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3135 Authorizing the Sustainability Task Force
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SUSTAINABILITY TASK FORCE; AND SETTING FORTH PURPOSE, FUNCTION, AND RESPONSIBILITIES
WHEREAS, Warren County is blessed with abundant fresh water, air, and other natural amenities crucial to sustain life in all of its forms; and
WHEREAS, Warren County is home to a large portion of the Allegheny National Forest, the only National Forest in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, the Allegheny Reservoir and Kinzua are home to one of the largest outdoor recreation areas in the Northeastern United States; and
WHEREAS, the Allegheny River is a federally designated National Wild and Scenic Recreation River and was selected the “River of the Year” recipient in 2017 by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and
WHEREAS, Warren County has a long history of conservation and environmental stewardship including the Allegheny and Conewango River Cleanup events, among others; and
WHEREAS, despite Warren County’s efforts to recycle and maintain its rivers and forests, the County as a whole still recycles material at a rate below national and statewide averages and that a large portion of electronics, appliances, and household hazardous chemicals do not get recycled within the County; and
WHEREAS, with the decline of revenue from recycling plastic, glass and other materials, and increased costs related to tightening regulations in China and other countries that currently recycle the United States’ plastics, there are a number of economic challenges nationally which make recycling challenging; and
WHEREAS, with costs increasing locally for recycling programs and the need to be ever more creative in our efforts to address increases in our production of trash and recyclable materials; and
WHEREAS, the recent opportunity to utilize closure funds from the Grunderville Landfill to spark the creation of a more comprehensive recycling option in the County; and
WHEREAS, Warren County has an aging population and infrastructure which needs to be upgraded and retrofitted in order to improve efficiency and expand the use of clean energy initiatives that have a reduced impact on the environment; and
WHEREAS, with the loss of industrial operations in the region and the closing of various plants there are a variety of environmental concerns which need to be remediated and addressed over the long term to both redevelop the region, but also to mitigate any issues related to use of hazardous materials; and
WHEREAS, Warren County has a rich agricultural history and there is a need for local food sourcing and the reutilization of our farmlands which generate more revenue versus expenditures on services; and
WHEREAS, there is a growing interest in freshly grown, healthy, locally sourced food, which can be seen in our Farmers Market and other local operations which need regional support; and
WHEREAS, the Warren County Board of Commissioners is taking a proactive role in developing and implementing programs that will result in better recycling options, more renewable energy options, more local and sustainable agricultural options, and subsequent economic growth in Warren County,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF WARREN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, do hereby proclaim their support for the creation of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force and its effort to bring sustainable economic initiatives to Warren County, Pennsylvania,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that:
Section 1. Creation. The Warren County Board of Commissioners do hereby authorize the Warren County Sustainability Task Force.
Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force is to create a comprehensive plan for a sustainable County-wide recycling program to be presented to the Warren County Board of Commissioners by October 31 of 2019, and accompanied by a report on recommendations related to environmental stewardship initiatives, renewable energy expansion, and sustainable agricultural expansion.
Section 3. Limitations on Authority. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force is advisory only and shall not have the power or authority to commit Warren County or any of its agencies or instruments to any policies, incur any financial obligations, or create any liability, contractual or otherwise, on behalf of Warren County or any of its agencies or instrumentalities.
Section 4. Membership. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall consist of a minimum of seven members appointed by the Warren County Board of Commissioners and consist of one Warren County Commissioner and six or more community members.
- Member appointments shall be made at a public meeting of the Warren County Board of Commissioners. In the event of a vacancy by an existing member of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force, a replacement shall be found and appointed at the next available public meeting of the Warren County Board of Commissioners.
- Members of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall reflect the diversity of the community.
- Members of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall select their chairperson and vice-chairperson by a simple majority vote at the first meeting following the adoption of this Resolution. Any member vacancies on the Warren County Task Force shall be filled by appointment of replacements by the Warren County Board of Commissioners in a public meeting after recommended replacements have been presented to the Commissioners by the Warren County Sustainability Task Force. If the County Commissioner serving on the Warren County Sustainability Task Force is unable to perform their duties on the Task Force, they must be replaced by another Warren County Commissioner by appointment at a Public Meeting. In the event of a chairperson vacancy, the vice-chairperson shall conduct the meeting and the members of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall select a new chairperson at the next meeting where a majority of the members are in attendance. In the event of a vice-chairperson vacancy, a new vice-chairperson shall be approved at the next meeting where a majority of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force members are in attendance.
Section 5. Organization and procedures at meetings. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall meet on an as-needed basis, determined by group itself. Members of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall select their chairperson and vice-chairperson at the first official meeting. The chairperson shall preside at all meetings at which he or she is present. The vice-chairperson shall act as chairperson in the absence of the chairperson.
The Warren County Sustainability Task Force may establish, adopt, and amend bylaws, rules, and regulation for its own governance. In order to transact any business or to exercise any power vested in the Warren County Sustainability Task Force, a quorum consisting of a majority of those persons duly appointed shall be present. The members of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall serve without compensation.
Section 6. Regulations. All proceedings of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall be conducted in accordance with the Government in the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 701-716 and the Pennsylvania County Code. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall be deemed an “agency” for the purposes of the Open Records Law. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall be governed by all State and County conflict of interest laws, as applicable. At each meeting, notes will be taken and then given to the Warren County Chief Clerk to serve as a public record of each meeting.
Section 7. Plan, Report and responsibilities. The group will work in conjunction with the County Planning and Zoning Department, along with the County’s Recycling Consultant, to develop a comprehensive plan for recycling in Warren County. The fundamental goal of the plan is to increase the amount of material (including plastic, cardboard, electronic, tires, appliances, household hazardous chemicals, etc.) being collected by the County and to do so in the most economically sustainable manner possible. This report must be detailed and implementable in the year 2020. The deadline, October 30th, 2019, is important for the budgeting purposes of the County.
The accompanying “Report”, which the Sustainability Task Force is also charged with producing, will be at the discretion of the Task Force as far as content and direction. The group will have three focus areas (although more may be added) which include Environmental Conservation, Renewable Energy, and Sustainable Agriculture. These areas are purposefully broad as to give the members of the Task Force latitude to create bold and creative proposals.
Section 8. Staff. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force may be provided with assistance from County staff on an as-needed basis. The staff may be tasked with keeping and preparing records of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force; may prepare, in cooperation with the chairperson, the agenda for each meeting; be responsible for the preparation of reports, minutes, documents, or correspondence as the Warren County Sustainability Task Force may direct; and, generally administer the business and affairs of the Warren County Sustainability Task Force, subject to the limitations of the County budget and general staff availability. The County Solicitor shall provide legal counsel, as needed, to the Warren County Sustainability Task Force.
Section 9. Authorized collaboration. Although the Warren County Sustainability Task Force reports directly to the Warren County Board of Commissioners, the Board encourages and supports federal, state, and local initiatives to increase Pennsylvania tourism and business investment and encourages collaboration and coordination by the Warren County Sustainability Task Force with local, state, and federal agencies and officials in order to acquire data, solicit recommendations, and promote join ventures and investment.
Section 10. Sunset. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force shall sunset and stand dissolved on the 31st day of January 2020 unless the Acting Board of Commissioners extends the term of service by majority vote of a supportive Resolution. The Warren County Sustainability Task Force may need to continue beyond the sunset period in order to provide guidance and coordination on the execution of projects related to its initial proposals and provide public education and further guidance to the community beyond its initial parameters.
This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.
APPROVED this 27th day of March 2019.
COMMISSIONERS OF WARREN COUNTY
Attest: Vice Chair
Pamela J. Matve Jeff Eggleston
Chief Clerk Secretary