Municipal Consolidation Bill Stirring Discussions in State Capitol

The municipal consolidation bill, introduced by State Representative Tom Caltagirone earlier this year, has been fueling discussions recently within Harrisburg about how to best address the problems faced by fiscally-strapped municipalities. In the last few days, several legislators have considered the bill’s merits and its timeliness. After all, many of the Commonwealth’s municipalities are taking drastic measures to cut costs and avoid tax hikes. Municipal finance experts have warned us about the looming pension crisis for some time now, and the cost for maintenance and basic upkeep of our cities, boroughs and townships keeps rising.

Rep. Caltagirone’s bill (House Bill 2431) “calls for eliminating city, township and borough governments, and rolling them all into a county-run hybrid,” WFMZ reports. But the bill certainly has its critics:

Municipalities have lined up to denounce the bill, saying it would eliminate identities and create a government the likes of a big corporation. “I think local government works,” said David Sanko, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association Of Township Supervisors.

More than a dozen municipalities in Berks, and even more in surrounding counties have already adopted resolutions against House Bill 2431. “I think the larger the community becomes, the more difficult it is to stay in touch with your residents,” Sanko said, “just because of sheer volume.”

How should struggling municipalities deal with declining tax bases? What other solutions exist for this problem? Gerry Cross of the Pennsylvania Economy League, Central Division, will cover all of this and more in his informal talk on Municipal Finance at the upcoming RenewLV brown-bag session, held on Friday, August 27, 12pm (noon ) to 1:15. Come out to the Sigal Museum, new home of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society [342 Northampton Street in Easton, map] and be a part of the discussion. For more information, visit our past blog post.

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 August 20, 2010, in Events, Media Coverage, Municipal Government, Public Infrastructure, Regions, Trends and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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