Municipal Law Update – April 14, 2020

Tags : covid-19
April 14, 2020

I hope your week is starting out as close to normal as it can.  A few updates to share:

  • We are offering a Zoom training through the York County Bar Association on Wednesday, April 15 at 10 am.  You can register for the training at:

The YCBA invites you to attend a Zoom training for MPL Law Firm and Clients.

  • When: Apr 15, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • The state issued the linked update to the FAQs on Life-Sustaining Business.  Changes were made to #20 (Residential Construction) and #36 (Retail Garden Centers).  Many residential contractors who thought they had a waiver to continue working found out they really didn’t.  PSATS also clarified the limitations on Retail Garden Centers:

The commonwealth has also clarified that all lawn and garden centers are not authorized to maintain in-person operations. This prohibition applies to independent lawn and garden centers and those attached to large retail chains. DCED sent letters to large retail chains providing this clarification. This prohibition does not apply to establishments primarily engaged in retailing farm supplies, such as animal feed.  Online orders and delivery of those orders are allowed, including for lawn and garden centers that did not apply for or were denied a waiver. Curbside pickup is prohibited for businesses without a waiver, as they do not qualify for in-person operations under the governor’s order.

  • As we updated you last week, there are numerous bills pending before the PA legislature to address the Covid-19 pandemic.  Probably, the most important piece of legislation to local governments is SB 841.  A nice summary of the bill published by the Pennsylvania Municipal League is linked here.  In particular, the bill addresses remote meeting notice requirements, suspension of plan approval periods, and property tax due dates.
  • Is your municipality concerned about cash flow in the coming months due to the delay in collecting earned income taxes?  Many local municipalities are very concerned how they will continue to operate.  Many already operate with an extremely small staff so simply laying off staff is not an option if a local government wants to function in a meaningful way.  The CARES Act and the U.S. Treasury made available temporary loans for states and large municipal governments to plug revenue shortfalls from delayed tax collection, but the Treasury did not immediately address small or mid-sized local governments.  The Pennsylvania Municipal League adopted the linked resolution urging the Pennsylvania legislature to act to provide relief for these smaller governments.  If your municipality feels action by the state is important as well, please consider adopting a similar resolution to send to your local legislators.

I hope you find this information useful.  Stay safe and as always do not hesitate to contact Andy Miller or Doug Myers with ay Covid-19 related questions.


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