Transition to home-rule government in Carlisle will take time

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 27, 2015 1:02 PM

(Carlisle) -- A Cumberland County borough is moving to a new kind of government, but it's going to be long transition.

Under home-rule, approved by voters by an 18 point margin last week, Carlisle's Borough Council will shrink, voters will no longer pick a tax collector, and citizen referendums and initiatives will be allowed.

But none of those changes go into effect immediately.

The home-rule charter starts January of next year, and the mayor will lose oversight of the police department at that time.

Current Mayor Tim Scott says he doesn't mind.

"In these modern times, it doesn't make any sense for the borough manager to be in charge of all the departments besides the police deparment. It's 40 percent of our budget, it's where most of our tax dollars go behind salaries," he says.

"Voters will have more of a voice in their government because the elected officials will be term-limited. There's an opportunity for citizen initiated referendums, which is something we don't have under the borough code. If you're a person that likes to be involved with decisions that are made at the local level, this is a great move for you."

Borough council will not lose a member until 2018.

Scott views home-rule as a good move for Carlisle, and says the changes shouldn't affect any borough services.

Borough Council is also required to develop administrative and purchasing codes, plus ethics guidelines.

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