Carlisle Borough Council--the people who brought you the "road diet"--have come up with another idea to burden the lives of local residents. Fortunately, this time the people have a vote (for now).
Their plan is to change Carlisle from a borough to a home-rule municipality. The poster child for their campaign is beleaguered Tax Collector George T. Hicks, Jr., who is currently being paid for doing nothing while he awaits trial on drug charges.
If only residents would give up their right to elect a tax collector, they claim, then Borough Council could appoint one, and we wouldn't be in this mess. (The logic is that people who are sufficiently intelligent to elect members of Borough Council cannot be trusted to elect other local officials.)
The way to bring about this "reform" is to take Carlisle out from under the Borough Code and write a home-rule charter that would serve instead as Carlisle's governing document. This question will appear as a yes-or-no referendum in the May 21 primary election (all registered voters can cast a ballot, including independents and third-party members).
The real issue is not the tax collector, however. It is taxes.
The purpose of the Borough Code is to protect citizens from overreaching by their local officials, just as the federal and state constitutions are designed to discourage mischievous conduct by the Congress and General Assembly.
Most important among the limitations in the Borough Code is a cap on local property taxes. A home-rule charter would not have to include any such protection for the taxpayers. Remove the Borough Code, welcome unlimited millage rates.
People entering Carlisle are greeted by green signs proclaiming the motto, "Excellence in Community Service." Apparently Carlisle wishes to be known primarily for bigger government with more employees. Given Borough Council's addiction to spending and refusal to reduce expenses, one can only imagine who's expected to pay the bills.