CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Borough held a workshop meeting Tuesday night for a presentation of the final portion of the Five-Year Plan and
Financial Management Study.
After a brief recap of the first part of the Financial Study regarding Clearfield Borough’s strengths and weaknesses, Michael Weir of Local Government Solutions LLC based in Pittsburgh outlined some basic recommendations for the borough to follow.
Weir stated the borough “seems to have a reluctance to write things down and a reluctance to have them approved.” Clearfield Borough is currently without written Civil Service Rules, which could result in problems for the county should a grievance or suit be filed.
Weir’s advice is to develop written policies and procedures and have them approved by the borough council. Weir also advocates implementing a computer technology plan, which will assist the council to centralize operations. “You can get advice from another town that already has a good working system, then request state grants to help pay for the new equipment,” he said. Proper training would become a high priority.
According to the study, Clearfield Borough is well-run, it just needs to focus on the nuts and bolts of updating its management program.
Priority one is planning. Clearfield Borough should develop a business plan similar to those done by businesses in the private sector but from a governmental perspective. “It doesn’t have to be elaborate,” said Weir. “Put together a picture of what Clearfield should look like. Focus on the residents and how to provide services.”
Weir suggested looking at the state Department of Transporation’s four-year plan as a diagram for capital planning.
Priority two is managing the borough’s business. There should be a manager to be on hand to run the borough’s day-to-day operations.
Clearfield Borough needs a manager to take advantage of the authority needed to resolve issues such as performing regular reviews of the costs and expenditures for compensation and benefits for existing employees, Weir said.
Priority three is re-thinking the borough’s operations. The possibility of intergovernmental cooperation with Lawrence Township is a very good prospect for shared services and mutual aid agreements in the future, Weir noted. The two districts already share some equipment and this has been beneficial to both. Weir believes Clearfield Borough Council should sit down in a quarterly meeting with Lawrence Township Board of Supervisors and plan to work together having an annual review meeting to make sure the cooperation continues to be beneficial to both districts.
The fourth step is implementation with a manager and an implementation team including community volunteers who would make regular progress reports on all projects.
The final step is renewal. The initial projection is a five-year plan, but the plan renews each year moving the projection date out one year each year. As one goal is reached, another is set and action steps are revised regularly to keep the borough moving forward.
Weir added that this is not a one-time stagnant project. It will be an ongoing action program that will grow with the community.