Boro Council Objects To Consolidation
McConnellsburg Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution last Wednesday evening opposing two bills currently under consideration that could force 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 and more than 900 boroughs.
According to published reports, 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.
On August 17, the committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 1357. The next day, August 18, the committee will discuss House Bill 2431, which calls for a constitutional amendment to establish counties as the basic level of government in Pennsylvania.
The State Association of Boroughs and of Township Supervisors strongly oppose both bills. McConnellsburg Borough joins Bethel, Belfast, Ayr and Dublin townships in opposing the legislation being considered.
While neither association has said it opposes mergers and consolidations, both believe that it should be done at the local level by a majority of voters and not forced upon the boroughs and townships by state government.
During other business, council members reviewed the insurance estimate for the Fulton House and reported that the replacement cost of the building (not including its contents) is set at $1,195,085. Borough secretary Jack Fields reported the cash value of the policy is set at $925,000.
Also during other business, council voted to send paperwork regarding the police pension fund to the police pension actuary to be completed. The letter said that under Act 205 of 1984, certain information must be provided regarding the administration of the pension fund. Council members determined that their actuary would have the information that must be provided.
The council voted to extend the county’s lease of the parking lot adjacent to the Fulton Theatre through September. County court is currently being held in the theater pending the completion of renovations to the county court- house.
Council members also voted to buy a one-half page ad in the Chamber of Commerce’s golf tournament program.
There was also a discussion of how to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in the amount of $50,000 for work on the borough’s sidewalks.
It was announced that the fall bulky item pickup will be on Friday, September 24. Items should be placed curbside on Thursday evening for pickup.
In what was a very brief meeting, council also held a general discussion on bicycles on the sidewalk and on various trash collection companies picking up trash in the borough. No action was taken on any of the discussion.
During regular business, council approved payment of July bills in the amount of $26,338.28. Receipts for the same period were $29,061.29. Checks were written for $45,616.77, leaving an August 1 balance of $49,563.16.
Council members present for the meeting were Travis Bard, David Washabaugh, Pat Booth, Pat Frazier, Mack Shaffer and Mayor Mike Chilcote.
Council meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Fulton House. In order to accommodate schedules, the September meeting has been changed from September 1 to Wednesday, September 8.