Reporter's Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government

what you really need to know when they send you to a meeting

Home rule

The Home Rule Charter grants Pennsylvania local governments the power to determine for themselves what structure their government will take and what powers it will exercise.

A home rule municipality no longer has its powers and organization determined by the state legislature. Voters of a home rule municipality draft and amend their own charter. The home rule municipality can exercise any power or perform any function not denied by the Constitution, the General Assembly or its own home rule charter. It is not subject to any provisions of the municipal codes.

If you’re covering a municipality with a home rule charter and need to know specifics of its governmental structure, try get a copy of its charter or make friends with an insider who can help you.

As of January 2006, 71 jurisdictions had home rule charters, including six counties, 19 cities, 19 boroughs and 27 townships.


Home rule cities are:

  • Allentown (Lehigh County)
  • Carbondale (Lackawanna County)
  • Chester (Delaware County)
  • Clairton (Allegheny County)
  • Coatesville (Chester County)
  • DuBois (Clearfield County)
  • Farell (Mercer County)
  • Franklin (Venango County)
  • Greensburg (Westmoreland County)
  • Hermitage (Mercer County)
  • Johnstown (Cambria County)
  • Lebanon (Lebanon County)
  • McKeesport (Allegheny County)
  • Philadelphia (Philadelphia County)
  • Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
  • Reading (Berks County)
  • St. Marys (Elk County)
  • Scranton (Lackawanna County)
  • Warren (Warren County)
  • Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)

Home rule boroughs are:

  • Bellevue (Allegheny County)
  • Bethel Park (Allegheny County)
  • Bradford Woods (Allegheny County)
  • Bryn Athyn (Montgomery County)
  • Cambridge Springs (Crawford County)
  • Chalfont (Bucks County)
  • Edinboro (Erie County)
  • Greentree (Allegheny County)
  • Kingston (Luzerne County)
  • Latrobe (Westmoreland County)
  • Monroeville (Allegheny County)
  • Murrysville (Westmoreland County)
  • Norristown (Montgomery County)
  • Portage (Cambria County)
  • State College (Centre County)
  • Tyrone (Blair County)
  • West Chester (Chester County)
  • Whitehall (Allegheny County)
  • Youngsville (Warren County)

Home rule townships are:

  • Cheltenham (Montgomery County)
  • Chester (Delaware County)
  • Elk (Chester County)
  • Ferguson (Centre County)
  • Hampton (Allegheny County)
  • Hanover (Lehigh County)
  • Haverford (Delaware County)
  • Horsham (Montgomery County)
  • Kingston (Luzerne County)
  • McCandless (Allegheny County)
  • Middletown (Delaware County)
  • Mount Lebanon (Allegheny County)
  • O’Hara (Allegheny County)
  • Penn Hills (Allegheny County)
  • Peters (Washington County)
  • Pine (Allegheny County)
  • Plymouth (Montgomery County)
  • Radnor (Delaware County)
  • Richland (Allegheny County)
  • Salisbury (Lehigh County)
  • Tredyffrin (Chester County)
  • Upper Derby (Delaware County)
  • Upper Providence (Delaware County)
  • Upper St. Clair(Allegheny County)
  • West Deer (Allegheny County)
  • Whitehall (Lehigh County)
  • Whitemarsh (Montgomery County)
  • Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)

For more information, see Home Rule in Pennsylvania.


Written by pareporter

April 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm

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