Borough Code

Publication of Notices (53 P.S. § 45109)

When the borough code requires notice, such notice must be published in a newspaper of general circulation. The newspaper must either be published in the borough, or have a paid circulation in the borough equal to or greater than any newspaper which is published and circulated in the borough. Notices must also be published in the legal journal for the county, if one exists, for any court proceeding, the holding of elections for the increase of indebtedness or the sale of bonds.

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Creation of Boroughs (53 P.S. § 45204)

A petition to incorporate a borough must be advertised not less than 30 days, immediately after the petition is filed with the court. The notice must be placed in one newspaper of general circulation in the county and in the legal journal for the county, if one exists once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks. The notice must state when and where the petition was filed and the time during which exceptions may be filed.

All expenses in connection with the petition of incorporation, including advertising costs, are to be paid by those bringing the petition.

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Changing the Charter of a City of the Third Class to a Borough

Notice of an election to change the charter of a third-class city to a borough must appear in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the county once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks. The notice must state the time and purpose of the election, and the court must approve the final form of the advertisement.

If the majority of electors vote in favor of the change, all costs, including the cost of ad-vertising, must be paid by the city. If the majority of electors is not in favor of the change, all costs must be paid by those bringing the petition.

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Petitions for the Annulment of a Borough Charter or Change of Corporate Name

Upon a petition of at least ten (10) percent of the registered electors of any borough that the inhabitants wish to annul the charter of the borough or to change the corporate name of the borough, the court shall order an election be held.

Notice of such election must be published in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks. The advertisement must include the time of the election and its purpose, and the court has to approve the form of the advertisement.

All costs relative to proceedings for the annulment of a borough charter or name change, including advertising costs, are to be paid by the petitioners.

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Changing Borough Limits Through Annexation (53 P.S. §§ 45411- 45412, 45414, 45416-45417)

Upon petition, the court may change the limits of any borough by the annexation of adjacent territory located in a township of the second class.

Notice of an application to change borough limits must be published in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the county once a week for four (4) weeks immediately before the presentation of the petition to the court.

If the township and borough are in separate counties, notice of the intended application must be published in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the territory to be annexed and in the borough once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks immediately before the presentation of the petition to the courts in the affected counties.

Petitioners are required pay all costs connected with the application.

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Changes in Ward Sizes (53 P.S. §§ 45601-45603, 45605)

Upon petition, the court may authorize the change in the size or boundaries of borough wards. After the court appoints a board of commissioners to study changes in borough wards, notice of the filing of the board’s report must be published once in a newspaper of general circulation. Included in the notice must be a statement that exceptions to the report may be filed within 30 days after the filing of the report.

The court will decide whether the borough or petitioners are to bear costs associated with the petition, including advertising costs.

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Decreasing the Number of Councilmen (53 P.S. § 45818)

Upon a petition of at least five (5) percent of the registered voters of any borough, with a population of not more than three thousand (3,000), the court may reduce the total number of councilmen for such borough.

The court must give notice of the filing of such petition by advertisement in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough and in the legal journal of the county, if one exists. The advertisement must contain the date and time set for the hearing.

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Duty to Publish Every Proposed Ordinance (53 P.S. § 46006(4))

Borough councils are required by law to publish every proposed ordinance or resolution of a legislative character once in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough not more than 60 days nor less than seven (7) days before passage. Publication of a proposed ordinance must include either its full text or the title and a brief summary prepared by the borough solicitor along with reference to a place in the borough where copies of the proposed ordinance may be examined. If the full text is not included in the advertisement, a copy of the proposed ordinance must be supplied to the newspaper carrying the advertisement and must be filed in the county law library or other designated county office. If substantial amendments are made to the proposed ordinance or resolution, council must re-advertise within ten (10) days after the amendment before voting on it.

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Advertising, Consolidation, Codification and Revision of Ordinances (53 P.S. § 46008)

No ordinance or resolution of a legislative character is in force until it has been recorded in the ordinance book of the borough and advertised.

Notice of the introduction of a consolidation, codification or revision of borough ordinances to be enacted as a single ordinance must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least 15 days before final enactment. The advertisement must only specify the general nature of the consolida-tion, codification or revision and list its table of contents or the titles of each of the ordinances. It is also necessary to publish a notice when the consolidation, codification or revision is passed. It is not required to advertise the entire text, but the notice must state that the consolidation, codification or revision previously introduced has finally been passed.

An advertisement giving notice of the introduction of groups or bodies of ordinances must list, in lieu of a table of contents, only the titles of each of the ordinances, and the notice following enactment must simply state that such group or body of ordinances was finally passed.

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Replacement of Lost Ordinance Books (53 P.S. § 46011, 46012)

If any ordinance book(s) are lost, destroyed, or become unusable, the borough council may pass an ordinance to provide new ordinance book(s). When ordinances are recorded into a new ordinance book, notice must be published once in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough stating where the old records and the new ordinance book will be available for public inspection for a period of 30 days for verification and correction.

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Publication of Financial Statement by Auditors (53 P.S. § 46043)

Within ten (10) days of completing their audit, borough auditors must publish a financial statement in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough. The following must be included in the financial statement: balance in the treasury at the beginning of the fiscal year;

  • all revenues received during the fiscal year by major classifications;  
  • all expenditures made during the fiscal year by major functions;  
  • current resources and liabilities of the borough at the end of the fiscal year;  
  • gross liability and net debt of the borough;  
  • amount of the assessed valuation of the borough;  
  • assets of the borough including the character and value;  
  • date of the last maturity of the respective forms of funded debt; and  
  • assets in each sinking fund.

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Publication of Financial Statement by Controller (53 P.S. § 46063)

The borough controller must also publish a financial statement within 10 days after completing an audit, in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough. The controller's financial statement must include the same provisions as described for the auditor's financial statement in above section.

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Notice of Examinations for Police and Fire Departments (53 P.S. § 46181)

The commission makes the rules and regulations governing examinations for positions in the police or fire department. Public notice of the time and place for such examinations must be advertised once in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least two (2) weeks prior to the examination.

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Independent Auditors (53 P.S. § 46196(a),(b),(e))

Every year an independent auditor must audit and settle all accounts in which the borough is concerned and prepare a report concerning this examination. Within ten (10) days after filing the annual audit, the independent auditor must publish a concise financial statement in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough. The following specifics must be included in the financial statement: the balance in the treasury at the beginning of the fiscal year;

  • all revenues received during the fiscal year by major classifications;  
  • all expenditures made during the fiscal year by major functions;  
  • current resources and liabilities of the borough at the end of the fiscal year;  
  • gross liability and net debt of the borough;  
  • amount of the assessed valuation of the borough;  
  • assets of the borough with the character and value thereof;  
  • date of the last maturity of the respective forms of funded debt; and  
  • assets in each sinking fund.

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Sale of Real or Personal Property by a Borough (53 P.S. § 46201(4))

A borough has the authority to purchase or sell real and personal property as deemed to be in the best interest of the borough. Notice of the sale of any borough real estate valued at more than $1,500 must be advertised once in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least ten (10) days prior to the opening of bids or the date set for a public auction. Notice of the sale of borough per-sonal property valued at more than $1,000 must be advertised once in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least ten (10) days prior to the opening of bids or the date set for a public auction.

The above provisions are not mandatory when borough property is traded or exchanged for new borough property. The provisions regarding advertising also do not apply when the sale is to certain other governmental entities or non-profit organizations (i.e. a county, school district, volunteer fire department located within the borough or a non-profit corporation engaged in community industrial development).

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Fire Regulations (53 P.S. §46202(21))

The borough is vested with certain specific powers. Among these powers is the authority to make regulations concerning the cause, management and prevention of fires and to enact and enforce suitable fire prevention codes. A summary of any proposed fire prevention code, and notice as to where and when copies of the full text may be examined or obtained, must be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough one (1) to three (3) weeks prior to presentation of the code to council. No advertisement is necessary upon enactment of the code(s).

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Building, Housing and Plumbing Regulations (53 P.S. § 46202(24))

Boroughs are also given the authority to enact and enforce any ordinances regarding buildings and housing including their construction, alteration, repair and maintenance, etc. A summary of any proposed building, housing or plumbing code and notice as to where and when copies of the proposed code may be obtained or examined must be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough one (1) to three (3) weeks before presentation of the code to council. No advertisement is necessary following enactment of the codes(s).

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Joint Contracts for Police and Fire Protection (53 P.S. §46202(35))

Boroughs are also given the authority to enter into contracts with neighboring cities, boroughs or townships either for mutual aid or assistance in police and fire protections. No advertising is necessary for bids for contracts with other municipalities for joint police or fire protection.

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Notice of Proposed Budget (53 P.S. § 46308)

If estimated budget receipts from a proposed budget are greater than $5,000, the borough secretary must publish notice that the proposed budget is available for inspection. The notice must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough.

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Notice of Amended Budget (53 P.S. § 46311)

During the month of January after any municipal elections, the borough council may amend its budget. Notice of the ten (10) day period for public inspection of the amended budget must be published once in a newspaper of general circulation.

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Regulation of Contracts and Purchases (53 P.S. § 46402(a),(a.1),(b),(d))

All contracts or purchases over $10,000 must be advertised at least twice in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough. The advertisements must run at least two (2) times. The advertisements must be at least three (3) days apart if a daily newspaper is used or once a week for two (2) successive weeks if a weekly newspaper is used. The first advertisement must be published not more than 45 days and the second advertisement not less than ten (10) days before the opening of bids. The advertisements must contain the date, time and location for opening the bids and must state the amount of any performance bond which may be required.

Bids may only be accepted and contracts may only be awarded at a public meeting. If the time and date set for the opening of bids or awarding of contracts is changed, notice of the new time and date must be advertised at least five (5) days prior to the rescheduled meeting.

In the case of contracts between $4,000 and $10,000, three (3) bids must be solicited and written records kept. Advertising is not required for these bids.

Exceptions to the advertising and bidding requirements for contracts or pur-chases over $10,000 include the following: Contracts covering only maintenance, repair or replacements for the water, electric light or other public works of the borough.

Improvements, repairs and maintenance of any kind made by township employees. However, materials for street construction, improvements or maintenance over $10,000 must be advertised.

When particular patented products are desired (does not apply to materials used for road improvements).

For used equipment, apparatus, vehicles or parts purchased from a public utility.

Policies of insurance or surety company bonds; public utility service; contracts with another governmental entity.

Contracts for personal or professional services.

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Evasion of Advertising Requirements (53 P.S. § 46403)

Advertising requirements listed above in section may not be avoided by purchasing or contracting for services or personal property piecemeal to obtain prices under $10,000 when such purchases should reasonably be conducted as one transaction. Council members may be held personally liable for knowingly violating this provision. Such violation is a misdemeanor in the 3rd degree.

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Bids for Plumbing, Heating, Ventilating and Electrical Work (53 P.S. § 46405)

When the entire cost of any construction project exceeds $10,000, the council may have separate specifications prepared and receive separate bids for the plumbing, heat-ing, ventilating and electrical work.

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Removal of a Street From the Street Plan (53 P.S. § 46724)

Before removing a street which has been laid out but not opened for 10 years from the borough street plan, council must hold a public hearing on the matter. Public notice of the hearing must be advertised at least 15 days prior to the meeting in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough.

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Opening Streets (53 P.S. § 46731)

Boroughs have the authority to open streets by way of ordinances. During the thirty (30) day period between the enactment of the ordinance and the date the ordinance takes effect, any interested party may petition council for a hearing on the matter. The council must hold a hearing within thirty (30) days of receipt of the petition and must give at least 15 days notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough.

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Petition to Open a Street (53 P.S. § 46732)

If owners whose property abuts a proposed street petition council for a hearing on the proposal, public notice must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least 15 days in advance of the hearing date.

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Vacating Streets (53 P.S. § 46741)

Before vacating any street on a recorded plan, the borough must give thirty (30) days prior notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough. The advertisement must list by name all property owners along the street in question and be generally directed to the owners of other property appearing on the plan. If any interested party petitions council for a hearing on the matter, public notice of the hearing must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least 15 days before the hearing date.

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Petition to Vacate a Street (53 P.S. § 46742)

Council must hold a hearing on a petition to vacate a street. Notice of the hearing must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough at least 15 days in advance of the hearing date.

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Sewers (53 P.S. § 47010)

Notice must be given before any ordinance for any construction of sewers or treatment works beyond the limits of the borough is adopted. Public notice must be advertised once a week for four (4) weeks in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the borough.

No notice is required when the proposed construction is entirely within the limits of any street or State highway.

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Planting, Transplanting or Removing Shade Trees (53 P.S. §§ 47726, 47729)

A shade tree commission must give public notice of meetings to consider the planting, transplanting or removal of shade trees on any street in the borough. The time and place of the public meeting must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough once a week for two (2) weeks immediately preceding the meeting. This notice must specifically state the streets that will be affected. Any advertising costs must be paid by the borough.

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Sale of Products from Pruning or Thinning Out Forests (53 P.S. § 47759)

Boroughs are given the power to prune or thin out any municipal forests. The borough is not required to advertise the sale of material produced by such pruning or thinning. It is also not necessary for the borough to advertise for bids if it hires outside personnel to perform this pruning or thinning out.

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Acquisition of a Cemetery for Public Purposes, Removal of Bodies (53 P.S. § 47809)

If a cemetery is no longer used for interments or has become neglected, the court may order that the cemetery be used for public purposes after removal of the remains of the dead. Before acquiring a cemetery for public purposes, notice of such an intention must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough for three (3) successive weeks.

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Notice of Removal of Bodies (53 P.S. §§ 47810- 47812)

Before removing any remains from a cemetery, notice of such an intention must be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the borough for two (2) successive weeks.

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Patented Articles (53 P.S. § 49143)

Borough authorities are permitted to buy patented or manufactured products without first advertising notice of such purchase. The exception to this rule is when the borough is purchasing materials to be used for improving streets.

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