2010-07-29 / Front Page

Ayr Opposes Bills That Could Dissolve Twps.

Local tax committee chooses collector
By Jean Snyder
STAFF WRITER

On Monday evening Ayr Township became one of 177 other Pennsylvania townships to adopt a resolution opposing forced local government mergers and consolidations. The resolution was adopted to oppose state House Bill 2431 (HB2431) and Senate Bill 1357 (SB1357), both of which would set the stage for the elimination of some and the consolidation of others of the state’s more than 1,500 townships in the commonwealth,

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), which represents the commonwealth’s 1,455 townships of the second class and more than 10,000 local officials, strongly opposes HB2431, according to a press release issued in April of this year when the bill was introduced.

According to the PSATS press release, HB2431, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Caltagirone of Berks County, calls for a constitutional amendment to establish Pennsylvania’s 67 counties as the basic level of government. Under the plan, which could eliminate townships, cities, and boroughs, the counties would oversee all municipal operations, including roads, land use and zoning, sanitation, health and safety, and law enforcement. The bill was referred to the Local Government Committee in April of this year.

SB1357 would create a Boundary Review Commission; providing for municipal dissolutions, incorporations, annexations, mergers and consolidations; and making an appropriation. The bill was referred to the Local Government Committee in May of this year.

PSATS, the lobbying organization for the state’s townships, has urged all townships to sign the resolution opposing the two bills and to forward a copy of the legislation to state representatives and senators. While PSATS opposes both bills, the organization has gone on record saying it does not oppose mergers or consolidations where they make sense, but said also that the decision should be made at the local level and not by state government.

Ayr is the third Fulton County township to adopt the resolution. Both Bethel and Belfast townships have also voted to adopt the resolution.

In other business Monday evening, Supervisor Chairman “Sonny” Harr announced that the local Earned Income Tax Committee has voted to hire the Capital Tax Collection Bureau (CapTax) of Harrisburg to collect earned income taxes for all of the municipalities and school districts in Fulton County. Under Act 32, by 2012, all counties in the state must identify one tax collecting entity per county. Prior to this decision, taxes were being collected locally by both Berkheimer Associates and JP Harris Associates. According to both Harr, who serves as vice president of the committee, and Licking Creek Township secretary LuAnne Keebaugh, who serves as secretary/treasurer, the committee, composed of members from each township and each school district, heard presentations from Berkheimer, JP Harris, the Chambersburg Tax Bureau and Capital Tax Collection and ultimately voted to retain Capital. Keebaugh said that Act 32 requires that one collection entity be in place by 2012, but Keebaugh said pending a site visit to Capital, the county’s taxing entities will likely begin using Capital in 2011.

During other business, township secretary Denise Grissinger announced that 90 out of 177 septic systems have not yet been pumped. The deadline for pumping in the current pumping section is July 31, 2010. The supervisors decided that at the end of July, those with systems not pumped will be given a second notice that will allow for 30 additional days to pump. Following those 30 days, a further notice will be sent allowing 10 days, followed by a notice that if the system is not pumped within 72 hours, legal action will be taken and fines will be levied.

Also, during other business, Grissinger announced that the township received a payment of $9,386.14 to cover partial costs of snow removal for the February 2010 snowstorm. The payment was approved by both the state and federal emergency management agencies. The township’s total cost for snow removal for the storm was $12,514.85, according to Grissinger.

The supervisors also approved a 2010 payment of $495.50 to the Fulton County Parks and Recreation Commission. The supervisors voted earlier this year to end their membership in the commission effective at the end of 2010.

Plans for expansion of the local wastewater treatment plant were approved conditional upon the issuance of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

The Ayr Township supervisors meet the last Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the township building. Due to a schedule conflict, August’s meeting has been changed to Thursday, August 26, at 7:00 p.m.

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