Posts Tagged ‘municipalities’

The Clock is Ticking – Obligated ARPA Funds Before the Deadline

access_time Posted on: February 15th, 2024

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has provided many local governments with a financial boost to tackle the challenges the pandemic presented. However, with the deadline to obligate these funds less than a year away, municipalities must be mindful of the time limitations associated with the to ensure optimal utilization for their community’s benefit. Local governments have until December 31, 2024, to obligate all received ARPA funds. This means the governing bodies of municipalities must allocate the funds to specific projects, programs, or initiatives before this date to avoid loss of funds. Under the Final Rule, failure to meet this deadline… read more »

The Future of EMS Service in Pennsylvania

access_time Posted on: August 28th, 2023

The Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Act (the “Act”) gives municipal authorities in Pennsylvania the ability to do a number of things, including the authority to provide water service, sewer service, and storm water management; the power to operate incinerator plants and landfills; and operate several kinds of public transportation networks. One item not found on the list of items that a municipal authority can do is operate an emergency medical services (EMS) provider. Over the last several years, many municipalities have seen a precipitous drop in the number of volunteers that have traditionally provided both fire and EMS services to these… read more »

Do Your Constituents have the Right-to-Know what You Post on Social Media?

access_time Posted on: August 28th, 2023

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with constituents. However, the expansion of public discussion through social media encourages an expanded application of the Right-To-Know Law. In an April 2023 case, Penncrest School District v. Cagle, the Commonwealth Court attempted to clarify when a public official’s social media activity would be subject to disclosure. The new test limits the applicability of the Law to social media activity but does not settle the matter, so future litigation will likely clarify the test. The Right-To-Know Law is “designed to promote access to official government information in order to prohibit secrets, scrutinize… read more »

Parking Enforcement in Municipalities

access_time Posted on: August 28th, 2023

When it comes to parking enforcement and restriction in local municipalities, decisions fall on the shoulders of the municipality’s leaders. Under the U.S. Constitution, it is within a municipality’s police powers to enact new ordinances to enforce parking and safety measures. When determining whether a new ordinance is lawful, the ordinance must pass the rational basis test [1]. To pass this rational basis test, there must be both 1) a legitimate governmental interest; and 2) the ordinance must achieve the governmental interest in a reasonable manner. In addition to the use of parking meters in company with signs providing notice… read more »

Employee Engagement is Important for Local Government Employers Too

access_time Posted on: August 28th, 2023

According to the October 2019 US Bureau of Labor Statics 22.6 million workers make up the total number of public sector employees in the United States. Of those 22.6 million, 14.6 million or 64.6% are local public sector employees. The pandemic, remote working, and the idea of “gigs” over a career has sparked numerous challenges in the job market for private and public employers. As a large population of the workforce enters and nears retirement age, hiring and retaining employees at the local level will be at the forefront of many local officials minds and meeting agendas. Compliance with employment… read more »

To-Do List for PA Municipalities Before the Calendar Flips

access_time Posted on: November 29th, 2022

As we get near the end of 2022, it is time for local municipalities in Pennsylvania to begin thinking about everything that needs to be accomplished before the calendar flips to 2023. Four of the major items that every municipality needs to accomplish before the end of the year are the passage of a budget, adoption of a tax resolution or ordinance, making necessary appointments or re-appointments to boards and commissions, and advertisement of meetings for the following year. Once a tentative budget has been ironed out, the board or council must approve advertisement of that tentative budget. This action… read more »

U.S. Department of the Treasury Releases the Long-Awaited Final Rule for the American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

access_time Posted on: January 24th, 2022

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) recently released the Final Rule for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA Funds) bringing closure to most of the uncertainty surrounding eligible uses of ARPA Funds by local municipalities.  In general, the Final Rule provides numerous examples of eligible projects, within the four primary eligible ARPA Funds use categories. Additionally, the Final Rule provides local municipalities clear direction that as a recipient, a local municipality will have broad flexibility to use the ARPA Funds to respond to the specific needs of its local community. As a… read more »

COVID-19 Update: New Advice Summary Relating to the Right-to-Know Law

access_time Posted on: May 22nd, 2020

Pursuant to the Right-to-know law (RTKL) Advisory, the Office of Open Records (OOR) has new advice for agencies within “yellow” status counties. These agencies should continue processing RTKL requests and appeals as usual. If an appeal is negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency or requestor cannot meet a required deadline, the OOR may prolong the appeal deadline. In particular, agencies located within a county transitioning into “yellow” status may need to provide evidence showing why the appeal deadline needs to be extended. In regards to offices being closed, any day that falls within an office closure is… read more »

COVID-19 Municipal Update: Handling Right-To-Know Law Issues During the COVID-19 Emergency

access_time Posted on: May 12th, 2020

While the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) continues to be in effect for most municipal entities, its function has been temporarily suspended for the Commonwealth due to the current COVID-19 emergency. Pursuant to Section 901 of the law, all requests must receive a response within five business days – excluding days closed for business. If an agency faces “bona fide issues” related to this pandemic, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records’ (OOR) advisory permits temporary suspensions exceeding the scope of that law. The OOR recommends the agency seek their solicitor’s advice before taking this recourse. Under Act 15, municipalities operating under an… read more »

COVID-19 Municipal Resource Page

access_time Posted on: May 8th, 2020