from the Small Games of Chance Act reforms have made available more of our own community monies; to be retained and used locally. We will continue to move forward by ensuring the safety of our citizens in offering municipal police departments the opportunity to use radar technology to more accurately enforce local speed limits in areas where other methods are ineffective. Adams County has been a vocal legislative leader on the state level the past two years, penning three resolutions which were eventually voted on and accepted by the PSAB General Assembly, including Small Games of Chance Act reform, supporting local referendum and allowing local municipalities to use radar. We have done so while opposing any type of unfunded mandate which takes the power of appropriation away from our local people and gives it to state and federal leaders. We cannot expect leaders so removed from our daily events to dictate how we should spend within our local budgets, nor should we allow such to occur. I am honored to serve as your representative to PSAB, and its various committees, and will continue to vote as such to defend your rights and liberties.

I was thankful for the opportunity to attend the PSAB Municipal Law Update sessions this past month. The vast amount of information given over the two days were equivalent to 11 Continuing Law Education credits, and focused on how municipalities can better safeguard themselves from potential suits and litigation in the many facets of community services offered. I have already begun to apply the lessons learned in my own borough, with our police contract negotiations, zoning variances and general meeting decorum. I feel it is the duty of one chosen to represent The People to inform oneself of all aspects affecting the position, and to develop an understanding of the benefits and the consequences of the decisions made in our meetings. 

The Hanover Regional Economic Development Committee is in a stage of "strategic doing". The team has already created a Facebook presence, is inventorying local parks and public lands to coordinate an awareness campaign of the facilities, and is looking to attract more businesses into the Greater Hanover Metropolitan Area (new US Census designation, to include most of Adams County and Gettysburg) to broaden the tax base, lessen individual contributions and strengthen the local economies.

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend events throughout the county and work with the various leaders from municipal legislative updates to townhalls discussing important and sometimes controversial subjects.  We are lucky to have a great group of representatives in our area; Congressman Scott Perry, Senators Rich Alloway and Mike Folmer, Congressmen Moul and Tallman and our County Commissioners are all very active and supportive of the will of The People here in Adams County. I was lucky enough to meet with Governor Tom Corbett last week and to thank him for the support with the changes to the Small Games of Chance Act.

I never found out what happened to that cat, but I do know one thing: I would rather be out here in a Lion's Pride than go it alone with the state and federal pressures all above us. By banding together, we guarantee that the will of The People will survive. Thank you for your continued confidence in my ability to represent you.

David Bolton
Councilman, Civil Service Commission Chair and Citizen,
McSherrystown Borough.
Vice-President, ACTPO representative and 
Legislative Committee Chair,
Adams County Boroughs Association.
Hanover Regional Economic Development Committee Representative.
Board of Directors, Policy and Resolution Committee, Nomination Committee, 
Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Borough Council Meeting Prep Session--Blog Format

Welcome back. As I sit here preparing for the meeting tonight, I thought I would let you in on that process to see what all goes on "behind the scenes". I have three matters to bring before the Council tonight. Under old business, I will be asking what progress is being made to the Borough's Municipal Website. It was discussed in previous meetings last year that the website hosting the 250th Celebration, which ended last August, would be donated and converted over to the Borough website, and plans were established to build content on this site. As of this time, this project is still not complete. I will be asking how I can personally assist in making this happen for The People of our community.  The second matter involves documents from the McSherrystown Moose pertaining to their funding pledge to our "K9 Trust Fund".

The 3rd matter is just an idea that I had to help stimulate the local economy in the immediate future. 

I held a Yard Sale event this past weekend, just for one day, to experience the process first-hand, but also to get rid of some clutter and create some personal revenue! During that process, I pondered a thought to increase local revenues as well. What I developed, I titled "McSherrystown SALES":

McSherrystown Stay of Application for Local Economy Stimulus (McSherrystown SALES) 

Every member of this Council is aware of the dire situation in which our economy is in, not only on a National level but here in our Borough as well. There are fewer jobs to be had, and those available are sometimes not providing enough to sustain a family’s budget. More and more, we see an increase in the participation of such programs as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other governmental programs designated to lend aid to those who cannot provide for themselves. These programs are designed to help our citizens while they put forth efforts to better their situations and hopefully, eventually, find work that will sustain their families. 

Unfortunately, many of these families do not find adequate employment, and are stuck in the vicious cycle of relying on the government to procure funds for their basic needs. In these instances, there is no way for them to find a path towards independent financial sustainability. It is the true function of government to create an environment in which the individual may utilize their entrepreneurial savvy to better their financial situation and increase their wealth, but not to provide that wealth directly. The Market, which is touted to be Free in this country, is the only viable arena in which an individual may hope to secure a profitable niche amongst his neighbors, and in doing so, obtain the necessary independence to accumulate personal revenues with which to provide for themselves and their families. 

 It is in the spirit of this function of economics that I propose this Council adopt and enact the McSherrystown Stay of Application for  Local Economy Stimulus Under this proposal, the residents of McSherrystown Borough will be exempt from the conditions for sales listed in Chapter 215, Article XVII, Section 113 of the McSherrystown Borough Code during the specified time frame, waiving the current application process and fee associated with the procurement of a Garage/Yard Sale Permit during the month of June. Furthermore, during said time period, there will be no restrictions on the number of days during which a citizen of the Borough may hold a sale at their residence. This proposal will not negate the established regulations associated with the hosting of such an event, and anyone holding a sale will still be expected to abide by those regulations of conduct as denoted in Chapter 215, Article XVII, Section 116 of the McSherrystown Borough Code, and as outlined in the Garage/Yard Sale Information publication; specifically Numbers 5, 7 and 8 of said document. In addition, any sale held during this time frame will be exempt from the 2 sale limit described in the above documents. 

 Not only will this proposal directly aid our citizens in procuring additional funds with which to use towards their pursuits of life, liberty and happiness, but it will furthermore attract those from outside our Borough, bringing in additional traffic and revenues to our local businesses. In turn, the increase in local sales will generate more revenue for the Borough in the form of local sales taxes generated from the increase in business activity. 

 A government FOR The People, which has the ability to create the environment in which our citizens may motivate themselves and better their standing through their own individual efforts, should consider nothing less than that for which this proposal stands. I implore this Council to adopt this proposal to stimulate our local economy and to promote the financial well-being of our citizens. 

David W.S. Bolton 
McSherrystown Borough Council member and Citizen 
Presented this 28th day of May, 2014

I hope that you will attend the meeting in support of my efforts to serve YOU, but if you cannot attend, please let your voice be heard concerning these matters, and let us know if you support these efforts by emailing us at or call 717-637-1838.  As always, you can contact me directly via the numerous communication channels available to us in this day and age (Phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, or just knock on my door if I'm home). Thank you once again for allowing me to serve you.  DB.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs Annual Conference--Initial Report

Thank you for tuning in to my current blog entry. I would like to submit for your perusal a brief listing of highlights from the PSAB Annual Conference. As this was a five day event for me, you can imagine that there are MANY words I could share on the many subjects covered. At this time, I will simply outline my involvements, and hope to expand on the subjects in later entries.

Saturday, April 5, 2014:  Arrive in State College around 12:15pm.

--Board of Director's Photo Shoot.
--Board of Director's Meeting - Annual Report.
--Board of Director's Dinner - Tara and I were invited to sit at the Officer's Table with PSAB President Kathy DePuy, 1st Vice-President Edward Child, 2nd Vice-President Jack Lawver and Linda Book, 2013 PSAB Service Award winner.

Sunday, April 6, 2014:

--Resolution and Policy Committee Meeting - PSAB Resolution 2014-2 (aka Municipal Radar Resolution, submitted by Adams County Boroughs Association's Legislative Committee). I presented copies of the resolution signed by 8 of 13 Adams County borough councils and one letter of support. Measure passed unanimously.
--Opening General Session - Met Dr. G. Terry Madonna from Franklin and Marshall College.

Monday, April 7, 2014:

--State Agency Briefing - Reports from executives from the Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PennDot, Department of General Services and CoStars. New funding opportunities available this coming budget year which may benefit our area.
--PSAB Business Meeting - Opening Business
--Association of Mayors of the Boroughs of PA meeting (by invitation) - "Eliminating Gun Violence from Illegal Weapons".
--Roundtable Discussion - State legislation and its effects on Boroughs, the benefits of education for staff and elected officials, the hurdles of police mergers, Fire Department budget shortfalls and solutions, use of internet and social media to keep The People informed.
--Mock Police Contract Arbitration - common impasse causes and mutually equitable solutions.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014:

--I was joined by Dave Wheeler, Littlestown Councilor and PSAB alternate delegate.
--Educational Sessions - Duties and Responsibilities of Council, Preparing for Borough Meetings, Effective meetings using Parliamentary Procedure.
--PSAB Legislative Meeting - Municipal Radar Resolution (PSAB 2014-2) is best served by HB1272, Senate bill being authored and sponsor identified and committed.
--H.A. Thomson seminars (Certified Boroughs Official's credit seminars)
     --PA Worker's Compensation Coverages for Volunteer Fire Companies.
     --Municipal Liability (Protecting your Municipality from Lawsuits).
--Awards Luncheon - surprise guest speaker Penn State Football Coach James Franklin
     --McSherrystown's Fred Walters awarded the 2014 PSAB President's Award for 40 years of service.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014:

--Closing Session
     --Sunshine Act: Adherence and Case Law presentation.
     --Votes on Resolutions by General Assembly - PSAB 2014-2 (Municipal Radar Resolution), Unanimous
     --Next meeting - October 17-19, 2014 in Gettysburg, PA.

I met a lot of very dedicated elected officials who come from many different walks of life, but share the common bond in a love of service to their fellow man. There is so much I learned from this experience, and I hope to share much more in detail in the near future. I want to thank The People of McSherrystown and the Borough Council for allowing me to represent them as the Voting Delegate in the General Assembly, as well as The People of Adams County and the Adams County Boroughs Association for allowing me to represent them as the Voting Delegate to the Conference. I will be sure to use the information presented at these functions to fulfill my duty of service to you all.  Please check back often, reread some of my previous entries, contact me with any questions or concerns, but most of all, please accept my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to represent you.

David "Scotty" Bolton

McSherrystown Borough Councilor and Citizen

Monday, March 24, 2014

100 Day Report

Technically, I've only been in office 83 days this year, but I thought I would get ahead on my 100 Days in Office report. I have not blogged since December, for reasons of promoting the peace. It seems that my last blog and subsequent local newspaper coverage of its topics was not received well by some, and as such, I decided to let some time pass in efforts to heal the wounds of some who feel they incurred injury from it. A single description of my perspective of a meeting, about which I gave "Kudos to Councilman-Elect Doug Duvall and citizen Rick Groft for standing before Council and asking the tough questions, even if they didn't get the clearest or truest answers.", was the purported reason. There were some who took offense to this, and even took it personal. I did apologize to those people personally if that was how they took my comment.

Since my last blog, the Gettysburg Times reported on what transpired at the following Council meeting. Their article, as published January 31, 2014:

Tempers flared at the McSherrystown Borough Council meeting Wednesday over a letter to the editor of the local newspapers written by one of the councilmen. Several councilmen expressed concern that David Bolton, councilman, was calling them liars in his Dec. 13, 2013 letter to the editor. Bolton, in his letter, suggested council had not given the "truest answers" to questions regarding the cost of a roof replacement on the municipal building and not agreeing to his suggestions for increasing income to repair the sewer lines in the borough. Bolton voted against the tax and sewer rate increases as well as the 2014 budget.

"I take exception to what he put in there. I'm not untrustworthy. I've been here 26 years and nobody has ever played politics in a letter to the editor. If you have a problem, air it out here," said Stephen Weaver, councilman.

Anthony Weaver said he has been involved with borough affairs for many years, initially as a police officer and later as a councilman and now as mayor, and at no time during his tenure has anyone ever resorted to mudslinging in the newspaper. "I've been through so many battles here councilmen yelling at each other, but I can honestly say no matter what side I was on, whether I was on the borough side or the police side at the time, it was never taken out of here, and it was never for self-promotion. The people in here can be trusted," Mayor Weaver said. Mayor Weaver said many council members have disagreed over the years, but "we kept it civil and we kept it in here."

James Forbes, a longtime councilman, said he was in agreement with the others. "We've had battles in here but when we went out that door we remained friends. We did business and this is a business and we try to run it like a business. And I don't appreciate your remarks and I agree with Steve, if you have something to say to us, say it. It's always been that way," Forbes said.

Bolton said the only thing he did was express his opinion of what transpired in the council meeting the end of last year. Several councilmen started speaking at once with no one specifically having the floor, so Bolton shouted, "Let me finish my thought." When quiet prevailed Bolton continued, saying any politician in this country does the same thing "They reach out to their constituents and tell them what they think, why they think that way and the direction they think it should go," Bolton said.

Mayor Weaver said that was all well and good, but Bolton had crossed a line. "I think that's all fine. We disagreed a few times, but the thing about it is, putting it in your blog is one thing, putting it in the paper is another thing. You say not the truest answers were given. That's a slap in the face to some of the people who sit here," the mayor said.

"Somebody here you called a liar," Stephen Weaver said.

Bolton said as an example of what he was talking about was the roof repair estimate, saying one amount was given at one meeting and later another, higher amount was cited but no new contractor's estimate was presented to show the increase. At the Wednesday meeting, and at a December meeting, it was discussed that the estimate was several years old and the cost would have gone up. Scott Cook, borough supervisor, also noted that the prevailing wage was another determining factor as well as cost of materials, particularly rubber roofing which is tied to petroleum costs. Bolton said he objected to the amount of money transferred when an exact cost was not known. Cook reminded that the money was put into the miscellaneous fund so it would be available, and that it might not even be enough with current costs.

"That was my objection, because we moved money from one account to another, to cover that cost, and we didn't know what that cost was going to be. That was my objection," Bolton said.


I will make this statement on the matter: I used the words "clearest or truest answers", and I stand by my words, without calling anyone a liar or untrustworthy. The costs of the repairs were not concrete, and several numbers were thrown around, from a quote of $27K to an increase for inflation/costs from $30-40K to $50-70K in another meeting.

It was not "clear" to me how much it was going to cost, and I do not believe that we had a "true" idea of how much we should budget for the project. It was not the members of Council that I was calling into question; it was the costs. None of us at that table had the answer to that. I objected because I felt that we should have those answers prior to moving any funds around to cover the costs that were undefined at that time. I would expect any responsible steward of the public trust to do the same. As you have entrusted me with the ability to do so, I have taken pride in fulfilling my duties to you, The People.

Thank you for allowing me four more years to continue that work. So now, I will move forward and explain some of what I have been doing so far this year...

At the January 20th meeting of the Adams County Boroughs Association, I was asked to author a Resolution through the Legislative Committee in favor of the use of Radar by Municipal Police. This Resolution would be distributed to the municipalities in Adams County for individual adoption, and copies would be presented to our representatives in State Congress. This Resolution was also submitted to the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs' Resolution and Policy Committee. It will be voted upon at the Annual Conference April 5-9, and if adopted, the PSAB will actively lobby Congressional leaders to support a change to the Motor Vehicle Code allowing for Municipal Radar.

As of today, I have received copies of the signed Resolution from 6 municipalities, as well as one letter of support for municipal radar use. I have also received notice that the PSAB R&P Steering Committee have accepted the resolution and are recommending adoption at the conference.

As I am the McSherrystown and Adams County voting delegate to the PSAB, as well as serving on the R&P Committee and the PSAB Board of Directors, I will personally be attending the conference and will make sure the voices of Adams County are heard in this and other matters. I will be joined at the conference by locals Dave Wheeler, Councilor from Littlestown, Perry Shearer, former mayor of Abbottstown, Debbie Shearer, former President of the Abbottstown Council and my predecessor in the PSAB, and Fred Walters, long-time McSherrystown Councilor and recipient of one of PSAB's Lifetime Service Awards.

I will also be meeting with Christopher Capp, Executive VP of the PSAB prior to the conference to discuss any questions I may have concerning the future of the organization. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve The People of McSherrystown, Adams County and Pennsylvania in such capacities. I will take the next two weeks to review and acquaint myself with Financials, research other proposed Resolutions and decide what seminars to attend at the Conference. After 5 days in State College, I will return the evening of the 9th for our Borough Council meeting, so I am sure to have a lot of information along with me at that meeting.

Hope to see more people in attendance at the Council Chambers!

Respectfully Submitted,

David "Scotty" Bolton
McSherrystown Borough Councilmember and Citizen
VP and Legislative Committee Chair, Adams County Boroughs Association
PA State Association of Boroughs Board of Directors, Resolutions and Policy Committee
Adams County Transportation Planning Organization-representative
Hanover Regional Economic Development Committee-representative