Merger talks continue

By NANCY WHYTE

Discussions continue about the possible merger of Kilbuck and Ohio townships.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, members of the merger committee met at the Kilbuck Township Municipal Building. Local government policy specialist Michael Foreman, from the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, provided updated information on comments from the October meeting. Additionally, Foreman supplied attendees with sample merger paperwork from the 2013 proposed merger of Beaver County’s Patterson Township and Fallston Borough.

Foreman explained the document, suggesting appropriate modifications. If the merger committee ultimately recommends the merger, the likely merger referendum question for the Nov. 6, 2018 general election would be, “Shall Kilbuck Township be merged into Ohio Township, effective January 6, 2020?”

If the merger is approved by a majority of the voters in both townships, 2019 would be the transition year where the boards of supervisors determine such matters as the budget, disposition of assets, uniform tax system and uniform ordinances. Then, on Jan. 6, 2020, Kilbuck Township would cease to exist, having been absorbed into Ohio Township.

Representatives from Kilbuck and Ohio townships determined that now was the time in the process to have specific financial data and infrastructure information available, before further exploring the merger possibility.

“I want to know what it’s going to cost us,” stated one Ohio Township representative. “How is Ohio Township going to benefit? Maybe we should walk away now.”

A Kilbuck Township representative responded, “You’re gaining our building and our tax income.” He further inquired about Ohio Township’s long term pension obligations and asked about the future financial outlook when the current building boom in Ohio Township ended.

A meeting between both boards of supervisors was scheduled for mid-November. And, with the intent of having collected the requested information from both townships by then, the next merger committee meetingwas tentatively planned for January.