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Wages and bids concern Pa. officials

December 15, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Franklin County officials and state lawmakers discussed a wide range of key issues during a  Franklin County Council of Governments gathering Tuesday.
Some of the talking points included:

Prevailing wage

Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher told the legislators he feels the 1950 law is antiquated and unnecessary. Prevailing wage governs payments to workers and provides city-type wages to construction employees across Pennsylvania for government projects.

“It’s time,” Christopher said. “We don’t need this law. It costs millions of dollars for nothing in return.”
State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland, said he believes prevailing wage provisions can be changed but not eliminated.

“I’m talking about the political reality in Harrisburg,” he said.
“It’s not going to be an easy vote for a lot of members,” added state Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, saying the unions can block votes.

Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said paying prevailing wage should be optional.

“Make it a local option, so if someone wants to spend 30 percent more on a school building they can,” he said.

Franklin County Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski said he disagrees with fellow Democrats regarding prevailing wage.

“I recognize prevailing wage does not lift the middle class in Franklin County,” he said.

Bid limits

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The Council of Governments asked that competitive bids not be required for projects costing less than $25,000. Members said they’d save advertising costs and personnel time.

“Nobody denies the need for competition. It just makes us more efficient if the bid limits are raised a little bit to $25,000,” Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.
State Rep. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, said the Franklin County delegation is supportive, but trade unions are holding up the bills.

Advertising

Replacing newspaper legal ads with website information would maintain government transparency while saving money, Christopher said.

“I spend $10,000 a year on advertising. That’s $10,000 I’m not spending on roads,” he said.

Antrim Township Supervisor Fred Young said his board receives bids from all over the state and country, and it advertises using the least expensive newspaper rates it can find. Another municipal representative said websites and trade magazines are more effective.

“We spend well over six figures a year on advertising. Somewhere along the line we need to look more at technology,” County Administrator John Hart said.

Storm water

Storm water management requirements passed on from the federal government affect municipal finances, officials said. Franklin County lawmakers said they agree the unfunded mandates are a problem.

“The federal government needs to back off and let states manage their own destinies,” Alloway said.

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