Local government is where the decisions that affect citizens most directly are made – and it is important to share the good work of municipalities and local elected officials. These people – often volunteers – give countless hours to their communities and toward making their places of residence better for all citizens.
North Fayette is a contrast in environments. Someone traveling through the wide-spread township could move from a rural area into a suburban residential or commercial area in a matter of minutes. One of the many things that makes North Fayette stand out is the commitment among township leadership to citizen engagement, efficacy of services and building strategic partnerships.
Examples of this commitment are plentiful. Specifically, in recent months the township has been actively seeking resident input regarding storm water management and how to fund upcoming critical projects to reduce storm water. The township has also been surveying residents about the desire to find new space for a public pool in the community.
Similarly, the township is actively pursuing delinquent real estate tax and performed an internal audit of Earned income tax revenue and uncovered hundreds of potential additions to their tax rolls. By uncovering these sources of income tax and inquiring about their payment status, the township has been able to pass a 2018 budget with no tax increases to residents. The township has also continually worked to gain efficiencies in providing quality services to its residents and businesses while keeping costs to a minimum.
Looking to the new year in 2018, North Fayette has formed a unique partnership with the local Chamber of Commerce. The two entities will share one facility, and through this relationship they not only open up opportunities for increased grant funding, but also create a synergy around the idea of a central point of interaction for the entire community to share.
When asked about the value ALOM has brought to the experience of North Fayette Supervisor and Allegheny County Association of Township Officials (ACATO) Vice President Bob Doddato, he responded: “through ALOM and ACATO, I’ve found significant value in the opportunity to network with other municipalities, share ideas.”
South Park Township is a municipality of approximately 14,000 people and is considered by many to be a pivotal community of the south hills area. In addition to the beloved attraction of “South Park”, the community has an overabundance of things to be proud of that are both long-standing features and items that are on the horizon.
Examples of well-established offerings include the many community enrichment programs accessible to children (and some for adults too) such as the recent Brunch with Santa, the township Halloween Party, Summer Reading Program, the Annual Community Day and more. On the horizon for South Park Township includes working to develop the former Consol Energy site into a new, multi-purpose Transit Oriented Overlay Development (TOOD) property that will feature retail and residential expansions. Similarly, the site is bordered by 40 acres referred to as the “bingo lots” that will also be the subject of redevelopment plans in the coming months.
The leadership of the township is also very proud of the cooperative interaction between municipal staff and elected officials. The two separate but equally important roles of individuals within the township leadership complement one another is a way that creates a positive work environment as well as an efficient and productive local government operation.
Dave Buchewicz is Chairman of the South Park Board of Supervisors and Past President of ACATO. His thoughts on the value of membership in ALOM and ACATO are as follows: “ALOM and ACATO provide the ‘WOW FORUMS’ to meet with Allegheny County officials and state legislators that create the laws and rules that affect our communities. Through the forums we get to know the lawmakers on a first name basis and they in turn get to know the local officials on a first name basis, which is so important to being a local elected official and serving our communities with fidelity.”
Associate Member Vendor – Senate Engineering
Senate Engineering Company has been serving ALOM Member Municipalities since 1970. The firm’s employees are dedicated to planning, designing and implementing public infrastructure projects that are cost effective and affordable. Financial constraints continue to reduce the ability for municipalities to fund these projects. At Senate, the firm makes certain that all eligible grant and low interest loan programs are identified and applied for in order to reduce that burden.
Well informed elected officials and public employees are instrumental in the successful project planning and implementation process. Senate actively encourages clients’ participation in the budgetary, public awareness and alternative design and construction process. They strive to keep their clients appraised on all current and proposed regulations, especially unfunded mandates, such as the most recent Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) regulations.
Gordon Taylor, President of Senate Engineering, had the following feedback about his firm’s relationship with ALOM: “Senate recognizes the value that ALOM brings to each of its Member Municipalities through its educational programs, the various resources it can provide and its advocacy of sound policies and legislation for a stronger local government presence. Our clients who are taking advantage of these membership offerings are building stronger communities every day.
Our support for ALOM has been there since its inception by attending, sponsoring and participating in the annual Spring Educational Conference to more recently, sponsoring the Inaugural Sporting Clay Shoot and Networking Event. A good time was had by all and we hope that more ALOM members will attend next year.”
The community of Aspinwall is often referred to as “Mayberry” by the residents of this borough that sits along the Allegheny River and has a population of around 3,000 people. The municipality boasts a dedicated group of elected officials and community members and has had several notable accomplishments over the past few years. These include the unveiling of Aspinwall Riverfront Park, the Junior Council Program, and a successful Neighborhood Watch program.
Similarly, the formation of a Shade Tree Commission started 9 years ago by Council President Joe Noro has grown into a huge community-building program for Aspinwall that is beneficial to businesses and residents. With the help of grants from TreeVitalize, Aspinwall has planted 125 new trees throughout their borough. It takes over 30 volunteers to plant each group of trees, and businesses come together to offer food and refreshments to the volunteers after a long and hard morning of tree-planting. The volunteers of the Shade Tree Commission also help to maximize borough dollars by bidding out tree trimming and other services related to tree maintenance.
Regarding their membership in Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM) and the Allegheny County Boroughs Association (ACBA), ACBA Board Member and Aspinwall Council Member Ann Pawlikowski had this to say: “I’m impressed with the group’s dedication to their communities and their length of service. Being part of ALOM and the ACBA allows me to remain knowledgeable and engaged with local colleagues as well as with Harrisburg.”
Castle Shannon is a well-known borough in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with a population of around 8,500 people. Like so many local communities, the level of public service and volunteerism among the local elected officials and other residents in Castle Shannon is extraordinary. Just a few of the many examples of this include food giving programs, a community garden, stream clean-up programs and more.
The borough designates part of the communities’ millage to serve the local library, which is very active. They hold an annual Community Day and Fall Fest and have initiated a group called “Futures Forum” to engage local youth in borough activities.
One of their most recent and most successful endeavors is called “Third Fridays” sponsored by Borough in partnership with the Community Revitalization Corporation. Over this summer these events have featured live bands, local restaurants, and other local businesses. Each event is themed, and the August event will be focused around the notorious 1917 Bank Robbery which is a very famous piece of Castle Shannon history.
Nancy Kovach serves as a Council President in Castle Shannon and also sits on the board of directors of the Allegheny County Boroughs Association (ACBA). When asked what she finds most valuable about her participation in our association her response was: “I find that the educational and networking opportunities provided by ALOM and ACBA are invaluable. The association provides settings for professional development and interfacing with legislative leaders that are essential to being an elected official in Allegheny County.”
Associate Member Vendor – HRG Engineering
Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is dedicated to helping municipal leaders improve their communities through better infrastructure like roads, bridges, parks, and water systems.
ALOM’s member municipalities are run by dedicated public servants who know the value of good infrastructure, and HRG is proud to work with so many of them.
The leaders of these municipalities have a strong desire to make their communities great, and HRG helps them do that from the initial planning phases through financing, consensus building, design and construction. HRG professionals are by their side through the whole process, acting as a partner.
The consulting firm also helps ALOM member municipalities make sense of changing regulations and find creative ways to meet them under the tight financial constraints so many communities face.
Dan Santoro of HRG had this to say about their partnership with ALOM: “ALOM has historically provided invaluable resources to the communities in which we work. HRG sees our partnership and support of the Banner Community program as an enhancement of ALOM’s mission to provide resources to the communities in which we work and live, while giving them the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication to local government.
We are honored to have such a great relationship with ALOM and look forward to continuing to watch Allegheny County, and neighbors, grow and succeed.”