Union, Robeson, and Caernarvon Townships in Berks County received the Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation Award during the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ 91st Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show, held April 21-24 in Hershey. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships.
The association established this award to honor townships that are working together to find creative ways to complete projects and provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively. The honor was presented to the three townships during a special awards ceremony at the conference.
Union, Robeson, and Caernarvon Townships received the award for working together on several initiatives. About 10 years ago, Union Township joined the Borough of Birdsboro and Robeson and Caernarvon Townships to develop the Southern Berks Joint Comprehensive Plan. Since then, the four municipalities have worked together to implement the plan, each updating its zoning ordinance and requesting county funding to update the plan to reflect subsequent projects. Along the way, the group added New Morgan Borough as an informal member.
One of the major accomplishments of implementing the joint plan has been an equipment-sharing agreement among Birdsboro Borough and Union and Robeson Townships. The municipalities have also discussed drafting an agreement that would allow any one of them to transfer its emergency operations center to one of the others during a natural or manmade disaster.
Union Township and Birdsboro Borough also merged two fire companies several years ago when neither could afford to fund its own department adequately. Although it was a difficult and controversial process, the result is a more efficient and cost-effective fire department for both municipalities.
Union and Robeson townships have also partnered to form the Geigertown Area Joint Authority to implement a public sewer system for the Village of Geigertown. Birdsboro Borough is an integral part of the process because the system will use its treatment plant.
“The authority is one of the newer joint efforts,” Union Township manager Carol Lewis says. “I credit its success to all the sharing between the municipalities over the last 10 years. Each time you do something together, the easier it is the next time.”
Submitted by Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors