Jul 14, 2014

Pennsylvania Borough Code Overhauled

The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently overhauled the state’s Borough Code. House Bill No. 1719 (Act 37), will affect the 2.6 million Pennsylvanians who call a borough home, and the many others who work and shop in one of the Commonwealth’s 957 boroughs.

In a bid to be more transparent and user-friendly, Act 37 consolidates existing law relating to boroughs, making it easier for borough residents and lawmakers to understand the Borough Code. Boroughs are encouraged to electronically store adopted ordinances and must now store proposed ordinances in one location.

The law also makes some substantive changes to the Borough Code. The law recognizes that the economic health of Pennsylvania’s boroughs, which house nearly a quarter of the state’s population, is essential to the statewide economy. Borough councils can increase their operating reserve fund from 5 percent to 25 percent. Those funds, which can be pulled from the estimated revenues of the borough’s general fund, can be used to curb possible budget shortfalls and to safeguard the local economy.

Borough council members can now be paid for their service on borough boards, commissions, or agencies. The council can set hours for police officers and commit funds to recreation boards.

Act 37 also affects who can serve on a borough Council. It prohibits charter school trustees from serving. Police officers and firefighters who work for a municipality that has a contract to provide service to the borough are also excluded.

If you live, serve, or work in any of the state’s boroughs and have questions regarding Act 37, please contact a member of Eastburn and Gray’s Municipal Law practice group.

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