Governor Wolf Recognizes Recipients of 2016 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence

April 13, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today recognized municipalities and local government officials for their dedication and commitment to strengthen their communities and better serve their residents.

“Today’s event highlights just some of the local initiatives that are producing successful results across the state,” Governor Wolf said. “Each exemplifies the great achievements of local governments that work to provide opportunities to collaborate and develop localized best practices.”

Eight government officials and nine communities from across the commonwealth received awards honoring their service today as part of the 20th Annual Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence.

DCED’s Center for Local Government Services sponsors Local Government Day annually to honor local governments and officials who serve their communities and improve quality of life. Live tweets will be available throughout the ceremony at #PALocalGovDay.

The following local government officials were recognized for their dedication to public service and their communities:

  • The Honorable Anthony Bellitto, Jr., Executive Director, North Penn Water Authority, Montgomery County
  • The Honorable Kim Bracey, Mayor, York City, York County
  • The Honorable Edward Child, Council President, Trumbauersville Borough, Bucks County
  • The Honorable Ronald Faull, Township Supervisor, Liberty Township, Mercer County
  • The Honorable Kent Gardner, Treasurer, Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee
  • The Honorable Darlene Heller, AICP, Planning Director, Bethlehem City, Lehigh County
  • The Honorable Basil Huffman, County Commissioner, Forest County Commissioners
  • The Honorable J. Andrew Sharkey, Commissioner, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County

The following municipalities, organizations, and counties were recognized:

Building Community Partnership: Demonstrating it was instrumental in fostering partnerships between both public and private stakeholders within the community.

Schuylkill County
Schuylkill County developed a Youth Summit to help address the outmigration of youth from the county. The Youth Summit brings together students from every high school throughout the county to participate in local decision making, as well as identifying action steps in response to immediate issues and concerns.

Responding to Adversity: Exemplify the localized response to an event that resulted in the overall deterioration in demographic or environmental conditions that affected the viability of the municipality.

Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County
Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County in conjunction with Upper Allen Township, worked in unison to address the presence of an underground stream that results in recurrent flooding over a portion of Gettysburg Road causing adverse economic impacts that extended beyond the municipal border. As a result of the collaboration, an inter-municipal agreement for the creation of a shared Transportation Development District was created to address planning and funding.

Promoting Community/Economic Revitalization: Direct involvement in efforts that revitalize a designated residential, commercial, and/or industrial area or property, and/or alleviates blight and deterioration and returns properties to their most productive use.

Newport Borough, Perry County
Newport Borough, Perry County in preparation for the borough’s 175th anniversary celebration envisioned and implemented a series of revitalization initiatives, resulting in the creation of attractive outdoor spaces, including the Newport Heritage Park, which can be enjoyed for many years to come. Much of the associated project costs were covered by a massive fundraising effort facilitated by Newport Borough, local nonprofits, volunteers, and members of the community.

Innovative Community/Governmental Initiatives: Instituted an innovative approach to carry out its community and/or governmental function that resulted in cost savings, increased productivity, improved risk management and/or overall service delivery efficiencies/economies of scale.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County developed the “Talent City” hiring system to attract top regional and national talent to fill key leadership positions within the mayoral administration, as well as appointments on various boards, authorities, and commissions. The initiative was fully funded by contributions from local foundations, and is largely managed by a 10-member, bipartisan Oversight Committee representative of the local community.

Fiscal Accountability and Best Management Practices: Instituted a process, policy and/or procedure that enhanced its fiscal accountability and utilization of resources and assets, and which can serve as a model for other local governments to use as a best management practice.

 Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County implemented a series of cost-saving energy conservation measures saving the city an estimated $250,000 per year. Project measures implemented across the city include LED street lights, low-flow water features, demand control ventilation, and solar photovoltaic system to convert sunlight into electricity.

Innovative Planning and Sound Land Use Practices:
Instituted an innovative approach to planning principles, sound land use and/or utilization of renewable energy sources.

Clymer Borough, Indiana County
Clymer Borough, Indiana County through the development and enactment of their form-based zoning codes, developed land use strategies, policies, and regulations that respect and preserve the community’s history and culture while encouraging orderly growth and development.

Intergovernmental Cooperation: Engaged in an intergovernmental cooperative agreement/arrangement in which the service, function and/or activity involves two or more governmental units.

Centre Region Parks and Recreation Agency
Centre Region Parks and Recreation Agency has demonstrated its commitment to building working partnerships by collaborating with State College Borough along with College, Ferguson, Harris and Patton Townships. As a result of the intergovernmental cooperation arrangements, the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Agency now operates 47 municipal parks, as well as two new regional parks and two community swimming pools, spanning a total of 915 acres.

Information Technology: Demonstrate that it is currently using new information technology as an innovative tool to foster greater public access to local government and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entity.

South Fayette Township, Allegheny County
South Fayette Township, Allegheny County in one years’ time developed a website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages to engage thousands of community members and stakeholders with direct access to information. Added engagement is offered through customized, automatic e-mail and text message notifications relating to topics such as police news, recreation events, emergency alerts, and road closures,

Health and Wellness Initiatives: Direct involvement in efforts to provide health and wellness benefits to a community.

Tatamy Borough, Northampton County
Tatamy Borough, Northampton County is the first community to receive this award. In partnership with various educational, religious, commercial, and other organizations, Tatamy Borough established a community garden to grow fresh produce for families in need.  Produce harvested from the half-acre garden is donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, and summer lunch programs for students in Northampton County.

For more information on the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Governor’s Center for Local Government Services visit or call 1-866-466-3972.

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