In case you haven't noticed, it is election time. The local news channels bombard you with constant commercials expounding on the virtues and ambitions of the multiple candidates vying for open positions. As a member of the local government team, it behooves you to pay particular attention to how these candidates will be supporting local government – especially candidates for governor and the state House and Senate seats.
One of the plagues cast upon municipalities is the constant unfunded mandates that are placed upon them. In an effort for the state government to show cost-effectiveness, they sometimes pass the burden down the line. How will these candidates address unfunded mandates, and how will they support local governments that are struggling to meet them with limited revenues?
Speaking of revenues, how will each candidate approach taxation? After all, reducing a tax or implementing a new one can dramatically affect your budget. Just take a look at the gas tax that funds your liquid fuels account each year. This money is used for roads and bridges in your community. However, with the continued growth in popularity of EV (electric vehicles), I think in the not-too-distant future, this fund as it stands will have to undergo significant changes to keep up with the times. EVs cause wear and tear on local roads just as much as gasoline-burning, internal combustion engine vehicles. But as more EVs are on the road, there’s less gasoline being purchased, which means less gas tax revenue to the state. Where will the money to fix our roads and bridges come from if the Commonwealth isn't collecting at the fuel pump anymore? What positions have the candidates taken on these important local government issues?
The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) are closely monitoring these issues and do a great job of keeping their members well informed. As a township manager, I regularly visited their websites and reached out personally to their administrative teams to gain a better understanding of current events. You can bet that they are keeping a close eye on the candidates and monitoring their positions in relation to local government operations.
This week, you have the opportunity to choose your nominees for who will be on the ballot in November. But don’t wait until the fall to get active on these issues. It’s important that the nominees chosen this week reflect – as closely as possible – not just your personal beliefs but also your positions on issues that matter to you as a local government professional. Because it’s true what they say: “All politics is local.”
The team at KMS won't advise you on politics. What we can do is help you navigate the multitude of rules and regulations that your municipality must follow in order to stay compliant with your operation in the Commonwealth, no matter who is at the helm. If you need to recruit a new manager, bring onboard an interim manager during a transitional period, conduct professional training for a manager, or are ready to implement a Strategic Management Planning Program, the team at KMS stands ready to assist. Our depth of experience in municipal management is our strongest asset.
Don’t let all those nasty campaign ads keep you from the polls this week. There are important issues that matter to your local government. Make sure your voice is heard.
It's time to "fire this thing up" and hit the voting booth with a bright future in mind.
About the Author
David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 32 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at email@example.com. To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.