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HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP v. GREENSBURG (07/30/71)

decided: July 30, 1971.

HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP
v.
GREENSBURG



Appeal from the decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Westmoreland County at No. 69, April Term, 1969, in case of In Re: Annexation to the City of Greensburg of a portion of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania containing 363.053 acres, adjacent to the City of Greensburg.

COUNSEL

Robert M. Stefanon, for appellant.

Joseph B. Mitinger, City Solicitor, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Manderino.

Author: Manderino

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 620]

The City of Greensburg has annexed a portion of Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County. The annexation proceeding was commenced on June 5, 1969. This is an appeal from an order of the Court en Banc in Westmoreland County, entered on February 8, 1971, approving the annexation proceedings.

The Township of Hempfield (Appellant) challenges the annexation proceedings because it is claimed the Act of 1953, under which the annexation proceedings took place was no longer in effect having been repealed by constitutional changes which were approved by the electorate of Pennsylvania on April 23, 1968.

The Township argues that since this annexation proceeding was not commenced until June 5, 1969, and since this date followed the date of April 23, 1968, when the constitutional changes were approved by the electorate, the Act of 1953 had been repealed. We do not agree and hold that the annexation proceedings in this case were properly held because the Act of 1953 (Act of July 20, 1953, P.L. 550; 53 P.S. 67501 et seq.) was still in effect.

On April 23, 1968, the electorate of Pennsylvania approved a new local government article for the Pennsylvania Constitution. Section 8, of the new article reads as follows:

"Section 8. Consolidation, merger or boundary change. -- Uniform Legislation. The General Assembly shall, within two years following the adoption of this article, enact uniform legislation establishing the procedure for consolidation, merger or change of the boundaries of the municipalities.

"Initiative. The voters of any municipality shall have the right, by initiative and referendum, to consolidate, merge, and change boundaries by a majority vote of those voting thereon in each municipality, without the approval of any governing body.

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 621]

"Study. The General Assembly shall designate an agency of the Commonwealth to study consolidation, merger and boundary changes, advise municipalities on all problems which might be connected therewith, and initiate local referendum.

"Legislative Power. Nothing herein shall prohibit or prevent the General Assembly from providing additional methods for consolidation, merger or change of boundaries."

Appellant argues that the above Section 8, of the New Local Government Article in the Constitution had the effect of repealing all statutory enactments on the books concerning annexation on April 23, 1968, the date that the electorate of Pennsylvania approved the above new Section 8, of the New Local Government Article.

The power to provide for local government inherently resides in the people. The Legislature receives its authority from the people. Under the Constitution of 1874, this authorization was given by the people to the General Assembly under its plenary powers. In addition to any plenary powers of the Legislature, Section 1 of Article IX (the Local Government Article) states as follows:

"Local Government -- The General Assembly shall provide by general law for local government ...


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