BOROUGH FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Strong Council, Weak Mayor
The present type of government for boroughs in Pennsylvania is the weak mayor form, typical of nineteenth-century municipalities. Boroughs have a strong and dominant council, a weak executive, and other elected officers with powers independent of the council. The governing body of the borough is an elected council.
The mayor is elected to a four-year term; council members are elected to four-year overlapping terms. In Pennsylvania boroughs divided into wards, one, two or three council members are elected from each ward; In Pennsylvania boroughs NOT divided into wards, three, five or seven council members are elected at large; Myerstown Borough Council is composed of seven members elected at-large. The powers of council are broad and extensive, covering virtually the whole range of municipal functions.
The chief administrative officer in most boroughs is the manager, who is appointed by council and is responsible for carrying out the policies and enforcing the ordinances of council, relieving council members from routine daily administration.
Prevalence of Boroughs
Boroughs are the second most common form of municipal government in Pennsylvania; their number is exceeded only by the number of second-class townships. Pennsylvania’s 955 boroughs represent 37.2 percent of all general purpose municipal governments in Pennsylvania. The median number of boroughs per county is 11. The number ranges from one in Forest County to 84 in Allegheny County. Myerstown is one of 7 boroughs in Lebanon County.
Populations of Boroughs
The populations of boroughs vary widely. The boroughs with the largest populations are: State College (Centre County), 42,034; Norristown (Montgomery County), 34,324; Bethel Park (Allegheny County), 32,313; Monroeville (Allegheny County), 28,386; and Plum (Allegheny County), 27,126. The boroughs with the smallest populations are: Centralia (Columbia County), 10; Valley-Hi (Fulton County), 15; S.N.P.J. (Lawrence County), 19; Seven Springs (Somerset County), 26; and Green Hills (Washington County), 29. The median population of a borough in Pennsylvania is 1,320. The population of Myerstown Borough is 3,062 based upon the 2010 federal census, and estimated to be 3,144 based upon the U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Population Estimate.
Sizes of Boroughs
The disparity in the land area of boroughs is equally as great as population. The boroughs with the five largest land area in square miles are: Sugarcreek (Venango County), 37.4; Murrysville (Westmoreland County), 36.9; Plum (Allegheny County), 28.6; Ohioville (Beaver County) 23.3; and Nesquehoning (Carbon County), 21.2. Conversely, five boroughs are less than 0.1 of a square mile in land area; namely, Applewood (Armstrong County), Bear Creek Village (Luzerne County), Coaldale (Bedford County), Shade Gap (Huntingdon County), and Nesquehoning (Bedford County). The land area of Myerstown Borough is 0.856 square miles according the the U.S. Census 2016 Gazateer files.