Board of Supervisors
The Board of Supervisors meet at 7 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the each month. View calendar of township meetings
Role of Municipal Government
Local government has two primary roles. It provides services for its residents that the private sector cannot or will not provide and it enacts and enforces rules for the good of the community as a whole.
The General Assembly, Pennsylvania’s state legislature, created different types of local governments and gave each specific responsibilities and the authority to carry out these responsibilities. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the General Assembly may create and abolish local governments. The legislature may also expand the responsibilities or
powers of any type of local government or take away a responsibility or power of a local government through the passage of new state law. As a rule, a local government only possesses those powers expressly granted, or fairly implied, by state law.
In Pennsylvania, every citizen lives in a school district, a county, and a municipality. School districts are charged with providing basic education. The county is charged with elections, social services, the court system, prisons, and property assessment. The county also performs emergency management, including 911 center operation, and land use planning. Some counties own bridges or roads and many own and operate parks.
Municipalities, which include townships of the first and second class, boroughs, cities, home rule municipalities, and a town, are primarily responsible for public infrastructure, including roads and bridges, sidewalks, and sewer and water systems. Municipalities are also the primary providers of public safety services, including emergency management and response, and police, fire, and ambulance service.
Municipalities are responsible for enforcing state environmental protection regulations through sewage management, as well as stormwater runoff and floodplain management. Many municipalities elect to provide trash collection and recycling services for their residents.
The General Assembly has given municipalities the ability to plan for the future of their communities through land use tools. With these tools, a community can plan how and where it wants to grow and develop into the future through a comprehensive plan and administer and enforce this plan through its subdivision and land development and zoning ordinances.
Municipalities can improve the attractiveness of their community through property maintenance regulations and control of nuisances, and provide for the quality of life for their citizens through recreational opportunities, such as parks and playgrounds, and educational and cultural activities, such as libraries, fairs and festivals, and concerts.
The Intergovernmental Cooperation Act authorizes local governments to cooperate to provide a service jointly. Many municipalities work with other municipalities, the county, or their school district to provide better services to their residents or reduce the cost of services. Frequently cited examples of cooperation include joint purchasing, road maintenance, code enforcement, police services, and recreation. See Chapter IX of the Township Supervisors handbook for a more detailed discussion of this issue
Role of the Board of Supervisors
Section 607 of the Second Class Township Code charges the board of supervisors with the general governance of the township and gives the board both legislative and executive powers. As such, the board of supervisors combines many of the roles found in separate branches of the state and federal governments. The board exercises its legislative functions by setting policy, enacting ordinances, adopting budgets, and levying taxes. The board also performs all executive
functions such as formulating the budget, providing for ordinance enforcement, approving expenses, and hiring and overseeing employees.
It is important to note that the Township Code vests all authority and responsibility for the township in the board of supervisors, not the individual elected township supervisors. Election to the office of township supervisor authorizes that individual to participate as a voting member at meetings of the board of supervisors. The board of supervisors exercises its authority through affirmative action of a majority of the entire board at legally advertised meetings that are open to the public. It is the board of supervisors, through majority action, that is the decision-maker in all township matters. As such, any township supervisor must first receive authorization from the board of supervisors before proceeding to act on behalf of the township.
The Township Code gives the board of supervisors’ flexibility to determine how a particular township will operate on a day-to-day basis. Small townships may not have a formal department structure or may only have a road or public works department. In addition to public works, large townships will often have separate departments for parks and recreation, police, code enforcement, finance, and water and/or sewer service, usually overseen by an appointed township manager. The organization of each township is based on local needs and is determined by the board of supervisors.