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duties may the justice of the peace perform? What are the duties of the constable?
What officers represent the township as a body corporate? What are the duties of the overseers of the poor?
What are the duties of the assessors ?
What is the triennial assessment? What duties has the assessor under the compulsory attendance school law?
Who collects the taxes? What are the duties of auditors? Of the township clerk?
What is the number of school directors in a township? What is an election district ?
What compensation do election officers receive, and how is it paid?
Name the fiscal officers in a township of the first class. How has the organization of the township of the first class developed ?
What is the great principle of American practice as to local affairs? How is a vacancy in the office of justice of the peace filled ?
What is the unit of the educational system of the State? What are the duties of the school directors ?
BOROUGHS AND CITIES
The Borough.-When the population of a village becomes so large that its best interests demand a form of government with greater powers than those of the township, a separate local government is organized. A petition is presented to the court of quarter sessions through a majority of the voters, and notice thereof is published in a county newspaper. If the court approves, the borough is organized, and becomes distinct from the township in which it may be located. Until thus incorporated, a village can have no truly distinct or separate local government.
Borough Officers. The officers of a borough are the chief burgess, the councilmen, tax collectors, assessor, treasurer, auditors, overseers of the poor, school directors, justice of the peace, constable, and board of health.
The duties of many of these officials are the same as those of the corresponding township officers. Boroughs have no supervisors.
The Chief Burgess.—The chief burgess is the executive officer of the borough, is elected for a term of four years, and is not eligible for the next succeeding term. He cannot hold any other borough office or appointment during his term of office, nor be a member of the town council, nor preside at its meetings. His duty is to approve and sign
ordinances and resolutions passed by the council, or to veto them if he does not approve them. A two-thirds vote of the council overrules his veto. He is ex officio a justice of the peace. The law provides that in the absence or disqualification of the burgess, the president of the borough council shall perform the duties of such burgess.
The Council.—In the expanded power of the borough the legislative or lawmaking power becomes prominent. In boroughs not divided into wards, the number of members in the town council is seven. The laws passed by the council are called ordinances. These relate to the general welfare of the people of the borough as to streets, crossings, water supply, sewers, lighting, police and fire service, care of the poor, abatement of nuisances, quarantine of cases of infectious and contagious diseases, public health in general, location and care of cemeteries, etc. The council determines the rate of taxation in the borough, and controls the expenditures. It examines all bills, and pays by orders on the treasurer. The council is presided over by a president elected from their number at the annual organization of council; and, in the absence of the president, a president pro tempore presides. A clerk is appointed who keeps a record of all the transactions of the council, and publishes its ordinances. The corporate powers of the borough are vested in the council, which acts in all suits to which the borough is a party.
In boroughs divided into wards, the court of quarter sessions fixes the number of councilmen to be elected in each ward as a separate election district. This number cannot exceed three, and not all are elected at the same time. Councilmen are elected for a term of four years, and receive no compensation for their services.
The Treasurer.—This officer is placed under bond for the faithful performance of his duties. He receives all taxes, fines, license money, and other borough funds, and pays out the money of the borough on the order of the council duly presented in writing.
The Assessors.In making the valuation of property, the assessors of all the wards of a borough act as a board of assessors. They make the assessments of all taxation for borough, school district, and county purposes; and send a return thereof to the county commissioners, who act as a board of tax revision.
The City.-In densely populated districts of large areas, the centralization of humanity and human interests demands a government that is centralized and efficient beyond the degree of any borough government. Such a complex type of local government is municipal government, and the communities thus controlled are known as cities.
The present form of city governments shows that they have been much influenced by the form of State governments. In fact, the government of an American city is a reduced copy of the government of a State. The city has its own constitution or charter, its laws, its legislature, its executive, its judiciary, its treasury, and its police force.
Municipal government in Pennsylvania dates from the founding of Philadelphia in 1682. The charter given by Charles II. granted the power to incorporate boroughs and cities; viz., “To divide the said Countrey and Islands into Townes, Hundreds, and Counties, and to erect and incorporate Townes into Boroughs and Boroughs into Cities.”
Classes of Cities.—The law classifying the cities of the Commonwealth divides them into three classes:
Cities containing a population of 1,000,000 or over constitute the first class.
Cities containing a population of 100,000 and under 1,000,000 constitute the second class.
Cities containing a population of under 100,000 constitute the third class.
At present all the cities of the State except three belong to the third class. Philadelphia is the only city of the first class; while Pittsburg and Scranton belong to the second class. Allegheny has been united with Pittsburg.
The State constitution (52) forbids special legislation. In order to comply with this provision, and secure at the same time laws suited to the different cities, it is necessary that they be classified. A law needed in a large city might be useless or harmful in a small city.
The City Charter.-According to the constitution (179), cities may be chartered whenever a majority of the electors of any town or borough having a population of at least 10,000 shall vote at any general election in favor of the same. The city charter is the fundamental law of the city. It outlines the mode of government, and enumerates officers, legislative bodies, etc. ' Charters are granted by the General Assembly, and all cities of the same class have the same charter.
Wards. For convenience in organization and administration the city is divided into wards, and these again for election purposes into precincts or polling divisions. Wards differ in size and population, but are usually the unit of representation in the councils and various boards of the city.
City Officers.—The officers of a city of the third class are