Home Rule History & Information

A history of home rule in Ferguson Township

Home Rule Charter and the Code of Ordinances of the Township of Ferguson, as of December, 2003. Located in Centre County and first settled in 1791, the Township was incorporated in January, 1801, from Patton Township.

Home Rule Charter History

The Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, Act 62 of 1972, provided all local governments in Pennsylvania the unique opportunity of true "home rule." In August, 1972, petitions were circulated in Ferguson Township soliciting signatures in support of putting a question on the ballot for the establishment of a Government Study Commission to study the form of government of the Township. On November 7, 1972, the electors voted in favor of a Commission and selected 9 members with the task of studying present Township government and the alternative of a Home Rule Charter.

On March 14, 1974, the final report of the Government Study Commission recommended a Home Rule Charter, which was approved on May 21, 1974, by a vote of 919 to 398. The Charter was to become effective on January 5, 1976.

Codification of Ordinances

During 1975 the Board of Supervisors also authorized the codification of Township ordinances beginning with Ordinance 27(b), May 22, 1953. From that date through May 11, 1976, 73 ordinances and 13 resolutions of a legislative nature have been enacted. In the preparation of the codification, these 73 ordinances and 13 resolutions were taken into consideration. Each was carefully analyzed and compared with State law, court decisions and any later enactments on the same subject, and was further considered as to modern needs and conditions in the Township. They were also studied in light of the soon to be effective Home Rule Charter.

Following preparation of preliminary recommendations as to retention, amendment, or repeal of the various enactments, as well as to new enactments considered necessary, the codifiers held meetings with the Board of Supervisors and other key Township officials in the afternoon and evening of December 11, 1975.

Subsequently, the codifiers prepared 33 ordinances and 5 resolutions to be considered by the Board of Supervisors. On April 13, 1976, Ordinances 74 through 105 and Resolutions 76-2 through 76-6 were enacted. Following a public hearing,

Ordinance 106 and Resolution 76-7, amending the zoning and subdivision regulations, respectively, were enacted on May 11, 1976. Also enacted on that date were Ordinances 107 and 108.

One of the new enactments prepared was an Administrative Code. This was done with the help of a Transition Committee appointed by the Board of Supervisors which worked with Penns Valley Publishers and Bartell Associates in preparing this ordinance. Bartell Associates also, with the assistance of the Transition Committee, prepared various personnel regulations for the Township in its new form of government.

On January 13, 1987, the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors entered into a contract with Penns Valley Publishers to recodify and republish the code. This recodification of the Code of Ordinances was adopted by the Board of Supervisors as Ordinance Number 374 dated January 10, 1989.

Since this recodification of Township ordinances and resolutions annual and semi annual updates of the Code of Ordinances occurred.

Code of Ordinances on the Internet

On May 20, 2002, the Board of Supervisors entered into a contract with Keystate Publishers to complete a recodification of the Code of Ordinances to make the code more readable, to incorporate significant changes in the ordinance of the Township, make easier access through CD-ROM, and to place the Code of Ordinances on the internet. The Board of Supervisors and Township staff completed reviews of two manuscripts of the new code prior to a final document being ready for approval by the Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on December 8, 2003. This recodification included all relevant ordinances and resolutions as well as amendments to the existing Code of Ordinances.

Effective April 1, 2016, the Board of Supervisors entered into an agreement with General Code to make Township ordinances accessible on the Internet. View details about accessing the Code of Ordinances here.