Senator Cris Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Bill Amending PA’s “No Bid Law” Signed into Law
  • Jefferson County’s Punxsutawney, Sykesville Boroughs Receive Multimodal Funding for Street Improvements
  • Bradford Area High School Student-run Manufacturing Enterprise Press Conference
  • Tour of Bradford Drinking Water, Wastewater Facilities
  • Mansfield Brough Receives 2022 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence
  • McKean County Conservation District Annual Legislative Meeting
  • Communities in Clearfield, Clinton and Tioga Counties Receive Transportation Alternatives Project Funding
  • Unclaimed Property Being Advertised by PA Treasury
  • Applications Open for Watershed Cleanup Grants
  • 30-Day Feedback Period for the Regional Greenways and Active Transportation Plan
  • Share Your Views on PennDOT’s Winter Services
  • Summer Camp for Teens Interested in Law Enforcement, Military
  • Call 811 Before Excavation Projects
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month

Bill Amending PA’s “No Bid Law” Signed into Law

The first bill signed into law that I have ever prime sponsored as a State Senator was signed into law by Governor Wolf this week.

The legislation, Senate Bill 478 (now Act 18 of 2022), amends Pennsylvania’s No Bid Law (Act 78 of 1979) to authorize political subdivisions, municipality authorities and transportation authorities to enter contract negotiations for services if no bids are received within fifteen days of the second advertisement. To ensure transparency, the bill requires the municipality or authority to publicly announce the identity of the contracting parties, the proposed contract price, and a summary of the contract terms and conditions at a public meeting.

Currently, state law only includes this provision for the purchase of goods and the sale of real property, leaving local governments and authorities with no good option if they do not receive an acceptable bid for services.

I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and the House for helping this legislation become law as it offers municipalities and authorities a commonsense solution to a frustrating problem.  I’m also indebted to the members and staff of the Local Government Commission for their work on getting this bill right and to the local government officials who’s input was key to the effort. No local government should have to postpone a project or go without necessary services due to a lack of bids.

Jefferson County’s Punxsutawney, Sykesville Boroughs Receive Multimodal Funding for Street Improvements

Street improvements for two Jefferson County communities will receive, combined, more than $423,000 in funding through Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

The Borough of Punxsutawney will receive $285,901 for design and construction of a radius widening project to eliminate a 90-degree turn at the intersection of Front and Union Streets, while the Borough of Sykesville will receive $137,188 to resurface borough streets – including South Park Street, Memorial Street, Station Street, Paradise Road and Willow Alley – to improve safety and accessibility for local commercial business operations, school buses and residential traffic.

Upgrading local infrastructure will contribute to safer streets for motorists and pedestrians, as well as keep traffic and commerce flowing, helping residents and area businesses.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth. Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.

Bradford Area High School Student-run Manufacturing Enterprise Press Conference

Pictured from left to right is Sen. Cris Dush and students Taylor Gigliotti, Abbigail Schleicher, Katelyn Miller, Kylee Phillips and Wyatt Jordan, and Rep. Martin Causer

On Friday, April 8, state Rep Martin Causer and I met with the students from the Bradford Area High School in McKean County in recognition of a $200,000 Manufacturing Training to Career grant awarded to the school.

In collaboration with area manufacturers and the Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC), the new student-run manufacturing enterprise – to be known as BAHS Manufacturing – will enhance the development of students for manufacturing careers. The student-run manufacturing enterprise, will put the information learned by students in their coursework to practical use as they produce actual parts, deliver services and add value as part of the supply chain for local manufacturers.

I love the collaboration between the BAHS administration, students and local businesses on this project.  When a student leaves high school and can put on their resume that they have designed, created the manufacturing process or managed the financing of a start-up business that is successfully providing a product needed by industry it will put them well ahead of those they are competing with in the job market who have no such experience.

Tour of Bradford Drinking Water, Wastewater Facilities

On Friday, April 8, I joined state Rep. Martin Causer in meeting Bradford Sanitary Authority Executive Director Steve Disney and his staff. Together we toured the Bradford Sanitary Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant and Bradford City Water Authority Drinking Water Treatment Plant in McKean County.

We often take for granted where our wastewater goes and from where our drinking water comes.

I must say, Steve and his staff take great pride in what they do and serving their community.

Both facilities operate at strict state standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The staff here not only meet those standards but exceed them offering the residents of Bradford and surrounding townships the peace of mind that comes from knowing their drinking water is safe.

Mansfield Brough Receives 2022 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence

Pictured receiving the award from left-to-right: Ed McCloskey (Borough Council), Chris McGann (Borough Manager), Will Schlosser (Borough Council)

Last week (April 13), Mansfield Borough was recognized and honored by the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services which awarded the borough the 2022 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence in the category of “Responding to Adversity.”

Mansfield Borough earned the award for its efforts to mitigate flooding in the southern portion of the town.

In July 2021, the area sustained flooding from substantial rainfall during the span of nine days, with the first flooding event cause by more than two inches of rainfall during a twenty-minute period.

Following the fourth rain event, Mansfield Borough’s public works crew identified sinkholes that had developed in Smyth Park. With the assistance of the Southern Tioga School District and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the crew quickly found the source of the problem and relieved water pressure, which protected the area during the fifth rain event.

To prevent further flooding events, Mansfield Borough Council entered into a contract with Larson Design Group to study the town’s entire drainage system and make recommendations for improvements.

This type of out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration is a hallmark of the 25th legislative district.  Congratulations and my sincere thanks to all of those who participated and prevented further damage to life and property.

McKean County Conservation District Annual Legislative Meeting

Pictured left to right: Kerry Fetter, public Board Director; Representative Martin Causer; Sandy Thompson, District Manager; Kenny Kane, Public Board Director; Zachary Ankeny, District Director for Senator Cris Dush; McKean County Commissioner Carol Duffy; Blaine Puller, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Greg Bell, Public Board Director; McKean County Commissioner Tom Kreiner; Jeff Larson Board of Directors Vice Chairman and Mike Ferritto, Director of the Governor’s Northwest Regional Office

Last week (April 14), the McKean County Conservation District held its annual legislative meeting to provide an update on their projects from 2021 and what they are anticipating for 2022 and beyond.

There was great discussion and accomplishments mentioned with much of that credited to working together with local residents, township officials and local fire departments.

Communities in Clearfield, Clinton and Tioga Counties Receive Transportation Alternatives Project Funding

Funding for three alternative transportation projects that will benefit communities in Clearfield, Clinton and Tioga counties was approved earlier this week.

A total of $54.1 million in federal funding was approved through the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside program with the following awards announced for 25th Senatorial District projects:

  • $1 million for Sandy Township, Clearfield County, to install sidewalks along Maple Avenue and Shaffer Road, a pedestrian crosswalk on Maple Avenue and traffic signal and pedestrian upgrades at the Maple Avenue and Shaffer Road intersection.
  • $1 million for the Clinton County Planning Office to continue the Bald Eagle Valley Trail by constructing a ramp to carry the trail off the former railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River, building 3,200 feet of new trail surface on an abandoned Pine Creek Township road, installing sharrows (shared lane markings used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles) and adding share-the-road signage on approximately three miles of River Road.
  • $470,000 for Richmond Township, Tioga County, to add pedestrian accommodations along south Main Street.

When you think about transportation, the mind immediately focuses on roads and bridges, but there’s much more to transportation than that, and these projects will help improve the lives of 25th Senatorial District residents.

The TA Set-Aside program provides funding for projects and activities defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation, trails that serve a transportation purpose, and safe routes to school projects.

Unclaimed Property Being Advertised by PA Treasury

The Pennsylvania Treasury currently has in its possession more than $3.5 billion in unclaimed property for which it is seeking the owners. In 2021, the Treasury returned more than $135.1 million in unclaimed property by processing 91,556 claims for unclaimed property.

The Treasury has started running its annual unclaimed property ads – which contain the names and zip codes of unclaimed property owners – in the following area newspapers: Cameron County Echo for Cameron County, the Clearfield Progress for Clearfield County, the Lock Haven Express for Clinton County, the Saint Mary’s Daily Press for Elk County, the Punxsutawney Spirit for Jefferson County, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette for Lycoming County, the Bradford ERA for Bradford County, the Potter-Leader Enterprise for Potter County, the Wellsboro Gazette and the Westfield Free Press for Tioga County, the Warren Times Observer for Warren County, and the Oil City Derrick and the Franklin News for Venango, Clarion, and Forest Counties.

Treasury is required to advertise in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the unclaimed property owners were last known to have lived. The advertised property is valued in excess of $250, and the names of the owners will appear in the paper only one time.

In addition to reviewing the ad in the aforementioned papers, Treasury encourages everyone to search its online Unclaimed Property database.

If you think the Treasury may have unclaimed property that belongs to you, please check both the ads in your local newspaper and search the Treasury website.

Applications Open for Watershed Cleanup Grants

Applications are being accepted for Growing Greener Plus grants to help protect creeks, rivers and other waterways from pollution and restore impaired watersheds.

The funding supports projects aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution, which is caused by abandoned mine drainage, urban and agricultural runoff, on-lot sewage systems, earthmoving, and streambank and shoreline degradation.

Eligible applicants include counties, municipalities, municipal authorities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations, councils of governments, educational institutions and other authorized organizations involved in water resource restoration and protection.

30-Day Feedback Period for the Regional Greenways and Active Transportation Plan

The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission has been working on a Regional Greenways and Active Transportation Plan for region which began in August 2021.

The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Greenways and Active Transportation Plan is a project intended to improve interconnectivity among recreational, ecological, and cultural resources and transportation options.

As a part of the project, a website was activated on April 13, 2022, that will include updated information as the project progresses.

North Central is hosting a 30-day feedback period from April 13, 2022, to May 13, 2022. CLICK HERE for more about how to participate.

Community events to collect feedback will be held across the region, with more information to be made available on the website as event are planned.

Share Your Views on PennDOT’s Winter Services

How did PennDOT do this winter? Motorists have until April 29 to provide feedback via an online survey.

The 17-question survey asks respondents about their timeline expectations for safe and passable roadways, how they rank snow-removal priorities and how they rate PennDOT’s winter services.

The survey should take about five minutes to complete. All responses are completely anonymous.

Summer Camp for Teens Interested in Law Enforcement, Military

Teens ages 15 to 17 interested in a career in law enforcement or the military can apply now for a summer leadership camp held by the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania National Guard and the American Legion.

The Elmer Hafer-American Legion-State Police-National Guard Youth Camp will be held June 5-11 at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. The cost is $175.

During the camp, cadets work on team-building exercises, physical fitness training, classroom activities involving police and military careers and a marksmanship course. Cadets will also visit the State Police Academy in Hershey and Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center in Lebanon County. In addition, the camp offers three $1,000 scholarship awards at the conclusion of the week.

Call 811 Before Excavation Projects

Nearly half of all underground line “hits” occurring during excavations are caused by failure to contact the PA One Call system by calling 811 before digging, or failure to wait the required three business days before projects begin.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is using Safe Digging Month to remind homeowners, businesses, contractors and anyone else involved in excavation projects of the importance of calling 811 before any project begins and allowing time for utility operators to locate and mark their lines before any digging.

Hits on underground lines pose a danger to contractors, utility workers, nearby residents and bystanders. Each incident carries the possibility of serious injuries, service interruptions and costly repairs.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to rededicate ourselves to strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides an array of information aimed at preventing child abuse, protecting children from the risk of abuse and promoting healthy families.

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