Board of Supervisors
Lower Paxton Township is the 17th most populous municipality in
Pennsylvania with a 2010 census count of 47,360 people.
Most of Pennsylvania's townships possess much smaller populations
- usually less than 10,000 people. Although individual townships
may represent comparatively small municipal constituencies, townships
as a whole are the most common forms of municipal government in
Pennsylvania. The 1,457 townships of the second class represent
over half of the 2,566 municipal governments within the state.
Serving 35% of the state's population, townships generally encompass
rural areas and provide fewer governmental services than other forms
of municipal government.
FUNCTIONS OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT:
Townships like Lower Paxton are a specific form of local or municipal
government defined by an act of the state legislature known as the
Second Class Township Code. There are other forms of local
government in Pennsylvania, such as cities, boroughs, villages,
and home rule municipalities. There even exists one incorporated town,
of Bloomsburg, within our politically diverse commonwealth.
Further, some of these general municipal classifications are further
defined within specific operating categories. For example, Pennsylvania
possesses townships of both the first and second class, and several
classifications of cities.
Through their respective operating codes, municipalities are given
power to act for the good of society at large. As a municipal
government, townships have the ultimate responsibility for public
health, safety, and welfare, which may include police and fire protection,
emergency medical services, emergency management, highway maintenance
and codes enforcement. Townships may also provide other services,
such as parks and recreation, water and sewer service, and refuse
collection, in the furtherance of their legislated responsibilities.
Municipal government is an important factor in maintaining a suitable
quality of life within a community. Townships can promulgate
health and safety regulations to protect their citizens and often
have a role in enforcing state health and safety regulations.
This may be accomplished through the removal of nuisances, control
of noxious activities, regulation of building activities, control
of development through zoning and subdivision ordinances, animal
control, and other similar regulatory activities. Furthermore,
municipal government can influence the general appearance and desirability
of a community. This may be achieved through sponsorship or
encouragement of local cultural or recreational activities, such
as libraries, museums, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, community
centers, and senior citizen centers, as well as community based
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:
Three-member boards of supervisors govern Second Class Townships.
The term of office of a township supervisor is six years.
Responding to demands for additional representation in large townships,
the state legislature authorized expansion of boards to five members,
upon approval by the voters of the township through referendum.
Lower Paxton Township has voted to increase its board to five members.
To qualify to serve as a township supervisor an individual must
be a registered voter of and maintain residency within the township
during the term of office. Of course, these qualifications
are germane to most other local, state, and federal elected offices.
The Second Class Township Code places the general supervision of
the affairs of the township in the hands of the Board of Supervisors.
As such, supervisors are required to assume many of the roles found
in separate branches or levels of state and federal governments.
Specifically, supervisors serve in legislative, executive, and administrative
The Board of Supervisors serves as the legislative body of the
township, setting policy, enacting ordinances and resolutions, adopting
budgets and levying taxes. However, a supervisor's role as
a legislator is not confined solely to matters of public policy.
As elected officials, supervisors represent the township and its
concerns before other municipal governments, the state and federal
governments, and private sector entities.
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