At a business in Ligonier, I was asked about a petition to put a referendum on the ballot to increase the Ligonier Township Board of Supervisors from three to five members. After some research, I have found the only township in the Westmoreland County Association of Township Supervisors that has five supervisors is Hempfield.
Hempfield Township has more than 41,000 residents, as opposed to Ligonier Township's 6,973; more than 50 employees, as opposed to Ligonier Township's 21, which includes a police department, something Hempfield does not have; and 219 miles of roads, as opposed to Ligonier Township's 96. The real kicker is Hempfield has a budget of over $12.5 million, as opposed to Ligonier Township's $2.036 million. This is still a lot of money for a small-town budget, but when you figure the level of services provided for the dollar, it is a pretty good deal.
Early this spring, I was approached by a proponent of this petition as to what I thought of this form of government, with none of the supervisors being a roadmaster. I expressed my concerns that it would not only be more expensive, as the Second Class Township Code provides that each supervisor be compensated for meetings, conferences, training and any wages lost for attending if the supervisor is not a township employee. Under the township's current makeup, the person getting the work done is the same person you speak to at township meetings.
Adding this new level of bureaucracy will definitely affect the one-on-one quality control that residents have come to appreciate, as well as being more expensive. I welcome residents to contact me to further discuss this subject.
Timothy R. Komar
The writer is a Ligonier Township supervisor.