Sustainability at McCandless
The Town of McCandless has achieved Gold status in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program. This certification is the culmination of more than two years of discussion and assessment, and we are proud to announce this. Work will continue in order to maintain and grow on this achievement.
The Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification, managed by the Pennsylvania Municipal League in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh, is designed for municipalities that are working to save money, conserve resources, and serve vibrant communities. The certification is implemented statewide, recognizing municipalities across the state. In earning the Gold certification, McCandless is acknowledged for progress in such areas as community design and land use, energy efficiency, health and wellness, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls, and internal management and operations.
The Town drafted a 2019 Sustainability Plan (PDF) to follow up on Resolution No.10 (PDF) passed in May 2019. The Town acknowledged the need to alter current practices based on growing evidence that business as usual was not sustainable. It also recognized the need to provide a significant role in leading and supporting the community in its sustainability endeavors.
The Town will integrate the intent of this plan into everything we do by:
- Supporting a stable, diverse, and equitable economy
- Protecting the quality of the air, water, land, and other natural resources
- Conserving native vegetation, fish, wildlife habitat, and other ecosystems
- Minimizing human impacts on local, regional, and worldwide ecosystems
This plan provides insight into the Town’s commitment to progressing toward sustainability and pronounces the principles of sustainability under which the Town is willing to conduct its duties. The pursuit of the Sustainable Community Certification is made based on the direction of the Town Manager and the Environmental Advisory Committee.
The Environmental Advisory Committee participates in ongoing training to advance the objectives of the municipal sustainability program and meets once a month to assess their progress.
Additionally, Town Manager Bob Grimm has appointed Assistant to the Town Manager John Bojarski as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Town. He is tasked with the oversight of all sustainable goals and yearly assessments among the municipal departments.
Each department has its own set of goals pertaining to the new sustainable compliance initiatives that the Town has enacted, and all municipal-sponsored events have a sustainability awareness component (including the availability of sustainability-related information sheets and the availability of recycling). These goals will be tracked and reported annually to ensure departmental accountability.
The Town ensures that civic engagement, public participation, and transparency are regularly assessed by holding publicly advertised council and committee meetings (additionally, Council meetings and other Town information are published via Facebook and YouTube. An Environmental Advisory Committee was created by a Town resolution in May of 2016 and the members meet once a month to review the progress of their projects. The Town is debt-free, and capital funds are not used for day-to-day operating expenses. The Town's non-uniformed pension is 100 percent funded, and its uniformed pension is funded at 98.6 percent.
McCandless is an active member of the North Hills Council of Governments and often utilizes Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements (ICA) to engage in multi-municipal endeavors (such as the North Hills DUI Task Force) and participates in other NHCOG programs (including the joint municipal leaf composting program and the multi-municipal road salt contract). The McCandless-Franklin Park Ambulance Authority and the Northland Public Library Authority are multi-municipal projects which serve McCandless and other surrounding North Hills communities. The Town also has a long track record of working with the North Allegheny School District. Our Town Manager meets periodically with the District Superintendent to coordinate, the Town and NA have an emergency management partnership (where Town police and fire officials work with district administrators to prepare and train for emergency situations), and costs for crossing guards (who are employees of the Town's Police Department) are shared equally with the school district.
The Town actively encourages water conservation among businesses and in the community. You can view the Environmental Checklist (PDF) here. Sustainable landscaping practices are used when Public Works crews maintain Town parks (regular watering of grass is not done, and herbicides are not used). Additionally, low-impact development and onsite stormwater infiltration are encouraged. Sufficient investments are being made to the water, sewer, and stormwater systems per real costs and keeping pace with maintenance and operations. Additionally, all municipal buildings have an active recycling program (with recycling containers and dumpsters available). An Energy Audit (PDF) was completed by Allegheny County a while back. Since then, Public Works has been converting lighting in Town facilities to LED, leading to a reduction in energy consumption (additionally, a PennDOT grant is helping the Town update traffic signals to LED). The Town also has begun using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track energy usage and efficiency.
Planning and Zoning
The Town has regularly included performance zoning and low-impact development ordinances within its written policies for years to ensure that everything remains up to standard.
The Town maintains an updated Public Safety/Emergency Plan (PDF) to ensure the needs of Fire, Police, and EMS are met. Additionally, the Town participates in a regional service program and/or contracts these services through other municipalities like the McCandless-Franklin Park Ambulance Authority or ensuring that the McCandless Township Sanitary Authority is empowered to serve the community. Police are trained on items such as state bicycle safety and the Anti-Idling Act (PDF).
In addition, the Town imposes PA’s statewide Uniform Construction Code and has the staffing in place to enforce all building and maintenance codes. Additionally, McCandless has crafted and subsequently follows its own property maintenance codes to ensure safe rental housing.