Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ACBA Vice-President's Report: PSAB Annual Conference Update

The PSAB Annual Conference was held April 25-29 at the Lancaster Marriott.  I attended the Board of Directors meeting on the 25th.  In that meeting, we discussed replacing the sign outside of the PSAB office in Harrisburg, which incorrectly reads Pennsylvania Boroughs Association.  A cost-effective solution was agreed upon, and WJ Strickler of New Oxford had provided the quotes.  It was suggested that we get other quotes, but I successfully lobbied in favor of Strickler handling the changes, as they had built the original sign and were familiar with the delicate materials involved.  After which, a vote was held and I was selected to serve on the PSAB Executive Committee as the Eastern Region At-Large representative of 35 counties, and serving all 916 member boroughs throughout the state, and will also serve on the PSAB Finance Committee.  It was also officially announced that my appointment to the Governor’s Rural Development Council was approved by Gov. Wolf.  In this capacity, I will work with all relevant representatives from several state departments to improve economic and agricultural opportunities for counties like ours across Pennsylvania.

During the Resolution & Policy Committee meeting, we reviewed the submitted legislation and recommendations of the Steering Committee, and those meeting approval went before the General Assembly for consideration and adoption.  There were 23 new resolutions in all.  2015-1 supported amendment to Act 164 of 2014 to exempt municipal employees from tax collector certification and continuing education requirements.  The motion was to oppose adoption, as it was determined that these requirements, which are funded by the individuals and not the municipalities, are essential considering the nature of the position.  2015-2 supported enabling legislation allowing active volunteer fire fighters to receive a tax credit equal to their Local Earned Income tax, which would help offset the financial costs of equipment and other costs paid by the individual associated with their service.  I argued in favor of this legislation after a motion was made to decline support, stating the number of volunteers across the state has dramatically decreased due to financial constraints.  The amount of taxes necessary for these credits would be a minimal loss to the municipalities and would promote increased participation of this vital infrastructure.  The motion to decline support passed; I was the only dissenter. I also expressed support towards 2015-12, legislation requiring municipalities with populations of 4000 or more to pay for PSP service or provide their own force.  With more and more municipalities, such as Red Lion, with greater population densities opting to ease budget concerns by relying on PSP service, we are creating a situation where increased PSP budgets will eventually increase state taxes to provide these services.  I believe we should keep those funds local by keeping our police services in these more urban areas under local control with local and regional police efforts.  The committee agreed and passed this resolution.  The discussion on our own ACBA 2014-2: Industrial Hemp Cultivation involved much debate, as two individuals opposed to the measure tried to make a motion to decline support just as I was making my motion to adopt.  After I gave a lengthy and informative presentation, the committee determined that my motion was entered first, and the resolution was accepted, with only the two original dissenters opposing.  Our resolution passed the General Assembly as well, with only the two original dissenters opposing that vote.

I was also asked to preside over the information session with Senators Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer discussing Medicinal Cannabis (Senate Bill 3).  There was a lot of great discussion, questions and commentary from individuals about their personal experiences.  At the General Assembly, a member of the R&P Steering Committee called upon the PSAB to allow me to draft a resolution in support of SB3, which has passed the Senate 40-7, but is currently being derailed by Rep. Matt Baker who chairs the House Health Committee and refuses to bring it to a vote.  There is significant support in the committee and House to pass the bill, and Gov. Wolf has pledged support to sign if it reaches his desk.  This bipartisan legislation would bring much needed reform to our state laws and allow patients and doctors to decide the best treatment options available for their ailments.  The US Congress, with Rep. Scott Perry in the lead, has promoted legislation preventing the federal authorities from interfering with state law implementation of medicinal cannabis programs.  No one person should have the power to derail the efforts of the majority of lawmakers and citizens, and there is a call to reform the rules of committees in the state Congress to take this power away from the committee chairs. I will be an active advocate for this necessary reform.

I have also been asked to consider running for 2nd Vice-President of the PSAB at next year’s Annual Conference, as the candidates will be chosen from the Eastern Region.  I am very proud to serve Adams County in these capacities and will continue to safeguard the interests of The People I have been sent to represent.  Thank you for the opportunity.

David Bolton
McSherrystown Borough Councilor and Citizen