Borough Council

Typical Areas of Governance:

Some of these may not apply, for instance the borough may not have a police department or a public park.
▪ Street Maintenance
▪ Stormwater Management
▪ Planning and Zoning
▪ Police
▪ Parks and Recreation
▪ Building Permits
▪ Emergency Management
▪ Water and Sewer

Typical Duties:

▪ Attend council meetings a least monthly
▪ Serve on council committees
▪ Enact local laws (ordinances)
▪ Adopt annual budget
▪ Levy taxes
▪ Make appointments to boards and commissions
Length of Term:
▪ 4 Years
▪ Council members elected on staggered terms (1/2 of council elected every two years)
▪ Short term: If a seat becomes vacant during the term, council appoints a citizen to fill the unexpired term.
If this occurs in the first or second year of the term, the seat is put on the ballot at the next municipal
election for a 2-year term.

How Elected:

▪ At large: by all the registered voters in the borough
▪ Ward: by all the registered voters in a ward, which is a specific geographic area containing at least 300
registered voters.
▪ Not all boroughs are divided into wards
▪ Some boroughs have wards and at large seats

Size of Council:

▪ For boroughs with wards, from 7 to 15 members. Council size can be an odd or even number.
▪ For boroughs without wards, 7 members.
▪ For boroughs under 3,000 residents, council may be reduced to 3 or 5 members.


Elected from among all members of council, by the council
▪ President
▪ Vice president
▪ Secretary and treasurer are appointed positions and cannot be held by elected council members


▪ Registered voter
▪ 18 years or older
▪ Resident of the borough for one year prior to the election
▪ If elected by ward, must live in the ward

Compensation and Employment:

▪ Maximum compensation set by PA legislature according to the population of the borough
▪ Maximums currently range from $1875 per year to $5000 per year
▪ Many borough councils vote not to receive compensation
▪ Council members cannot be employed by the borough (there is an exception for boroughs with less than 3,000 population)

Typical Board and Commissions:

▪ Planning Commission
▪ Zoning Hearing Board
▪ Police Civil Service Commission
▪ Historical and Architectural Review Board
▪ Codes Appeal Board
▪ Water Authority
▪ Sewer Authority