Sunshine Act Keeps Doors Open

While Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives residents the chance to keep tabs on their government through access to records, a related law lets them see decision-making bodies in action.

The state Sunshine Act requires public boards and councils to discuss business and make decisions in public.

The laws work in conjunction to give people access to their governments. A resident may request a document they know exists because it was approved or discussed at a public meeting.

But there are sometimes disagreements over when one law or the other applies.

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Joining Forces Regional Approach To Policing Effective But Not Easy

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a certain charm to a small-town police force such as Chief Richard Leisey Sr.’s department in Mohnton.

“Our residents like to see our car,” he said. “With a small department, we know the people who are in town, who they are, where they live.”

Like a number of other Berks County police chiefs, Leisey fears that personal touch would fade if his department joined a regional police force.

But as budget cuts force small departments to work fewer hours, cut officers or even disband, the idea of a regional force is looking better and better to Leisey.

“We would have 24/7 (local coverage) again,” he said.

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Property Taxes To Rise Across Philadelphia Suburbs

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hundreds of thousands of property owners in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties are getting something they probably don’t want in the new year – higher real estate taxes.

Countywide increases, approved in December, affect the owners of all 382,304 real estate parcels in Chester and Delaware Counties.  Some people are taking a double hit, as at least 27 towns in those counties also have increased taxes.

Bucks and Montgomery Counties kept their rates the same, but at least 28 municipalities raised real estate levies.

While the reasons vary, officials say the overarching reason is basic: Revenue is down; costs aren’t.

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