DuBois-Sandy Township residents attend consolidation meeting

Residents are shown during a break at Tuesday night’s Pennsylvania Economy League’s public presentation on the proposed consolidation between the City of DuBois and Sandy Township. A total of 104 people attended the meeting in person, while 118 viewed the meeting live online.

DuBOIS — In the Nov. 2 general election, DuBois and Sandy Township voters will decide if they want the two municipalities to consolidate to form a new third class city. On Tuesday night, residents had an opportunity to learn some facts and ask questions about the proposed consolidation during a Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL) public presentation held at the DuBois Country Club.

A total of 104 people attended the meeting in person; 76 township residents and 28 DuBois residents. A total of 118 people viewed the meeting live online. The meeting, which was underwritten by the Gray Family Foundation, lasted about 90 minutes.

Pennsylvania Economy League presenters included Communications Director Lynne Shedlock, Senior Research Fellow Gerry Cross and Chief Executive Officer LeeAnne Clayberger.

The presentation included an approximate 45-minute PowerPoint on PEL’s independent study detailing the effects of a DuBois-Sandy Township consolidation, similar to a previous PEL public meeting which was conducted in March, but with revisions and updates. The city and township shared the cost of the 200-plus page study.

Following the PowerPoint, there was a break. At that time, written questions were submitted at the welcome desk, where there were forms for residents to write their questions and identify themselves as the questioner. Those questions were then collected during the break and submitted to the panel.

If residents have follow-up questions or they feel that their questions weren’t addressed, there is an avenue to do so by sending an email to: questionsaboutconsolidation@gmail.com.

During the opening remarks, Clayberger thanked the Gray Foundation and its Chairman Jason Gray for inviting PEL back to present the findings of PEL’s consolidation study with some updates based on the changes in the community.

Clayberger said the Pennsylvania Economy League is an 85-year-old organization.

“We’re a voice of good government. We are nonpartisan. We’re a non-profit organization, and we do public policy research, civic education, and provide technical assistance to local government really throughout the state,” said Clayberger. “Our team is based in the northeast, as well as south central. I’m based in Harrisburg, Jerry is in Wilkes-Barre area, and Lynn is based in Scranton. We’ve been working all over the state of Pennsylvania.”

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Following the public meeting in March, the township supervisors withdrew from the consolidation effort after a majority of them concluded there wasn’t sufficient public support to continue.

Concerned citizens then joined forces in a petition drive that gathered enough signatures to place a proposal on the November ballot. On Aug. 24, the Clearfield County Board of Elections officially approved the question of consolidation to be placed on ballots in the city and township come November.

The question to be printed on the official ballot for the township and city for the municipal election on Nov. 2 is as follows:

“Shall the Township of Sandy and the City of DuBois consolidate to form a new Third Class City to be called the City of DuBois and governed by the Council-Manager form of government as provided in the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law and including a seven-member Council, elected at large (one of whom shall be Mayor), an elected Treasurer, an elected Controller, and an appointed Manager?”

Clayberger noted that the ballot question specifies the form of government as a third class city.

“That’s different than what we talked about six months or so ago when we were here in March,” said Clayberger, noting that the presentation will talk a little bit about some of those differences.

Since 1989, the question of consolidation has been approved three times by city residents and rejected three times by township voters. In order for consolidation to take place, voters in each municipality must vote separately and affirmatively to move forward.

More details about the presentation will be published in Thursday’s edition.

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