A new year, a new way for Carlisle’s government to do business

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Back in May, people who live in Carlisle voted “yes” to home rule. It’s now in effect.

There are two main types of changes.

First, the roles of some officials will change. The borough manager assumes a lot of the responsibilities that the mayor had. The mayor will become the face of the borough.

“He’s going to go from managing the police department to not managing the police department,” Borough Manager Matthew Candland said. “He’ll assume many of the responsibilities of the council president which is to chair council, but he will have the chance to vote whereas before he did not.”

There’s no longer a council president, but there will be a deputy mayor. The tax collector position may also be phased out.

“Council can make the decision on how the borough will be collecting taxes,” Candland said. “I guess we could continue with a tax collector, but at that point it would be an appointed tax collector, but we could also collect it in-house.”

There are term limits for elected officials.

“It’ll probably take a lot of us a little while just to get used to the new roles, but I think it’s an exciting time in the history of the borough,” Candland said.

The second major change puts more power in the people’s hands. Residents can initiate ordinances or oppose them.

“Speed limits the first thing that comes to mind, but it could have to do with parking, trash collection, pretty much a lot of things that may require an ordinance could be affected by citizens if they so chose,” Candland said.

They’ll have to start a petition, get enough signatures, and then the issues will be put on a ballot for a vote.

“It’s easy enough to where it’s possible but hard enough to where hopefully it will eliminate frivolous types of things,” Candland said.

What’s the goal of the home rule?

“Create a form of government that was more responsive to the citizens and that was a little more consistent with the modern government in America,” Candland said.

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