In the absence of a formalized process for donating U.S. bailout funds, the three-member Huntington Township Board of Supervisors is considering a standardized system before releasing up to $125,436 in federal dollars. .
Like other municipalities, the rural township could engage in philanthropy and support local organizations, or choose to use the funding for internal efforts. If the former is chosen, Huntington officials believe a formal procedure should be adopted.
“The attorney general can check all those dollars,” Supervisor Mark Leer said at the council’s monthly business meeting on Thursday. “It’s important that we do it right and do it right.”
During the same meeting, supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $20,000 from the township’s general fund to three fire departments that serve the area: York Springs, Bendersville and Heidlersburg.
As part of the vote, York Springs receives $12,500, Bendersville receives $5,000 and Heidlersburg is expected to receive $2,500. Of the three agencies, York Springs gets what it’s received since 2018, and Bendersville’s donation doubles. Heidlersburg did not apply for funding last year.
The township’s $1.8 million annual budget also includes $15,000 to the York Springs Fire Company for contract services.
In previous years, the township’s donation to York Springs has been larger than others, Leer said. Going forward, Leer suggested equalizing donation percentages between the three departments.
“I have no problem with that logic, I agree with it,” said supervisor chairman Paul Guise.
Leer believes Thursday’s actions “bring the township closer” to that goal.
Officials said they could also donate US Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to fire departments, but filed a final decision pending a formalized process.
Federal bailout funding is to be used by 2024 for the first tranche of funds that has been allocated to local governments. The 2021 ARP Act allocated $6.15 billion to Pennsylvania counties, metropolitan cities and local governments to support response efforts, offset revenue losses and address economic challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic .
Until a formal process is implemented, Huntington officials are encouraging residents and stakeholders to submit ARP requests through the township’s email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We need to have something in writing to cover us,” said supervising vice president Jeffrey King.
Township officials are drafting an ARP grant request template and plan to have the final product approved by legal counsel. According to Guise, the township has already received a pair of requests, without a formalized process in place. There is no time limit to make a final decision.
Township Secretary Patricia Davis said all of the federal bailout money is in a “totally separate account.”
In other municipal affairs:
• Supervisors voted unanimously to award $3,200 in general fund credits to local community groups. As part of the vote, York Springs Senior Center receives $1,000; the Adams County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals receives $1,500 (including $750 for spraying and neutering services); East Berlin Library receives $500; and the Adams County Office for Aging receives $200.
• The township purchased a used backhoe a few months ago for $65,000 from Forrester Farm Equipment of Chambersburg, but officials are concerned that the finalized arrangement will not be followed through. “There was a deal with the offer, but it’s been six months, and it’s gone quite far,” Leer said, citing the rear hydraulics as an example. Only one bid was received and it met specifications. Officials suggested that attorney Robert Campbell draft a letter outlining the concerns. “We’re dealing with the same thing in agriculture,” said King, a local dairy farmer.
• Electronic Recycling Day is scheduled for the Municipal Complex of the Township of Huntington, 750 Trolley Road, York Springs, on Saturday, May 21, from 10 am to noon. The event is part of a multi-municipal waste management contract with Waste Management, between the Townships of Huntington and Latimore, and the Borough of York Springs. It is open to residents of all three municipalities, but a Waste Management invoice is required to participate. According to Huntington Township zoning officer Gus Fridenvalds, computers and accessories, such as keyboards and printers, as well as televisions will be accepted. Prohibited items include radios, vacuum cleaners and microwaves.