LT Supers Discuss Municipal Merger

Lawrence Township-2

CLEARFIELD – At Tuesday night’s supervisors’ meeting, Nancy Yeager of Clearfield recommended that Lawrence Township merge with Clearfield Borough.

Yeager also recommended that the supervisors hire a township manager.  “The township doesn’t need two supervisors on the side of the road holding a flag,” she said.

Supervisor Chairman William Lawhead said the supervisors have participated in meetings to discuss a potential merger with Clearfield Borough. He also cited three major obstacles:

  • Both entities need to stop managing the sewage system. In addition, the Clearfield Municipal Authority (CMA) needs to take over.
  • The three Lawrence Township fire departments need to merge with Clearfield Borough’s fire department.
  • The Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough police departments also need to merge forces.

Lawhead expressed concerns with organizations, such as the Clearfield Revitalization Corp. (CRC), being involved with discussions about a potential merger of Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough.

Lawhead said he threatened to walk out if a municipal merger turned into a “rah-rah” for downtown Clearfield. Instead, he said it should be a part of an effort to improve the Clearfield area.

During the meeting, it was noted that areas of Lawrence Township need improvements. These areas included the Clearfield Mall, the Industrial Park (near Interstate 80) and the Clearfield Area Middle School.

Yeager praised the CAMS auditorium at which point it was briefly mentioned the soon to close school could be used as a convention center.

“As far as the municipal crews, we’re already doing a lot of stuff together,” said Supervisor Edward Brown. He added if a merger would occur, it should because the citizens want it to.

The supervisors expressed concerns about the impact a merger would have on outlying areas. They feared these areas may not receive proper representation due to their distance from the central area.

Yeager then suggested a partial merger.  For example, she said areas closely surrounding Clearfield Borough would merge with it while the outlying areas would remain separate.

Lawhead said during discussions of a potential merger, their consensus was to leave the matter up to voters in the form of a ballot question.

The supervisors also discussed hiring a township manager and a public works director. “I really don’t have any opposition to that myself.  With that said, financially it is going to mean a little bit different,” said Brown.

Brown mentioned possibly combining the treasurer and manager positions while having a separate public works director. Brown said he would support establishing the positions if it was the consensus of the board.

Lawhead indicated he’d prefer to see if discussions progressed regarding the potential merger of Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough.

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