County vs. Borough/Township
Posted: 07 September 2005 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Alex,

We’re originally from Md.  We love living up here, blah blah blah. 

But, I’ve often wondered, with so many people complaining about police and school issues, how come things aren’t handled by York Co.?  Obviously if it were, school and police issues would stink equally for us all, not just for those that live in the township, (I live in the borough).  But I would think instead of having a million little ‘small town police forces’, one larger, Country police force would be able to cover all areas equally, instead of being conentrated in the little boroughs, which I would think covers less people.

Just been curious about that.

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Posted: 07 September 2005 10:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I will be writing a topic on this shortly but here is the gist of it…

PA relies on municipal governments. This means Townships and Boroughs (and Cities). There are over 1500 of these local governments. The county exists for a few things such as prison, courts, elections, planning, coronor, etc. There is no county wide police force or government that makes the laws for the county.

Schools are broken up into 501 districts throughout the state (67 counties by the way). Police coverage starts with the State Police, but some areas have opted to go with their own police or form regional forces (Southern or York Regional come to mind).

We currently have a crude county police force - the State Police barracks in Loganville. You can see how good a job they do covering our area…

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Posted: 08 September 2005 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for the breakdown.  However, I think if we got rid of, or combined all the little municipality police forces into one larger county wide police force, it wouldn’t be so bad.  The State Police are just that, they’re not County police.  Even though they’re stationed in the county.

Again, I live in the borough, so it doesn’t affect me as much as those in the townships.  But it seems that it’s a big gripe for those outside the boroughs.  In my opinion, it would be better to have one uniformed force county wide than a million little independent ones, each with its’ own way of doing things.

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Posted: 08 September 2005 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When PA was founded the thought was to keep government as close to the people as possible.  I don’t know for sure, but this is likely a result of the Quaker religion.  Small close knit communities governing themselves.

I am on the fence about how close control should be.  I agree that there are many things that, in our more homogeneous society, would better serve the public.  In particular a county police force, public works department, and road crews.

I do like the closeness of zoning and building issues.  I have watched Fairfax and now Loudoun Counties, in Virginia explode over the last 15 years or so.  It is a direct result of county planning commission and politicians bowing to large developers.  I like the fact that my neighbors run our government and that they are effected by the same issues that we all are.

I think that local school boards are good and bad.  Take what is going on in Dover School District, the local population has elected people that want to change the way evolution has a strangle hold on the science curriculum.  As difficult as it is for them it would be 100 times harder under a county system.  The bad is the redundancy of school official salaries and services.  Iím am not sure which side I fall on here?

Overall, I guess that I would like to keep the present system, working within it.

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Posted: 08 September 2005 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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To Dadrick:

You are right about Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. I lived in Prince William (Manassas) from 94-00 and Loudoun (Leesburg) from 00-02. What I saw made me sick of the governing officials. They subdivided all their land just before passing very strict development laws. Granted, the curbs were needed, but doing what they did was underhanded.

Would a local mish mash been better? Maybe, but you would end up with Townships that over develop amongst those that curb it. Plus it is harder for a small township to defend itself against corporate giants (look at Wal-Mart in Windsor Township right now).

Redundancy in schools is bad. I don’t think the county would be a bad level to manage it on. It would save a fortune. As far as what to teach, leave that up to the State since they mandate the requirements today anyway. There should not be interpretation going on by closed door groups.

What the Dover board did was irresponsible. They knew there would be a legal fight. They intentionally made the move knowing they had free representation. But there will still be costs. If nothing else, just the time wasted litigating. They could have held an open debate and put it out for vote.

I like local control of zoning still. It gives us some say in our future. I just wish the state would quit meddling with local control and quit trying to take away with things like ACRE. In it’s original form, we would have had no control at all regarding large agricultural operations. We might not now either but the law has less teeth.

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Posted: 14 June 2009 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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See I really disagree here.  I think local control is better.  Schools aren’t cheaper in MD, the money just goes to another place and frankly I don’t think the schools are run as well in MD as they are here locally. 

If anyone is interested in a discussion on PA’s political and tax structure, Southern York County Podcast released an episode called “Local Taxes in PA”.  It is pretty enlightening as to what the state is allowed to do and what it cannot and a discussion regarding the alternatives.  If it is not under “Recent Programs” on the homepage above, the audio CD can be checked out of the Mason Dixon Library in Stewartstown or the Paul Smith Library in Shrewsbury.

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