Sustainability @ McCandless

The Town has drafted a sustainability plan to follow up a resolution passed in May of this year. The Town acknowledges the need to alter current practices based on growing evidence that business as usual is not sustainable. It also recognizes the need to provide a significant role in leading and supporting the community in their sustainability endeavors.

Ultimately, this plan will serve as part of the Town’s application to the Pennsylvania Municipal League for Community Certification, along with a fully annotated criteria check sheet, which will be made available on the Town of McCandless website.

The Town will integrate the intent of this plan into everything we do by:

o          Supporting a stable, diverse and equitable economy

o          Protecting the quality of the air, water, land and other natural resources

o          Conserving native vegetation, fish, wildlife habitat and other ecosystems

o          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 their 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 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 their own set of goals pertaining to the new sustainable compliance initiatives that the Town has ennacted, 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. 

Resolution No. 10 of 2019: The Town of McCandless is committed to promoting a sustainable future that meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Click here to see the 2019 Sustainability Plan (some departmental highlights are below)

Administration: 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, YouTube and the Savvy Citizen mobile app). An Environmental Advisory Committee was created by a Town resolution in May of 2016 and the members meet once a month to review progress on 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.

Public Works: The Town actively encourages water conservation among businesses and in the community. Sustainable landscaping practices are used when Public Works crews maintain Town parks (regular watering of grass is not done, herbicides are not used). Additionally, low impact development and onsite stormwater infiltration is 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 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 comsumption (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 their written policies for years to ensure that everything remains up to standard.

Public Safety: The Town maintains an updated Public Safety/Emergency Plan 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 anti-idling laws.

Code Enforcement: 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.