PSATS President: ‘Townships May Have To Fight For Survival’

Potter County Today

A leading advocate for local government in Pennsylvania called on township officials from across Potter County to join in a fight to protect their municipalities. John Haiko, present of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), was a surprise guest speaker at Saturday’s 81st annual convention of the Potter County Association of Township Officials, held at Potato City Country Inn.

“We’re asking everyone in this room to join us in a very important battle to protect and preserve township government,” said Haiko. He detailed some of the legislation introduced in the state legislature to consolidate township governments, including one measure that would require any township with fewer than 400 residents to be dissolved. Another bill would eliminate all townships and extend the jurisdiction of county governments.

“Consolidation might make sense in some areas,” Haiko pointed out, “but it’s nothing that should be mandated by the state government. If two or more townships want to merge, that’s a decision that should be made at the township level by the people who would be affected.” Supervisors, tax collectors, secretaries and other township officials in attendance were asked to contact senators and representatives in opposition to mandatory consolidation.

“Rather than big government telling the townships what to do, I sometimes think we’d be better off if it were the other way around,” Haiko said. “At the township level, we have proven that we can live within our means. We’ve already learned how to do more with less.”

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