(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)
The city of Beaver Falls announced recently that they will have a question on Pennsylvania’s April primary that asks the following question:
- “Shall a government study commission of seven members be elected to study the existing form of government of the municipality, to consider the advisability of the adoption of a home rule charter and, if advisable, to draft and to recommend a home rule charter?”
In essence, the city council is allowing the people to vote on starting a commission to investigate the possibility of a switch from third class to home rule charter.
Beaver County Radio sat down with Beaver Falls Financial Manager Kevin Kunselman to discuss this possible change, and he said that the city itself has been looking into this change for some time:
The city’s initial investigation was spearheaded by a $70,000 state-awarded grant, which the city matched with 10%. With their knowledge, the city decided to make the move to place the ordinance on the April ballot.
Kunselman stated that one of the favorable parts of home-rule charter is the option for the city to shift a portion of the property tax collection towards locally earned income tax. Moving the unfair burden to the lower income earners which is currently disproportional for paying a higher percentage of their income than do higher wage earners. Kunselman, also said this will alllow for the opening of part-time positions in local departments:
The main goal, however, is to perhaps gain the power of home-rule charter in order to avoid the financial distress of Act 47, which Kunselman believes will take away power from the city and cause a fiscal burden for citizens.
As far as how the public can become involved, Kunselman had these dates available:
Anyone over the age of 18 and with 50 petition signatures (petitions can be found at the City Building) will be allowed to participate on the commission if it is voted on.