DuBois, PA – The Pennsylvania Economy League shared the results of an in-depth study on the possible effects of consolidating the City of DuBois and Sandy Township.
Although the meeting was organized by the One Community Committee, the study itself was funded by both the city and township through a non-partisan group.
The group shared their estimates on how both DuBois residents and Sandy residents could end up saving on property taxes and in many cases utilities, although DuBois residents will likely see more of a savings than those who live in Sandy.
One of the main drawbacks is that if a new third-class city is developed, it will lose out on some Community Development Block Grant or CDBG funding since typically both the city and township would get funds.
Another change would be that there could be about $500,000 in savings a year in expenditures. Of course, that money would be saved mostly due to eliminating duplicate positions, such as paying for just one manager instead of two.
The group, knowing how important our firefighters are to us, says that although the fire stations would likely eventually get reorganized, it wouldn’t be an immediate process. They say the level of funding for fire departments would remain the same and the eventual reorganization process would play out over years with the involvement of the fire service leadership.
If you weren’t able to make it to the meeting or see it online, you can see the full video at https://tinyurl.com/DuBoisSandyOct12.
You can also send questions directly to [email protected]
The question of consolidation will appear on the election ballots of residents of Sandy Township and the City of DuBois on Nov. 2. The deadline to register to vote (if you are not already registered), is Oct. 18.
Conclusions and Recommendations of Pennsylvania Economy League Consolidation Study – City of DuBois and Sandy Township
- Improved long-term financial health is a main benefit of consolidation for all municipal constituents in the City of DuBois and Sandy Township.
- Both municipalities are exhibiting signs of fiscal challenges. Projections show both will experience deficits within the next five years (without consolidation).
- (Operational) deficits for Sandy Township are anticipated to start in 2023.
- Savings over time from the elimination of duplication would help maintain or improve current service levels that could otherwise face cuts from projected deficits.
- Given the financial and demographic situation of the city and the township, the DuBois City Council and the Sandy Township Board of Supervisors should move forward with the consolidation process to ensure regional local government sustainability.
- The estimated property tax savings for DuBois residents is 25% and up to 12% for Sandy Township residents.
- An analysis of the 2020 budgets of DuBois and Sandy Township shows that a combined municipality should experience a balanced General Fund budget by establishing a uniform property tax of 16.06 mills (currently 23.5 mills for DuBois and 18.25 mills for Sandy Township).
- All Sandy Township residents that receive sewer and/or water services through the Township would now pay the City’s lower rates. The net annual tax and utility savings for customers billed by the Township ranges from $238 to $464.
- Combining the City of DuBois and Sandy Township would provide short-term savings for most residents and businesses (of both municipalities) on property tax and utility payments while also improving financial health of the region in the long term.
- Lower tax rates in DuBois and Sandy Township and lower utility rates in Sandy Township will increase the potential for residential and business development.
- Consolidation provides the potential for more clout for grants for a bigger municipality.
- The reorganization of the fire department services (in the future) would enhance safety, increase efficiency of operation and coordination, eliminate artificial boundaries and duplication of resources, and standardize services and programs.
- It is important to note that the proposed consolidation will not have an immediate impact on how the fire services operate. The level of funding for the fire departments (of both municipalities) would remain the same after reorganization. The process would play out over years with the involvement of the fire service leadership.
- Each municipality will contribute its unique benefits and resources to the consolidated community that will results in a more cohesive, flexible, marketable, and effective local government agency.