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Inter-municipal agreements could save taxpayers money

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Solicitor Timothy Witt of Watson, Mundorff, Brooks and Sepic informed those attending the G7 Summit how inter-municipal agreements could save taxpayers money.

“There are two different types of inter-municipal agreements,” Witt explained to the group. “There are informal agreements and formal agreements.”

Witt said agreements based on verbal or even written contracts are considered informal inter-municipal agreements.

“For it (agreement) to be fully enforceable, it needs to be supported with an ordinance,” Witt said. “The agreement must be approved, passed and confirmed by an ordinance.”

The municipalities that participated in past summits, like Connellsville, Everson, Mt. Pleasant, South Connellsville and Scottdale, have shared different services and equipment over the years. All agreed the system is working for all concerned, while also saving taxpayers and municipalities money. New to the summit are Youngwood and New Stanton boroughs.

“We have a duty to provide services for our constituents and to get aid when we need it,” Scottdale Councilman Bud Santimyer said.

John Storey Jr., Youngwood Borough public works supervisor, said that each municipality shares the same objective.

“Everyone here has the same goal and that is to help the residents,” Storey said.

The session also covered who is liable when and if a borrowed piece of equipment is damaged and who would be in charge if agreements are in place.

“I suggest to all of you that you form a committee that will consist of members of each counsel who will meet and discuss these agreements,” Witt said, adding that each committee member could then take back the recommendations to each of their own municipalities for review. “It would also be a good idea to put someone or some municipality in charge. This would keep all the municipalities on the same page.”

Witt said that inter-municipal agreements have proven to be very successful and can include such services as parks and recreations, purchasing, auctions, code enforcements, economic planning, recycling and fire departments.

The sharing of equipment for street repairs and town maintenance have been carried out successfully in some boroughs.

“What is great is that this whole concept is of no cost to the taxpayers,” said Jeff Landy, Mt. Pleasant Borough manager and event co-coordinator.

“We've already saved money doing this,” Scottdale Borough Manager Angelo Pallone said of the shared services.

The municipalities decided to further explore inter-municipal agreements.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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