2021 Local Government Symposium
This report is the result of a joint effort between the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the Local Government Commission. Presenting the findings of the joint survey are Jonathan Johnson, senior policy analyst with the Local Government Commission, and Julia Frey, research analyst with the Local Government Commission.
Brittany Gay, Ph.D., and Michael Donovan, from the Research-to-Policy Collaboration at Penn State University, discuss their organization’s work in facilitating relationships between policymakers and researchers to improve government function.
Dr. Michael Sances, assistant professor of political science at Temple University presents his research regarding the effects of transitioning from municipal to state police coverage on local fiscal conditions.
Cal Kent, a member of the Assessors Association of Pennsylvania and the International Association of Assessing Officers as well as a Lewis Distinguished Professor of Business Emeritus at Marshall University, presents his analysis of the property taxation standards in Pennsylvania as compared to the standards established by the International Association of Assessing Officers, along with recommendations for improving property taxation.
LeeAnne Clayberger, CEO of the Pennsylvania Economy League, and Gerald Cross, Senior Research Fellow at the Pennsylvania Economy League, present the League’s research on local governments’ reliance on property taxes and recommendations for providing greater tax flexibility.
Aaron Lauer, the Senior Policy Analyst for the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics provides the results of the Institute’s study of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on municipal governance, and recommendations to improve their long-term resiliency.
Dr. Sabina Deitrick, of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, presents, along with her graduate students, the results of the research conducted as part of the capstone Public Service Practicum. This research focused on the digitization of municipal records, and the creation of a shared digital record retention policy.
Jonathan Del Collo, prothonotary of Berks County, discusses the creation and implementation of a mobile application for residents to access court information, records, and services.
Denny Puko, of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association. Denny serves on the Pennsylvania Legislative Committee for the American Planning Association provides recommendations on how to improve the local development permitting process to allow for greater competitiveness of economic development in Pennsylvania, while maintaining regulations which promote the public interest.
Alan Kugler, the principal at PA Futures and consultant to the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Government, discusses the importance of and future opportunities for councils of governments and other intergovernmental organizations in Pennsylvania.
Peter Buck, Gretchen Brandt, and Joe Viglione, members of the Centre Region Solar Power Purchase Agreement Working Group discuss their experience in the formation of the working group and the goals, processes, structure, and agreements that the group has enacted thus far. Peter Buck, of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, serves as the chair of the working group. Gretchen Brandt is the vice-chair of the group, and represents the State College Area School District Board of Directors. Joe Viglione is the Finance Director for the Centre Region Council of Governments.
Metro21 and Traffic21 at Carnegie Mellon University, highlight two initiatives – the Smart Mobility Challenge, and the Government-to-University Initiative – that address the interplay between technology, policy, and people. This panel consists of Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University; Kim Lucas, Acting Director of the Department of Mobility & Innovation from the City of Pittsburgh; Kelly Maurer, Director of Public Works, Cranberry Township; and Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.