ROTE — The 109th annual Clinton County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) convention was held recently in a new location.
For the first time, the convention was held at the Clinton County Fairgrounds with an all-day event which included Q&A speakers, presentations, local government Jeopardy and local business and equipment vendors. Over 90 attendants came to the yearly convention Thursday, making it more than any previous year, according to the association’s secretary/treasurer, Carol Colucci. Catered lunch by the Valley Hotel was supplied to all those who registered prior to the event.
Municipalities and boroughs from all over Clinton County attended the convention.
Throughout the day, speakers from Clinton County and Harrisburg gave presentations and spoke about their position in the system and how local government is important.
The president of CCATO, Kevin Frank, hosted the event and announced each of the speakers.
Of the speakers that attended the convention, Dave Sanko, the Executive Director of Pa. State Association-Township Supervisors (PSATS) in Harrisburg, related the importance of local government in Pennsylvania and what PSATS does.
PSATS is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to serving townships of the second class along with their elected/appointed officials. According to Sanko, PSATS is governed by a 13-member executive board from across the state.
Sanko pointed out how local government is important and most trusted with statistics from a survey by the association.
“From the survey, 60 percent trust local, 25 percent think that Harrisburg is the most efficient level of government they trust, and 10 percent think that Washington is the place that is most efficient and most trustworthy,” he said. “The point is that local government is where it’s at.”
Sanko continued to relate the fear of losing local government due to the state and federal level trying to “fix government.” He said with the “battle happening in Harrisburg” with politicians saying there is “too much government, too many levels of government, we should get rid of local government.” When this happens, Sanko said that the local government level is “always the first on the chopping block.”
“I just ask you to note that there are outside forces trying to eliminate local government,” he said.
He pushed to fill the future chairs with local government roles that otherwise will go away.
“There are some people that say that central controlled government is better and they would have won the day. That is not good for our residents, our tax payers and our communities,” Sanko said.
Municipal Services Specialist Darren Stover related to attendants and local government officials about the PA Department of Transportation’s PA Municipal Bridge Retro-Reimbursement Program.
The program helps reimburse municipalities with fixing their bridges that are going bad.
“We have a retro-reimbursement program for township bridges that help sponsor your bridges if they go bad… what the program is if you have the money upfront to do your bridge repairs — if they’re small repairs — the state reimburses you 80 percent of that,” he said and urged for municipalities to reach out for help.
Blair Prough, the liaison for PA One Call, spoke about what services they offer and its importance with government jobs.
PA One Call’s purpose is to prevent damages to underground facilities, minimizing utility service interruptions, reducing on-the-job injuries and deaths. In doing so, they promote a higher level of public safety and protect the environment, according to Prough.
PA One Call works with the following industries: cable television, electric, gas, propane, Marcellus shale, pipeline, sewer, telecommunications, telephone, water and local government authorities.
Other speakers that attended the convention included the Director of the Clinton County Economic Partnership Julie Brennan, Clinton County Commissioners Jeff Snyder and Angela Harding, State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, Planning Commission Director Katie de Silva and the business development officer for Woodlands Bank Richard Kuczawa.
The CCATO board consists of President Kevin Frank, of Porter Township, First Vice President Mala Moor, of Greene Township, Second Vice President Corey Lucas, of Dunnstable Township, Member at Large Mary Meyers, of Gallagher Township, Secretary/Treasurer Carol Colucci, of Porter Township and technical support by Kevin Kern.