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Group Still Working on Petition to Reduce Council

Councilman Rich Russo said signatures are still needed for a petition that would reduce Canonsburg Council from nine to seven members.

Group Still Working on Petition to Reduce Council

Of all the municipalities in Washington County, Borough Council has the most elected representatives.

That’s one reason why Canonsburg Councilman Rich Russo said he and a group of residents is working to petition the court to reduce council from nine to seven members.

“Not one community has more than seven representatives that govern their borough, township or city,” he said.

Russo said that while the idea had been in his mind for years, the conversation among a group of about 10 like-minded folks started about six months ago.

Since then, the group has been working to get signatures for the petition.

In order for the petition to be considered by Washington County court, the group must acquire the signatures of 5 percent of the electorate in the borough.

Russo said that while that means the group must secure 300 signatures, its goal is 400.

Right now, between 280 and 290 people have signed the petition—and Russo said they have until the end of the month to get the rest.

And he said there are a couple good reasons to put your John Hancock on the petition.

For one, he said it would save money. Because each council member receives a small salary, the loss of two would equate to an approximate $4,000 to $5,000 a year savings.

Then there’s the efficiency factor.

“We will certainly become more efficient,” Russo said. “Nine is a big number. It’s hard to come to a consensus with that many people.”

He added that at a time when it is sometimes difficult to find qualified candidates to fill positions, having a seven-member board might help “the cream rise to the top.”

Russo added that if the group can attain the appropriate number of signatures, the matter would go to Washington County court for a decision.

If the court renders a favorably decision, Russo said the downsize would not happen until the 2014 primary election.

He encouraged anyone interested in signing the petition to call him at 724-263-2518.

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