Township officials meet for delayed convention
By Randy Bartley
The Clarion County Association of Township Officials celebrated the organization's centennial Sept. 30, one year late. The association's 100th anniversary was actually in 2020 but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration was postponed to this year.
Chuck Stowe, assistant secretary of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, (PSATS) congratulated the county organization on its centennial and reminded the group that the state association was founded in the same year.
Stowe said Clarion County would be hosting a "boot camp" for newly elected township officials in the near future.
The association elected officers for 2021-2022. The incoming president is Robert Lewis, first vice-president is Harry Smathers, second vice-president is Steve Ketner, secretary is Steve Allison and assistant secretary is Karen "Lu" Wilson.
The membership defeated a proposed resolution that would have clarified the definition of a family and dependents.
Allison, acting as the host, said there would be a resolution presented at the PSATS state convention on Oct. 13 to eliminate the elected position of township tax collector. He said the resolution would be introduced by Chester County.
Allison said, as a delegate to the state convention, he would oppose the resolution.
"I am all about local government," Allison said. "I oppose the elimination of local government. What's next? Supervisor?"
Holly Fischel, PSATS Policy and Research Director, updated the organization's members on several issues. She said the state is examining ways to replace the gas tax. The liquid fuels money townships receive is based on the amount of liquid fuels tax collected. She said the amount collected by the state was down in 2020 due to the pandemic and is predicted to drop another 2 percent next year.
Fischel said there have been preliminary discussions about mileage-based fees, a package delivery fee and some cost saving methods.
"It is not a one size fits all solution," she said. "As long as the feds are pushing cars with higher gas mileage and electric cars, this will be an issue."
The daylong convention broke into several workshops in the afternoon before reconvening for a work session in the afternoon.
The convention was held at the Trinity Point Church in Monroe Township.