Senate Local Government Committee Votes to Update County Code, Municipal Advertising Rules

HARRISBURG – The Senate Local Government Committee has reported to the full Senate two bills aimed at improving local government operations, said Sen. Cris Dush (R-25), chairman of the committee.

Senate Bill 831, sponsored by Dush, is the product of a multi-year effort by the Local Government Commission (LGC) to update Pennsylvania’s County Code and convert it into consolidated statute form for insertion into Title 16. 

While the bill is substantively identical to The County Code, there are several changes that will be incorporated in the Title 16 language, including such things as:

  • Authorizing county commissioners, with the approval of the respective officers, to provide additional space outside the county seat for the auditors, commissioners, controller, treasurer or recorder of deeds;
  • Authorizing county commissioners, with the approval of the respective officers and the president judge, to furnish additional space outside the county seat for the sheriff, prothonotary, clerk of courts, clerk of orphan’s court, register of wills or district attorney;
  • Clarifying that nothing in The County Code precludes the use of electronic bidding by a county as authorized in Chapter 46 (Electronic Bidding by Local Government Units) of Title 62 (Procurement);
  • Removing restrictions on counties of the 7th and 8th class from making annual appropriations to a paid municipal fire department or volunteer fire company located in the county for the purchase, maintenance and repair of firefighting equipment; and
  • Making clarifications regarding provisions affecting county controllers (on which the LGC worked with the Pennsylvania State Association of County Controllers).

“This consolidation helps the counties to be better able to understand the law and easier for county solicitors to review and advise the counties on the law.  It will reduce legal fees for the counties as a result,” said Dush.  “When the legislature needs to make changes to the County Code this will also assist us in drafting legislation because we won’t have to ensure we are not fixing something in the consolidated statute while being contradictory in the unconsolidated law.”

The committee also approved House Bill 2148, sponsored by Rep. Brett Miller (R-41), to protect municipalities, school boards and municipal authorities from a newspaper’s failure to advertise a municipal notice.

HB 2148 would allow a municipality that properly submits an advertisement to a newspaper of general circulation and simultaneously also posts the same on their municipal website to count the municipal website advertising as having met the legal advertising requirements in the case when a newspaper fails to print the advertisement in a timely fashion.

CONTACT:    Zack Ankeny

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