BP Home Rule Charter subject to change in upcoming election

Greydon Tomkowitz, Editor-In-Chief

In the November general election, Bethel Park voters will cast votes regarding potential changes being proposed for the Bethel Park Home Rule Charter.

The Bethel Park Council agreed at the April 10 meeting to place four additional questions on the November 7 ballot.

Changes to the Charter are rare, only six amendments have been made since the Charter’s creation. The last change to the Home Rule Charter occurred in 2015, when BP residents voted to change the chain of command in the police department. The police chief now reports to the municipal manager instead of council members.

The proposed amendments are not expected to cause any controversy, they are mainly procedural changes for the Bethel Park Council.

If voters approve these proposed changes, the interval to update the municipality’s comprehensive plan will be increased from 5 to 10 years.

Budget deadlines would also be extended with these proposed changes. Currently, Municipal Officials have until July 1 of each year to submit the capital fund budget to the Bethel Park Council and Sept. 1 to submit the general fund budget. The proposed changes would move these deadlines to August 30 for the capital budget and September 30 for the general budget.

Another proposed change involves the start time for the council organizational meeting. The change would move the meeting start time from 8 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the first Monday in January.

Bethel Park Mayor, Jack Allen, in replying to a Hawk Eye inquiry, stated, “All four changes are minor and in my opinion, should have no problem being approved in the General Election in November.”