As we get near the end of 2022, it is time for local municipalities in Pennsylvania to begin thinking about everything that needs to be accomplished before the calendar flips to 2023. Four of the major items that every municipality needs to accomplish before the end of the year are the passage of a budget, adoption of a tax resolution or ordinance, making necessary appointments or re-appointments to boards and commissions, and advertisement of meetings for the following year.
- Once a tentative budget has been ironed out, the board or council must approve advertisement of that tentative budget. This action normally takes place at a November meeting of the municipality. The advertisement containing the notice that the tentative budget may be examined by the public must appear in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality more than ten (10) days prior to the proposed adoption date in a borough, or at least twenty (20) days prior to the proposed adoption date in a township of the second class. The budget must then be adopted by a majority vote of the governing board or council at meeting of the municipality no later than December 31.
- In conjunction with the annual budget, a municipality must also adopt a tax ordinance or resolution. In Pennsylvania boroughs, if the tax rate is to stay the same or be reduced, the Borough Council must adopt a resolution adopting that rate. If the tax rate is to increase, the Borough Council must adopt an ordinance setting the new tax rate. This ordinance must be advertised at least seven (7) days prior to adoption. In townships of the second class, regardless of whether the tax rate is being reduced, staying the same, or being increased, the Board of Supervisors may adopt the tax rate via resolution. A tax ordinance or resolution is normally adopted at the same meeting as the budget, although it does not have to be as long as it is adopted by December 31.
- The end of the year is also the time to think about any appointments or re-appointments to boards and commissions that operate in the municipality. In general, these appointments should be done via resolution, and the resolution should include, at a minimum, the position, the start and end dates of the term, and if the new appointee is filling an unexpired term. This will all help with record keeping in the future, especially on boards and commissions that have members with staggered terms.
- Meetings for the upcoming year should also be advertised prior to the end of the year. The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act requires that all regular municipal and committee meetings be advertised at least three days in advance of the first meeting of the year. Because of the cost of advertising, it is prudent to advertise all of these meetings at one time, and not have to worry about it for the full calendar year.
While the items above represent the major boxes for municipalities in Pennsylvania to check off before the end of the year, the nuances of how each municipality conducts business may mean there are other items that need to be taken care of. As always, the attorneys of CGA Law Firm’s municipal group are ready and willing to assist your municipality to ensure it enters the new year properly prepared to continue serving its citizens.
Evan M. Gabel
Shareholder | Attorney
Evan M. Gabel provides legal services to individuals, businesses, and local municipalities. His practice is focused in the areas of municipal law, business and corporate law, real estate law, and estate planning and administration.
He has extensive experience representing municipal authorities, townships, and boroughs, as well as small business entities throughout Southcentral Pennsylvania. Evan also assists clients in both residential and commercial real estate matters, and with their estate planning and administration needs.
Read Evan’s Bio Page in full HERE.