PSATS Lehigh Valley 2023 Regional Forum - 10/18/23 - Allentown

Includes a Live In-Person Event on 10/18/2023 at 9:00 AM (EDT)

PSATS’ Regional Forums are back! This series of full-day educational sessions is scheduled for multiple locations statewide. Learn more about issues that matter to your community, discuss common interests with other local leaders, earn PMGA and other professional credits, and attend specialized workshops designed for township officials. This educational event will be the perfect opportunity to hear from experts on the local issues that matter to you and your municipality.

Eligible for 5 PMGA Administration points


8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

* Registration, Continental Breakfast, and Networking


9:00 - 9:10 a.m.

* Welcome and Introductions

David M. Sanko, Executive Director, PSATS, and Scott E. Coburn, Esquire, Education Director & Counsel, PSATS


9:10 - 10:05 a.m. (choose one)

* Planning for Recreation, Parks, and Public Spaces (1 PMGA Planning/Zoning Point)

This session will address the opportunities and challenges associated with providing quality recreational facilities and programs. Representatives from DCNR and the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society will discuss various available funding and program options and provide you with links, contacts, advice on how to tap into these resources, and real-world examples. There will also be time for participants to ask questions and receive information specific to their situation.

Dan Hendey, CPRP, CPSI, Education Manager, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, and Christine Dettore, Regional Advisor, Northeast Regional Office, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

* Township Banking – Legal Requirements You Should Know Before Opening Accounts (1 PMGA Admin Point and 1 CLE)

With historically high interest rates offered by financial institutions, a review of existing bank accounts, and possible new accounts, makes sense for many townships.  Multiple sources and uses of funds trigger various legal restrictions, and even security, for each account.  We will match sources of funds with the appropriate account when a township representative meets with the local bank officer to discuss a new or existing banking relationship.

Jens H. Damgaard, Esquire, and Jennifer M. Caron, Esquire, Eckert Seamans


10:15 - 11:10 a.m. (choose one)

* Best Practices for Buying and Selling Municipal Real Estate (1 PMGA Admin Point and 1 CLE)

Townships can make costly mistakes when buying and selling real estate, or exercising eminent domain rights, if they are not on top of the rules that govern those transactions. This session will focus on the municipal codes that govern the purchase and sale of municipal real estate, the use of eminent domain and the impact of the Donated and Dedicated Property Act.

Thomas H. Dinkelacker, Esquire, and Rocco Beltrami, Esquire, Norris McLaughlin P.A.

* Local Regulation of Grid-Scale Solar Projects (1 PMGA Planning/Zoning Point)

Many townships in this region are experiencing an increase in permit applications from solar project developers. This session will share insights about solar projects, common elements in zoning ordinances, and communication strategies for community discussion of proposed solar projects.

Tom Murphy, PSATS Solar Educator


11:20 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (choose one)

* Hot Button Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service (1 PMGA Public Safety Point)

We will discuss several key issues currently impacting municipalities and volunteer fire companies. These include volunteer fire training, standards of cover, fire relief, junior firefighters, and recruitment and retention. There will be opportunities for attendees to share their successes and challenges.

Tracie Young-Brungard BS, EMTP, RRC, Administrator, Recruitment & Retention, Office of the State Fire Commissioner

* The Ethics Act: A Short Guide on How to Stay Out of the News (1 PMGA Admin Point and 1 CLE)

This session will provide attendees with real-world examples of Ethics Act violations and help attendees spot, address, and avoid such violations.

Mary Fox, Executive Director, State Ethics Commission


12:15 - 1:00 p.m.

* Lunch


1:00 – 1:55 p.m. (choose one)

* The Implementable Comprehensive Plan, From Top to Bottom (1 PMGA Planning/Zoning Point)

This workshop will give participants a thorough overview of the implementable comprehensive plan, including what they are and how they differ from traditional comprehensive plans, why municipalities should implement them, descriptions of success stories, and information available resources for funding them.  

Rachel Reznick, Local Government Planning Specialist, Department of Community and Economic Development

* When and How to Get the Word Out: Communicating and Controlling Township News in Good Times and Bad (1 PMGA Admin Point) 

When you work in a municipality, there is no such thing as a typical day. Budget woes, development issues, safety concerns, and even festive community events seem to divide residents into three camps: those who are pleased, those who are upset, and those who are generally confused. 

Proactive communication can go a long way toward improving public awareness and garnering greater support for the activities and initiatives occurring in your township.  

But how does a budget-strapped township improve its communication? And what should a township do and say when a crisis occurs? 

>span class="NormalTextRun SCXW128087087 BCX0">provide strategies and tactics for communicating in good times and bad. We will explore ways to maximize your township’s existing communication resources and leverage local media, social media, direct mail, community groups, and outlets you never even thought of.  

Bring your bad news or good news scenario with you and you’ll leave this workshop with a strategy for communicating it. 

Leza Raffel, President, The Communication Solutions Group  

2:05 - 3:00 p.m. (choose one)

* Agendas, Public Comment, and Angry Residents – Tips for Managing Meetings (1 PMGA Admin Point and 1 CLE)

This session will cover all the challenging issues that townships must work through in connection with public meetings and provide tips that you can easily implement in your townships.

Scott E. Coburn, Esq., Education Director & Counsel, PSATS

*Bridging the Gap Between Townships and Consultants: Tips for Engaging Consultants and Leveraging Partnerships for Funding (1 PMGA Public Works Point)

The American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) will provide resources and information on various topics, including best practices for working with consultants, drafting high-quality RFPs/RFQs, maximizing grant funding opportunities, and other resources and information needed and used by PSATS members.

Paul McNamee, Client Services Manager, KCI Technologies, Inc.


3:10 - 3:40 p.m.

* Municipal Jeopardy (.5 PMGA Admin Point)

Test your knowledge of important aspects of township government so that you are better prepared to lead and manage your townships. 

Scott E. Coburn, Esquire, Education Director & Counsel, PSATS, and Kalman A. Sostarecz, Jr., Assistant Township Manager & Director of Community Development, Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County


3:40 - 4:00 p.m.

* Q&A and Open Discussion

David M. Sanko, Executive Director, PSATS


               October 18, 2023


                9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


                Lehigh County
                Hyatt Place Allentown
                621 Grange Road
                Allentown, PA 18106

Registration Fee:   - Each Regional Forum registration is partially funded through a scholarship provided by the Pennsylvania Leadership Institute.   

                Member* -  $ 99.00

                Non-Member –  $149.00                                            

        *PSATS Member = Registrant has paid current annual membership dues to PSATS or one of its professional associations (e.g., Township Emergency Management Association, Township Engineers Association, Township Planners Association, Township Solicitors Association, or the Pa. Assoc. of Zoning Officials).


Cancellations must be in writing, and can be sent to us by email to; by fax to (717) 763-9732; or by mail to PSATS Education Program, 4855 Woodland Drive, Enola, PA, 17025. Refunds will be determined by the sent date of the notice.
Refunds for cancelling a webinar at any time will be subject to a $10 processing fee. 
For classes, (in-person and virtual), refunds for a cancellation sent to us between 10 and 2 business days before the class you are registered for will be subject to a $20 processing fee. Those who cancel within two business days of the class you are registered for, or do not attend, forfeit the full registration fee which, if unpaid, will be invoiced.


If you require alternate format, sign language, or have other needs, please contact PSATS directly (717) 763-0930, x-159.