Departments > Administration > Sustainable Pennsylvania Certified Gold Community

Sustainable Pennsylvania Certified Gold Community

Ferguson Township is proud to be recognized as a Certified Gold Community by Sustainable PennsylvaniaCertified Gold Community - Ferguson Township. The certification is offered by The Pennsylvania Municipal League in cooperation with Sustainable Pittsburgh, and allows local governments to showcase their progress toward sustainability initiatives that improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

To attain the certification, the Township has completed an online assessment that evaluates the municipality in areas of Governance and Community Engagement; Healthy Communities; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Education; Energy Use, Conservation, and Green Building; Environmental Stewardship; Housing; Land Use and Transportation; and Other Sustainability Innovation. The level of certification attained depends on the number of "Yes" responses the municipality provides and the number of supporting web links that verify the "Yes" answers.

On this page, you'll find the items on the sustainability assessment that the Township is advancing either on the local level, or in partnership with the Centre Region Council of Governments. You will also find links to the documents that were used to substantiate those items. You may also view the complete submission on the Sustainable Pennsylvania website.

Governance and Community Engagement

Municipal Operations

1a. Professional staff are employed or retained, in the areas of budgeting and finance.

1b. A revenue-expenditure trend analysis is conducted annually.

1c. Funds for capital-related borrowing are not used for day to day expenses.

1d. Municipality routinely evaluates ability to ensure that revenue is sufficient to maintain public infrastructure.

1e. Obligations for pensions/other post-employment benefits are funded for the long-term to at least 80%.

1f. 5-10 percent of operating funds are carried over year to year.

1g. Taxation takes a balanced approach applicable to all sectors of municipal services provided and fees satisfy cost recovery.

1h. Green vehicle fleet assessment has been initiated toward: using greener fuels and/or vehicles, vehicle right-sizing for the job/trip, retrofit or replace older diesel trucks or equipment with cleaner technology, or driver education about driving techniques for fuel economy.

Community Engagement

2a. Civic engagement, public participation and transparency are regularly assessed and facilitated,

2d. Municipality communicates with the public via a regularly scheduled newsletter or regularly updated web based communications.

2f. A program exists to actively pursue and match residents and local businesses to volunteer opportunities to better the community and assist the local government.

Local and Regional Cooperation

3a. Municipality is an active participant in a Council of Governments.

3b. The municipality utilizes Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements (ICA) to engage in multi-municipal endeavors.

3c. Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements include conflict resolution provisions.


4a. The municipality is committed to passing a resolution (within six months of enrolling) to affirm participation in the Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program.

4c. Sustainability policies, goals, and principles have been adopted.

4h. Professional development for municipal personnel and officials includes participating (at a minimum, per year) in quarterly Local Government Academy, PA DCED or other professional training association programs.

4i. Newly elected officials participate in Local Government Academy or other orientation training for public officials. 

Public Safety

5a. Municipality maintains updated public safety mutual aid agreements with neighboring municipalities and shares resources.

5b. Municipality maintains an updated Public Safety comprehensive plan to be sure staffing and financial resources keep pace with municipal needs for Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services.

5c. Municipality participates in a regional service program or contracts services to or through other municipalities for fire, police, or EMS.

Healthy Communities

Local Food

6a. Incentives exist for establishment of farms and gardens within the municipality.

6d. A community produce garden(s) is available.

Healthy People

7a. Programs by local government, or in cooperation with the non-profit and private sector, exist to address community health concerns, i.e. exercise programs, feeding programs for children and the elderly, crime watches, accessible health care, exercise away from areas of air pollution, etc.

7b. Outdoor recreation opportunities, amenities, and lifestyles are promoted.

7c. The use of pesticides and herbicides is being monitored and reduced by all municipal departments which use them.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Human Resources

8a. Measures are taken to ensure a wide range of candidates are interviewed for all municipal job openings i.e., the Rooney Rule.

8b. The municipality has a written municipal policy prohibiting discrimination and valuing diversity and inclusion.

8c. The municipality has provided diversity training for municipal employees.


9a. There is a municipal policy ensuring Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise are considered in municipal purchasing, bids and contracts.

9b. The municipality is engaged in programs to communicate that the community is welcoming to persons who represent diversity (sister city relations, diversity sensitivity training, multilingual signage, etc.).



10a. Municipal planning is coordinated with the school district and the two meet together at least once per year.

10b. The municipality and local public schools cooperate to share facilities and other resources. (For example, the municipality assists with the cost of evening lifeguards for community use of a school swimming pool or for provision of crossing guards.) 


11a. Municipality works with schools and local nonprofits/community organizations to engage students about community issues such as waste reduction and recycling, public safety, wellness, conservation, nature, etc.

Energy Use, Conservation, and Green Building

Municipal Energy Use

12a. Municipality has or is in the process of retrofitting street lights and traffic signals to LED bulbs.

Community Energy Use

13a. The municipal comprehensive plan contains an energy conservation element.

13c. The greenhouse gas inventory has been expanded to include the entire community (not just the municipality) and a mitigation plan has been developed.

Green Buildings

14c. The municipality has reviewed ordinances, resolutions, and other policies to remove impediments to the use of alternative energy (wind, solar, geothermal) installations or green buildings.

Environmental Stewardship

Water Use, Conservation, and Quality

16a. The municipality utilizes a Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach (as described by EPA) to identify the municipality’s priorities for projects and includes a description of how the proposed priorities reflect the relative importance of adverse impacts on human health and water quality and the municipality’s financial capability.

16b. The municipality actively encourages water conservation and efficiency measures in the community and among businesses.

16c. Low impact development and onsite stormwater infiltration is encouraged.

16d. Water provider(s) prioritize improving service to existing developed areas as opposed to opening up new areas to development.

16e. Drinking water and sanitary sewer rates are based on the real cost of providing service.

16f. Sufficient investments are being made to the water, sewer, and stormwater systems per real costs and keeping pace with maintenance and operations.

16g. Cooperation is occurring with neighboring municipalities to manage water and sewer supply, treatment and distribution, sewage and stormwater, in the most cost-efficient way.

Air Quality

17a. PA State anti-idling law is enforced and compliance is promoted.

17e. The municipality and its municipal waste hauler service are exploring ways to reduce emissions from vehicles and trucks beyond anti-idling.

Green Infrastructure

18a. Policies, plans and ordinances protect wetlands and waterways and their buffers.

18b. Written policies exist and ordinances and incentives have been enacted to conserve environmentally and ecologically sensitive places (for example, slopes over 25%, slide prone soils and geology, springs and vernal pools, mature woodlands, Natural Heritage Areas, etc.) in order to protect public safety and natural resources while using green infrastructure for stormwater management.

18c. Low impact and green development projects, as well as techniques (pervious pavement, bioswales, cisterns, woodland and steep slope protection) are fostered through incentives, ordinances and design guidelines.

18d. Tree and woodlands protection and management policies are in place (for example, community forestry plan and canopy goal; tree planting programs; tree maintenance programs; Shade Tree Commission, tree hazard and health assessment projects; computerized assessment of municipal trees, Tree/woodland replacement criteria in ordinances, etc.)

18e. A natural resource inventory has been developed for the community within the last 7 years as part of the comprehensive plan.

18f. Sustainable landscape maintenance practices are in place for parks and municipal grounds.



19a. The zoning ordinance provides for or accommodates a full range of housing opportunities throughout the community.

19b. The comprehensive plan addresses the community benefits of and need for expanding housing choice.

19c. The zoning ordinance has inclusionary housing provisions/incentives.

19d. A program exists (perhaps in partnership with an outside agency) to facilitate home ownership: homebuyer incentives, employer-assisted housing, community land trust, etc.

Sustainable Neighborhoods

20a. A current inventory of vacant and blighted/blighting properties is maintained and mapped.

20c. The municipality has elected to administer and enforce PA's statewide Unified Construction Code (UCC).

20d. The municipality has adopted the International Property Maintenance Code within the last 6 years per good, safe rental housing.

20e. Staffing is in place sufficient to enforce building and maintenance codes.

Land Use and Transportation


21a. Trails for walking and bicycling are being developed or maintained.

21b. Alternate transportation (e.g. transit, inter-modal, multi-modal, bicycle/pedestrian) are accommodated and promoted.

21c. Public transportation and ride sharing are promoted and facilitated, as is transit-oriented development (where applicable).

21d. Bicycle lanes or shared roadways are being developed and a “Share the Road” education campaign is being advanced.

21e. Police are trained on the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and state law on passing bicycles.

21f. Traffic calming techniques, complete streets projects, access management and congestion management programs have been evaluated and are being implemented.


22a. Professional staff are employed or retained to manage the land use program.

22b. Comprehensive land use/development plan is current, addresses impacts to neighboring communities, and incorporates sustainability principles.

22c. A multi-municipal comprehensive plan has been adopted as has an official map.

22d. Up-to-date ordinances for zoning and subdivision/land development are in place to implement the comprehensive plan.

22e. The comprehensive plan and ordinances promote pedestrian-oriented, dense, walkable, mixed-use development (in existing and proposed development), and redevelopment in the core or town center.

22f. A Transfer Development Rights (TDR) program is in place to incentivize development where infrastructure currently exists and to protect important green space.

22g. Land use and development decisions are assessed to ensure they do not have negative fiscal, stormwater, traffic, infrastructure, or service demands, or quality of life impacts on neighboring municipalities.

Green Space

23a. The Comprehensive Plan identifies environmentally sensitive, ecologically significant, and civic/historic places.

23b. The Comprehensive Plan and ordinances protect farmland and/or promotes community gardens and infill green space.

23c. The Comprehensive Plan includes a parks/recreation and open space component with proposed passive or active greenways, parks and trails, and the zoning and subdivision ordinances support the vision.

23d. The greenspace/open space plan has benchmarks and results are reported annually to the public.

23e. The municipality has a PA Dept of Agriculture Agricultural Security Area (ASA).

Thriving Local Green Business

24b. Owners and tenants in the retail area are engaged with the municipality to provide attractive sidewalks, trees, and street furniture and make the area safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Material Use, Waste, and Recycling

25a. Waste and recycling ordinances and regulations are in compliance and enforced per Act 101, or if not a mandatory-Act 101 municipality, a municipal recycling program is conducted.

25b. There is a curbside and/or drop-off recycling program.

25c. The municipality contracts for solid waste collection as opposed to individual home owners contracting for the same.

25e. There is an active public informational program to encourage citizens to reduce waste and recycle.

25f. All municipal buildings have an active recycling program.

25i. Municipality has an active litter prevention/clean-up program.

25j. An expanded material recycling program is being advanced, i.e., e-waste, composting, pharmaceuticals, and household hazardous waste for community-wide collection.

25k. A community-wide recycling program is maintained at 5% above the state stipulated goal of 35 percent.

Other Sustainability Initiative

26a. Provide an on-line link to description of a sustainability innovation that the Municipal Manager/Secretary feels strongly is deserving of additional recognition and is not covered by any of the above criteria options. - Rock Springs Water Company Working Groups