Charter group releases survey for public

City residents can begin to take a survey meant to guide the Williamsport Charter Commission, which is seeking input as it comes up with a recommendation to be put on the ballot in November on what would be the best form of city government.

The questionnaire, which the commission will review, is available online at

The commission made the survey available just before today’s expected launch date, according to Fred Holland, commission chairman.

The commission is giving people until March 30 to fill out the survey and then will tabulate the results as part of its commitment to reach a recommendation as to what the best form of government would be for Williamsport.

For those without access to a computer, copies of the survey will be available at the James V. Brown Library, the commission said.

The recommendation will be on the November ballot.

The charter commission also has distributed another survey to city government workers, but the results are coming in slower than anticipated. Only 20 percent of the 218 employees have returned it.

To spur that on, department heads are going to be contacted to see if they can motivate workers in their departments to take the survey, Holland said.

A third-class city charter permits four options of government: Strong mayor-City Council, Commission, council-manager, or weak mayor-council governments, according to state law.

The charter commission also is preparing to interview individuals from five other cities with various types of government.

Charter commission members are planning to ask residents in other cities what their form of government is, when it changed to that form, why it was changed and what has been the positive and negatives experienced by the form of government.

The decision by voters in the fall could result in changing the strong mayor-council form of government that has been in place since 1972. However, it also may not change, should the electorate decide to keep it as is.

A separate seven-member commission is preparing a separate survey, which has questions relative to Home Rule Law, but that questionnaire is not yet complete.