Update to Boundary Change Procedures

October 26th, 2023

Recently, you should have received a letter from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) on the new procedures following a municipal boundary change.

The letter is to draw your attention to two boundary-related topics:

First, boundary change and reporting processes were amended through Act 41 of 2022. As always, it is important to also seek detailed guidance from your solicitor on specific timing and reporting responsibilities in these matters. Please note the following points from Act 41 of 2022:

  • Reenacts provisions of the Second Class Township Code, First Class Township Code, Borough Code and Third Class City Code that allow a court of common pleas to establish a legal territorial boundary where the existing boundary is in dispute
  • Requires consistent notification of county and state officials and agencies of the boundary change. After an effective boundary change, municipal officials submit a report to:
    • The appropriate county board of elections
    • The Department of Community and Economic Development
    • The Department of Transportation
    • The Governor’s Office of Policy Development
    • The Department of Education
    • The State Tax Equalization Board
    • The Legislative Data Processing Committee
  • Establishes a new process by which municipal officials from adjoining municipal corporations can make an agreement by ordinance to adjust a municipal boundary or settle a dispute where an existing boundary is unclear.
  • Clarifies and establishes the rights and responsibilities of municipalities after a change of boundary occurs.

As a best practice, please also contact the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services at 888.223.6837 whenever considering a boundary change so that a staff member may provide you with technical assistance and resources during the process.

Second, you will notice a subtle change in the annual Boundary and Annexation Survey from the US Census Bureau starting in January 2024. Rather than soliciting that you transmit information on boundary changes directly to Census, it is simply a reminder to report them as required in Act 41 and outlined above. That will enable DCED to report statewide changes for the entire year in a consolidated report. Benefits include efficiency and long-term data management.