York and Adams Smart Growth Coalition

Municipal Cooperation: A “No-Brainer”

Who doesn’t think that it’s a good idea for multiple municipalities to work together to achieve cost savings, improved services, better efficiencies and better land use planning?  Due to our multiplicity of municipalities in Pennsylvania (72 in York County alone!), it’s a concept frequently discussed and it seems to be a no-brainer that such cooperation is a good practice for York County. The York/Adams Regional Smart Growth Coalition advocates for it and YorkCounts has made regional municipal land use planning one of its 30 ready solutions.  

There is, however, a perception in our community that our municipalities are not cooperating.   We have heard time and again from citizens who either write letters to the editor or ask in casual conversation why municipalities are not working with one another and can’t they do more to save tax payer dollars?
 
As part of the Smart Growth Coalition’s advocacy efforts for regional planning we held town hall discussions across York County with our elected municipal officials.  One item that became very clear from all of our municipal representatives is municipalities are cooperating with one another in many ways that most taxpayers do not see.  We thought we would take the opportunity to highlight some of the success stories of municipal cooperation in our community:
  • Red Lion, Yoe and Dallastown Boroughs began the process of developing a tri-borough joint comprehensive plan in the spring of 2010.
  •  Windsor Township and Windsor Borough have also recently completed a joint comprehensive plan.
  • ·Lower Windsor Township and Windsor Township’s highway department help each other out with road work in the summer. They both have small crews so when there is a big job they work with one another to save the costs of hiring additional employees.
  • Dover Township and Dover Borough have a joint comprehensive plan, bulk sale of water, cooperative street sweeping, joint recreational programming and joint paving and materials bidding with Dover Area School District.
  • Springettsbury Township is taking the lead this year on a large consortium of municipalities for line painting bids. 
  • North Codorus Township, Jackson Township, Manheim Township, Penn Township and New Freedom Borough have a verbal agreement to share equipment and manpower.   For example, Manheim Township owns a paver, North Codorus Township owns the trailer to pull the paver to different job sites. 
  • A large number of municipalities have joined together to form a Cable Franchise Negotiations Consortium
  • Municipalities have banned together for bulk energy purchasing, medical, dental, vision and prescription cooperative as well as a worker’s compensation pool
  • Municipalities have taken of purchasing of gasoline and diesel fuels through county contracts
  • North Codorus Township, Penn Township, Manheim Township and Jackson Township jointly purchased crack sealing material saving hundreds of dollars by ordering a truckload of material vs. individual skids. 
  • The Capital Region Council of Government in the northern part of York County municipalities work together with bids, contract, zoning boards and issues and other projects.
  • Spring Garden Township and Springettsbury Township have merged their two paid fire departments into York United Fire Company.
  • York County has four regional police departments in which municipalities share police coverage.Dallastown Borough and Red Lion Borough shared on the purchase of a street sweeper and share the upkeep costs.
  • Dallastown Borough owns a crack sealing machine, which they have loaned to Red Lion Borough and Hellam Borough, and in turn received manpower to help on a street project.
  • Dallastown Borough is part of the planning of the MA & PA Greenway, which will be built in 7 other communities as well; some funding has been   received for the study and other grant applications is under way.
  • Dallastown Borough is reviewing the possibility of purchasing a camera system jointly with their fire dept.
  • Dallastown Borough uses Yoe Borough's leaf vac and inturn collects Yoe's leaves since they have very limited man power.
  • Shrewsbury Borough is part of the regional library system as are many other municipalities.
  • Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Glen Rock, New Fredom Borough and Railroad Borough are part of the Southern York County Regional Planning Commission which spearheaded a regional comprehensive plan that was adopted last year.  
  

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