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Whitehall recognized as a 'Banner Community'

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Whitehall Borough was one of 21 municipalities to be recognized as the Allegheny League of Municipalities 2013 “Banner Communities.” Dick Hadley, left, executive director of the league, and county executive Rich Fitzgerald, right, present Whitehall Councilwoman Kathy DePuy with a certificate, recognizing the borough as one of the “Banner Communities.”

Whitehall officials discussed framing the certificate and hanging it in the lobby of the municipal building.

They were proud of the recognition they received on April 2 — along with 20 other municipalities — naming Whitehall as one of the Allegheny League of Municipalities 2013 Banner Communities.

The program, in its first year, recognizes communities that use good practices and govern in an inclusive, collaborative way.

Program criteria included a requirement that local officials participate in educational or training programs and be an active member in a council of governments, participating in cooperative purchasing programs and shared municipal services, along with conducting effective communication with residents.

Whitehall officials are active in local and state multimunicipal organizations that promote cooperation between communities, said Councilwoman Kathy DePuy, who has participated in the Allegheny League of Municipalities, a nonprofit organization, for 22 years.

“You learn what's going on in other communities and you don't have to start over every time,” DePuy said. “You say, ‘Hey, this community is doing this well, why don't we do that?'”

Whitehall residents support their leaders' efforts to gain further knowledge that could help the borough by attending multi-municipal meetings, DePuy said.

“I've never, in 24 years, heard a resident say, ‘You shouldn't be going to all of these meetings,'” she said.

Being recognized as a “Banner” community, alongside municipalities that include Upper St. Clair, Collier Township, Munhall, Ross Township and Sewickley, helps get attention for the borough and showcases its amenities, DePuy said.

“Whitehall's something special,” DePuy said. “We do work together well. We don't always agree, but we put the borough ahead of our own agendas — what's good for the borough is better than what's good for me.”

Borough leaders work to keep residents informed, sending a colorful newsletter to each of the town's 6,600 homes twice a year.

“People keep it, or they keep part of it,” said DePuy, noting borough officials also are working to keep people informed through updates on the municipality's website.

Allegheny League of Municipalities executive director Richard Hadley praised the 21 Banner communities' work.

He said they all exhibit the characteristics of leadership and sound local-government principals.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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