Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Move to Eliminate Local Government

The Morning Call has an article on a Berks County State Representative who has written a bill, HB 2431, which would eliminate local government and consolidate it at the county level (read the article here).

I believe the further removed government is from the people, the less responsive and understanding of the people is the government.

Having paid reasonably close attention to local government over the past five years, I’ve seen first hand how officials respond. First, they often know the people who either raise an issue or make a comment. Second, they try to be practical taking into consideration not only how things ought to be, but also how they really are. Third, they have to live and interact with the decision they make on daily basis.

Moving from the level of a municipal government to a school district, which in the case of Nazareth covers three townships and three boroughs, there is a stark difference. The government at the school district level does what it wants. Anyone who has attended meetings at the school over a period of a year or more will attest to this fact.

Now imagine eliminating every borough and township in the county of Northampton and putting all municipal services, police protection, code enforcement, recreation, etc., into the hands of a single body, not to mention your tax dollars. Support of our library would be severely impacted as would community events such as Martin on Main, the Block Party, Nazareth Days, the many parades and other community activities all of which receive support and assistance from our local borough officials, workers, and police department.

If this is purely a budget move, then I’d suggest we first cut every service at the state level that is self-serving to the re-election of officials. The ‘private’ PADOT office continues to operate. We don’t really need to have all the mailings and printed materials stamped with officials names. We don’t really need to have citations and flags for all manner of constituents. And we really don’t need full-time officials. Think of how much money we’d save if we cut our state government to genuine part-time status with pay based on a 20 hour work week and no guaranteed pension. Then we’d be saving some money.

What do you think?

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker


Clem said...

For just one indicator, watch your comment count. You will realize that most, generally, do not care. I say this not to discourage your efforts, which are truly appreciated.

I say this as a matter of fact because, if I were wrong, we would not be in the mess that requires even consideration of such a solution.

I have stood in face of oppressive government, only to discover no one had my back. People are lazy and, more importantly, self-centered. They have come to believe that a 40K salary should net you only 28K and be subject to further erosion as you put that money back into the economy, as long as they can pawn off responsibility for almost everything on their keeper, the government.

NewsOverCoffee said...

I agree that people don't want to take the time to attend these meetings, and that is why this site is helpful.

Alerting people prior to something like this happening is what will make a difference. Consider the number of people that attended borough council meetings when they found out that council was looking to build an addition on to the park or build a new building altogether.

Since they found out before action was taken at a local level, they were able to impact the decision.

You can't do this at the school or state level, let alone federal.

Taking away the local level would be real bad and once its done people would appreciate what they once had.

Wayne said...


Great article. I too appreciate what you do here.

It's important to have someone that can give us a "heads-up" on what our local governments are up to. About a dozen years ago I regularly attended school board meetings and a few borough council meetings. I was there when we almost joined the regional police force and when the Essroc conveyor tunnel was an issue. It's hard to attend every meeting because they usually bore you to death. But it's important to know when an issue that will affect everyone is coming up for a vote.

The state proposal doesn't have a chance of going anywhere, IMHO.

Scott said...

To do away local govt an rely on higher level would be a disaster for small towns. Maybe we should start by getting rid of the guy who proposed this idea. Thanks for reporting this. Thanks for reporting this.