Commissioners to join multi-governmental group

August 09, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Board of Commissioners agreed Thursday to become part of a group forming to promote countywide partnerships.

Commissioner Bob Thomas has been serving as the county liaison since local officials began discussing a Council of Governments last fall.

The council is still in its formative stage, but officials hope it ultimately will meet quarterly and serve as a forum for officials from across the county to get up to speed on issues that could affect multiple municipalities.


Informal meetings have been held every four to six weeks since November, Thomas said.

At least seven municipalities in addition to the county have already voted to join the council, including the Borough of Chambersburg and Quincy, Antrim, Greene, Hamilton, St. Thomas and Washington townships.

The proposal is under consideration by the other 15 municipalities and six school districts in the county.

County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said joining the council is another way in which the county has sought out partnerships with other boards.

"The county has been an active participant in regional efforts. The success of the recently announced construction of the Public Safety Training Center is evidence of the power of partnerships," he said.

He was referring to the $1.2-million center in Guilford Township that the county's 22 municipalities helped fund by pledging $1 per resident for a total of $130,000. The county commissioners allocated a matching $130,000.

Organizers hope the council will help secure grants for multi-municipal projects from the state and various private foundations.

"A current issue is the state building code plan, which must be implemented by all municipalities," Thomas said.

Some feel the requirement may be a problem for some smaller townships that don't have the population or growth to support building inspectors of the own.

The couincil would be the ideal place to talk about the county's general recreation needs, rather than handling them on a township-by-township basis, Thomas said.

"We need to be at the table or involved in any discussions that will be helpful to our residents or that will provide better or more efficient government," Commissioner Cheryl Plummer said.

The council will not have the authority to spend any municipality's money, and no municipality will lose any authority, Thomas said.

Thomas will serve as the county's voting delegate on the council through the end of the year. At the beginning of each year the commissioners reconsider their appointments to various boards.

The Council of Governments will next meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Chambersburg School Administration Building.

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