Beaver Falls Home Rule Charter Study
We are a group of your elected peers tasked with:
studying our city's current and possible future government structures,
proposing an efficient and transparent way forward
in an effort to grow and prosper the City of Beaver Falls
What are we doing, and why is it important?
The fact is that in older rust belt cities like Beaver Falls, population has reduced since their heyday and municipal revenue has stagnated. But just like for every individual, family, and business everywhere, costs to provide services and operate the government have still risen: insurance, payroll, supplies, services, and materials all continue to increase in price.
Beaver Falls is a financially distressed community, and needs to change some key things about how it functions in order to succeed. The City has taken every step possible to improve its operations and future, and the leadership of the City has asked for help from its constituents. The residents responded to this call for help by electing to study a new possible form of government, and at the same time, elected Commissioners to do so, and to offer up a recommendation for the ballot in November, 2021.
The Third Class City Code that Beaver Falls is governed by is an old, outdated way of running cities, and it is controlled by the State legislature. Pennsylvania recognizes that and has suggested to cities like ours that we take control of our own future by studying and instituting Home Rule Charter as an alternative form of government. Home Rule is modern, streamlined, and efficient. It allows us to diversify revenue, reducing the ever-increasing burden on our homeowners and spreading it fairly over a wider base. It allows us to put checks and balances in place, get professional help to oversee city functions, and to enact limits on tax increases and scope of powers.
This Study Commission meets twice monthly, with help and oversight from an outside consultant and a representative of the State of PA.
Here's the process we have followed:
As part of a larger strategic plan presented by outside consultants, Home Rule Charter was suggested as a way to modernize, streamline, and save the economic future of Beaver Falls.
On the November 2019 ballot, the citizens of Beaver Falls elected to study Home Rule Charter as a possible form of government, and on the same ballot, chose peers to complete the task.
The Commissioners, along with a grant-funded consultant and a state professional, learned what Home Rule is, what Third Class City Code is, and looked at examples around the state.
We interviewed the staff and some elected officials in the City, including City Manager, Mayor, Councilors, Police & Fire Chiefs to understand how any changes would affect them, and how we can support them. We also interviewed officials from other cities that have been through it.
After months of research, discussion, and deliberation, the Commission decided to move forward with recommending a Home Rule Charter, and to start writing one.
With lots of legal help and advice from our consultants and state employee, we are writing a rough draft of a charter to offer to our fellow constituents. It will be filed with the Board of Elections, and a question will be placed on the November 2021 ballot.
After writing the charter, the Commission will host events and communicate in as many ways as possible to answer questions, receive feedback, and educate the puublic about this effort.
We the residents of Beaver Falls voted YES on the November ballot!
An transition committee will work on helping the City smoothly make the change between state-run Third Class City Code and the accepted citizen-written Charter.
The new Charter will take effect January 1, 2022!
Thank you for voting YES !