Another PEL Third-Class City Merger Project Moves Forward

Source: Pennsylvania Economy League

Another PEL Third-Class City Merger Project Moves Forward in Western PA

The city of Hermitage unanimously approved the merger agreement last week with Wheatland borough. The potential merger between the two Mercer County municipalities will now be on the ballot in November for residents to consider.

The vote was unanimous and there was no public opposition. Wheatland Borough Council approved the merger agreement earlier in July. Hermitage has a population of 16,230 compared to the Wheatland population of 585.

If successful, the merger would represent the second third-class city combination in 30 years. Residents of the city of DuBois and Sandy Township approved a consolidation of those two communities in November 2021 following a PEL consolidation report.

PEL has worked with Wheatland since 2018 to improve finances and services in the small community.

Key Success Factors

  • PEL encouraged Wheatland to contract its public works services from Hermitage in an initial phase. Wheatland already received police services from Hermitage. Since the borough received most public services from the city, merger was the next logical step.
  • PEL worked with Wheatland to improve its fiscal health such as becoming home rule to increase its tax flexibility. As a result, Wheatland has a solid tax base and was a more attractive partner for merger.

Read the Wheatland Merger Report