CLEARFIELD – Voters in DuBois City and Sandy Township will have the final say on the proposed consolidation of the two municipalities.
On Tuesday, the Clearfield County Board of Elections approved duplicate citizen petitions from both municipalities, putting the consolidation referendum question on the Nov. 2 election ballot.
The question reads: “Shall the Township of Sandy and the City of DuBois consolidate to form a new third-class city to be called the City of DuBois?”
If it passes, the new municipality would be governed by a seven-member council elected at-large, one of whom will be mayor, with an elected treasurer and controller and an appointed manager.
According to Township Supervisor Sam Mollica, citizen petitions were circulated after his fellow supervisors suddenly terminated the consolidation study with DuBois City in June.
“We needed to do something to get the consolidation on the ballot, so the citizens of both Sandy and DuBois could have their voices heard, and not just that of four supervisors,” he said.
And Barry Abbott of DuBois agreed and helped circulate the petition, as he believed – strongly – that the city and township should consolidate into a third-class city.
“It would be better for our residents,” Abbott said.
County Solicitor Heather Bozovich said both petitions satisfied statutory requirements, like being filed timely July 27, having collected enough voter signatures in both municipalities, etc.
She said 326 signatures were collected in DuBois City and 641 in Sandy Township, exceeding the required 5 percent of citizens who voted in the last election for governor.
Pennsylvania state consolidation/merger statute states that when election officials find that a petition is satisfactory, they must approve the petition.
Copies of the petition (without signatures) will be served to the affected governing bodies, which includes DuBois City Council, Sandy Township Supervisors and DuBois Area School District.
Bozovich and Commissioner Dave Glass emphasized the board’s approval wasn’t for or against consolidation. “It’s just to put it on the ballot,” Glass said.
Glass went on to thank Mollica and Abbott for “picking up the ball” that the supervisors dropped, and giving the citizens of both municipalities a chance to be heard.