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A new municipality in Antietam Valley?

Kate Lao Shaffner
Mount Penn resident Jeff Motes lobbed a ball at the dunk tank target. He says a consolidation between Mount Penn and Lower Alsace would be 'great for the kids. The borders are so close, sharing resources would be a good thing.'

Pennsylvania has more local governments than any other state except Texas and Illinois. There are some downsides to this, including the inefficiency and expense of duplicated services, and the potential for competition among municipalities.

State law allows municipalities to consolidate or merge, but it doesn't happen all that often because the process can be fraught with tension. But two communities in Berks County are trying to give it a shot— this November, residents will vote on whether they should consolidate and form a new municipality.

One community, one government

At Mount Penn's annual block party, councilman Kurt Miller hangs out in front of a booth by the borough building. There are piles of fliers on a table and a sign emblazoned "The Historic Antietam Valley: One Community, One Government."

Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.

Kate Lao Shaffner was the Keystone Crossroads Reporter for WPSU-FM from 2014-2015. She reports on infrastructure, economic, legal, and financial issues in Pennsylvania with reporters from WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), and WESA (Pittsburgh).
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