Sep. 21, 2018

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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

New Website Offers Latest on Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly, a pest native to China and Vietnam, was first discovered in Berks County in 2014 and presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. Products specifically at risk include grapes, tree-fruit, hardwoods and nursery items.

The insect has since spread to 13 counties – Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill – which are now considered to be part of a quarantine area.

Penn State Extension has compiled a comprehensive website with a lot of resources, including a checklist for homeowners in the quarantine area, tips for handling yard waste, ways to report and dispose of the insect, notices of public meetings, along with signs and symptoms, what’s at risk, where it’s found, and how the state is managing response to the insect. You can also sign up to receive the latest news, updates and alerts.

To access the website, click here
State Grants Awarded for Area Improvement Projects

Six improvement projects in Carbon County will benefit from nearly $750,000 in state funding approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority this week. I was pleased to be able to play a role in bringing tax dollars back into our communities.

Projects receiving funding through the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program include:
  • The Kline Township Municipal Authority, which was awarded a $200,000 grant for the replacement of water mains and the installation of five fire hydrants.
  • Nesquehoning, which was awarded a $150,000 grant for the replacement of deteriorated sanitary sewer lines.
  • Jim Thorpe, which was awarded a $100,000 grant to replace the water main along Church Alley.
  • The Lehighton Water Authority, which was awarded a $125,715 grant for the purchase of a leak detection system to quickly identify sources of water loss.
  • The Weissport Municipal Authority, which was awarded a $88,306 grant to update sewer system equipment which is often in need of maintenance.
In addition, Beaver Meadows was awarded $85,000 through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program to construct a recreational pavilion across the street from Memorial Park. 
Local Library Receives State Grant

I am pleased to announce that the Lehighton Area Memorial Library this week was awarded a state grant of nearly $170,000 that will help pay for an addition to the building. The project includes space for youth services, a community room and two ADA restrooms.

A total of 27 public libraries in 18 counties were awarded $6.8 million through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. 
State Grants Available to Dairy Farmers

A $5 million grant program approved as part of the 2018-19 state budget is now accepting applications through the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

The Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program was established under Act 42 of 2018 to help dairy farmers overcome falling milk prices and other market challenges. The grants may be used for researching new technologies, products and best practices; marketing to new domestic and international markets; exploring new business opportunities to diversify their operation and revenue streams; transitioning to organic production methods; and incorporating or expanding value-added dairy production, such as cheese and yogurt products.

For more information about how to apply, click here
Farm Conservation Tax Credits Available

To help farmers implement best management practices (BMPs) to prevent water pollution or purchase conservation equipment, $10 million in tax credits is available through the 2018-19 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.

Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 percent to 75 percent of a project’s cost. The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and protecting animal heavy-use areas like barnyards.

REAP applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, click here
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