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A good article in the 10/19/2019 edition of the Intelligencer about why you should care about local elections (like this year).




The 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.  Municipalities 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.

Municipalities can 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 education and cultural activities, such as libraries, fairs and festivals, and concerts.

Municipal governance in Plumstead Township is by a five-member Board of Supervisors.


The Role of the Board of Supervisors

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 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.

In short, township supervisors are elected to serve their residents and taxpayers by deciding issues of public safety, spending, growth management, zoning, roads and streets, code enforcement, environment and how to pay for all of it.


(Source: The Township Supervisors Handbook; 2015)