Citizens seek borough support for anti-gerrymandering bill

By Eileen Godin -

DALLAS — The borough’s 2018 permit and licenses fee schedule will double the cost of obtaining zoning maps and condition use requests, according to Dallas Borough Council members.

The new fee listing, adopted by a unanimous Dallas Borough Council decision on Jan. 17, will keep the majority of the municipality’s permit and license prices the same as in 2017. However, those requesting zoning maps or text and condition use exceptions will pay $1,000 per request.

The two fees were increased from $500 to cover the cost of advertising the public meetings, which is required under the state law, said Tracey Carr, the borough manager.

The complete permit and license fee schedule is available in the municipal office and will be posted on the borough’s website,

In other news…

Resident Dennis Williams asked council members to pass a resolution in support of Senate Bill 22, which is designed to end gerrymandering in the Commonwealth.

Gerrymandering is a practice of manipulating electoral district boundaries that creates an advantage for the ruling political group.

“Conyngham Township passed the same ordinance we are bringing to the council,” Williams said. “That makes seven boroughs and townships in Luzerne County to support the resolution.”

Under the resolution, an Independent Citizens’ Commission will be formed to redetermine electorial district boundaries, Williams said.

The commission members are selected through an application process, Williams said. Commission applicants must meet several eligibility requirements, which include not having any connections to elected officials, candidates or political party officials, Williams said.

All applications are received by the Secretary of State and are submitted through an approval process.

Council member John Oliver did not seem to think the borough’s acceptance of the resolution would make a difference in the legislation’s passing in the Senate.

“What Dallas Borough does or does not do will not have a bearing on that bill,” Oliver said. “The bill will never see the light of day.”

Five more residents addressed the council, urging them to support the legislation.

The council’s agenda did not have the resolution listed for a vote on Wednesday. None of the five council members made a motion to add it to the itinerary.

After the meeting, Council President Robert Edgerton said borough officials are not against the anti-gerrymandering resolution but want time to learn more about it.

The next borough council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the municipal building.

By Eileen Godin

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.