It is puzzlement as to why a Lawrence Township supervisor is afraid to trust his fellow residents’ ability to decide whether to merge with Clearfield Borough.

Though Randy Powell’s real motives remain unknown, recent news stories have made it clear that his claim that the joint committee favoring the merger gave him “kind of a runaround” is hoo-hah.

Powell met with members of the committee for more than an hour on March 22.

Now, we have:

• Powell claiming his questions about the merger were not fully answered.

• Everybody else who was at that meeting claiming that Powell himself “told us it was time well spent and thanked us for our time,” according to Brian Lytle, a schoolteacher and Clearfield Borough Council member.

It does not pass the “smell test” to have one person saying one thing and a half-dozen people, all of whom are known and respected in the community, saying the exact opposite.

Yes, Powell has the legal right to not allow Lawrence Township residents to vote on this important question. That’s the way the process works. The elected officials of Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough should review such proposals to ensure that voters are not asked to decide matters that are frivolous, stupid or clearly wrong.

The idea of merging Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough is not frivolous, stupid or wrong. It is serious, rational and ... complex.

The idea deserves serious study and discussion among all the residents of the two communities.

If the two do not merge and strengthen their finances, they will probably have to cut police, fire and streets/snowplowing services in the years ahead.

On the federal level, the Trump administration plans to end the Community Development Block Grant program that provides money so local governments can afford current levels of service.

On the state level, the Legislature and governors have written fictional budgets for decades, resulting in a perennial spending shortfall of about $2 billion – and a $60 billion pension shortfall that, with current revenues, cannot be paid.

So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that local governments are in trouble.

It does take discussions from all residents to come up with measures to deal with the impending end to large-scale state and federal aid to local communities.

In Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough, however, residents aren’t allowed to decide the issues.

Powell and fellow supervisor Daniel Mitchell won’t allow it. Mitchell has remained silent as to why. Powell is talking ... hoo-hah. That is where the runaround is coming from.

Township residents should demand open and honest explanations from supervisors – and the right to make this momentous decision themselves via the ballot box.

– Denny Bonavita

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