Pennsbury supervisors support prevailing wage changes

By Donna C. Gregory, Correspondent,

Pennsbury's Board of Supervisors voiced support for legislation that would raise the threshold for public construction projects requiring prevailing wage be paid to workers.

PENNSBURY — The township’s Board of Supervisors joined other townships around the commonwealth last week in supporting changes to the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act.

Adopted in 1961, the act requires that workers on public construction projects costing more than $25,000 be paid a prevailing wage set by the secretary of labor and industry. The $25,000 threshold has not changed since 1963.

HB 1329, currently before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, proposes to increase the project limit to $185,000 – an amount that factors in inflation over the past five decades.

A second bill under consideration, HB 1685, would require the secretary of labor to develop a uniform and complete list of worker classifications that would be accessible to the public online.

“This is the first time in my memory that we’ve gotten legislation to the point where the House is actually thinking of putting it to a vote,” said Elam Herr, assistant director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.

The House could vote on the two bills this spring.

The association is asking Pennsylvania townships to adopt prevailing wage resolutions to show support for the proposed legislation.

If approved, HB 1329 will save contractors from having to pay workers prevailing wages on smaller municipal projects. Those savings, in turn, could be passed onto the townships.

“We do not have anything going on now, but if we did, anything $25,000 or above would have to be [paid at] prevailing wage, which increases the cost to taxpayers tremendously,” explained Kathy Howley, Pennsbury’s township manager.

Prevailing wages are set by the secretary of labor based on job classification and location. The act applies to all public building/renovation projects, including roads, schools, parks and other government facilities.

For years, the association has asked for the threshold to be changed with no success.

“The trade unions are opposed to any changes in the law,” Herr explained. “They contend that prevailing wage is a fair wage … and that the law should not be changed.”

In other township news:

  • An audit of Pennsbury’s 2011 financial records has been completed with no negative findings.
  • The next Pennsbury Board of Supervisors meeting is set for Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m., in the upper room of the Pennsbury Township office, 702 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford.
  • The annual community yard sale will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at Pennsbury Municipal Park, located behind the township office.
  • Cleanup Day has been scheduled for Saturday, May 5. Groups and individuals are encouraged to clean up the township’s roadsides. Call (610) 388-7323 to request trash bags, gloves and safety vests.
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One Comment

  1. Ray Farrell says:

    In Pennsylvania, school districts alone spent more than $2 billion on construction in 2008-09. Allowing schools to opt out of the state mandate could save $400 million per year in property taxes.

    Ray Farrell
    Pocopson, PA

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