Regional Governance Bill Gaining Attention

The Patriot News reported yesterday on a bill introduced by State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone that proposes to merge many of Pennsylvania’s municipalities together — essentially moving the system of governance from the municipal level to the county level. While many are saying that the bill will not stand a chance in passing through the legislature (it barely had any co-sponsors when the story broke yesterday), some are calling it a much-overdue piece of legislation.

The bill is certainly in favor of regional collaboration. The counties would absorb all municipal governance — meaning there would only be a countywide-structure of governance. While the bill may not seem popular within Harrisburg, many commentators at the Patriot News lauded it as a good idea, stating that the current system is “making the residents of the Commonwealth go broke.” One commentator stated: “The model is right next door in Maryland. They have county centered government, and they seem to do very well in managing their affairs.”

The Express Times editorial staff came out in support of the bill in today’s paper, stating:

The first step is to admit local government has a problem in structure. Then begin tying like-minded communities together, to see how government can work without giving up local voices. It’s not as if we’re rebuilding a society, as in Iraq or Afghanistan, where sectarian violence is the norm. Our system already works, just in a grossly inefficient way.

Personally, I become overwhelmed just looking at a map of Pennsylvania’s municipalities. The map below is featured in the Brookings report Back to Prosperity, A Competitive Agenda for Renewing Pennsylvania (which, as some of you know, was the impetus for RenewLV).

Is this really efficient?

Of course, convincing municipalities to give up local control will be difficult. But this bill takes a step in the right direction by creating a dialogue about this important matter. And the legislation does not call for municipalities to give up their local culture and charm. It merely examines an antiquated system of governance and asks “Can’t we do better?”

If you’re interested in the topic of municipal governance and would like to stay up to date on this matter, please take a second to sign up for RenewLV’s E-mail list by visiting our Join Us page. And please post your thoughts on this matter below. I would love to hear what the community has to say about this legislation.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on April 29, 2010, in About RenewLV, Media Coverage, Municipal Government, Neighborhoods, Regions, Trends, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree… long overdue!

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