Tarentum is governed by the Borough Council which consists of 7 members. The three voting wards in the borough are represented by two council members each, and one council person is elected at-large representing the entire borough. In order to provide continuity, one representative from each ward is elected every two years. All members serve 4-year terms.
Functions of Council:
The Borough Code places the general supervision of the affairs of the borough in the hands of Borough Council. As such, council members are required to assume many of the roles found in separate branches or levels of state and federal governments. Specifically, council members serve in legislative, executive, and administrative capacities.
Council serves as the legislative body of the borough, setting policy, enacting ordinances and resolutions, adopting budgets and levying taxes. Council members also represent the borough and its concerns before other municipal governments, the state and federal governments, and private sector entities.
Council also performs executive functions, including preparation of the annual budget, proclaiming municipal events, hiring employees, and appointing members to borough authorities, boards, and commissions. Certain executive functions, such as representing the borough at official functions, are often performed by the President of Council.
Council members also play a role in the administrative activities of municipal governments, overseeing day-to-day borough operations. In this capacity, council members provide for enforcement of local laws and regulations, management of personnel, and purchase of equipment, materials, supplies, and services. Council members, as administrators, are actively involved in the financial management of the borough, and are responsible not only for collection of monies earned through taxes, service charges, and grants, but also for seeing that municipal funds are spent in accordance with approved municipal budgets.
A number of boroughs in Pennsylvania, including Tarentum, have hired a professional borough manager to direct operations on behalf of Borough Council.
Council members also possess many other duties. Some examples are:
Delegation of Functions.
The administration of boroughs and other forms of municipal government have become very complex. As such, Council delegates some administrative responsibilities to appointed officials. The Borough Code allows Council to appoint individuals who possess a specific expertise to employed administrative positions. Boroughs may appoint a Manager, Solicitor, Engineer, Department Director, and Secretary, although appointment of other professionals is also permitted.
Borough Council directs the activities of the borough through the appointed Borough Manager, who in turn supervises all departments except the Police Department (the Mayor directs the activities of the Police Department through the Chief of Police).
The borough code and other state legislation also permit Council to enlist its citizenry through formation of authorities, boards and commissions. Such bodies allow the governing body to draw upon citizen expertise and directly involve citizens in their government. Some of the more common authorities, boards, and commissions operating in Tarentum Borough are the sewage authority, planning commission, recreation board, zoning hearing board, and civil service commission.
On the first Monday of January in each even numbered year, the Borough Council conducts a reorganization meeting where they elect a President and Vice President of Council.
Unless otherwise advertised, council agenda meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month and regular council meetings are held on the following Tuesday.
Agendas, Minutes, attachments and other council meeting information is available here.
Rules and Guidelines for The Borough of Tarentum’s Junior Council
· Must be a resident of Tarentum
· When applying must be a high school Sophomore, Junior, Senior or equivalent if homeschooled
· Must take “Oath of Office”
· Must serve one term that will coincide with the school year (i.e. September through June)
· Must attend Agenda and Full Council meetings on 1st and 2nd Tuesdays of each month
· Must observe all Tarentum Borough Council Rules
· Is exempt from any and all Council Business that exceeds 9pm
The Junior Council Person (JCP) Program provides youth in the community with an opportunity to get engaged in borough government and develop leadership skills. It also allows borough officials to serve as mentors to students who will be future leaders in their communities.
Since 2000, PSAB has been encouraging high school students to get involved in borough government by becoming a JCP. Since that time, hundreds of students have participated in the JCP Program in boroughs throughout PA.
Wesleyville Borough, Erie County established the first JCP Program in 1999. The model has since been widely adopted by boroughs throughout the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) is committed to the success of this program and encourages participation from each of the 956 boroughs. A JCP Program allows high school and college students the opportunity to learn critical skills including team building and collaboration, public speaking, public engagement, budgeting, and running effective meetings. It also allows the student the opportunity to deliberate on issues that are affecting his or her community.