Click on a municipality in Pennsylvania to identify it and see its boundaries. Zoom in and move the map using your mouse.
Municipalities are governmental subdivisions of counties. A municipality in Pennsylvania is either a township, a borough (or, in the case of Bloomsburg, an incorporated town), or a city. The responsibilities and powers of municipal governments in Pennsylvania are coded in state law. Municipalities (and counties) do have the right to seek "Home Rule" which can alter some of the procedures, internal organization and powers of their governing bodies to be different from state law. Home Rule municipalities sometimes identify themselves with names other than the standard township, borough or city.
The majority of people have one fixed address which identifies their home residence. Your address determines where your taxes go, who provides basic services, and who you can vote for in local elections. You can reside in only one municipality at a time. Even if a borough, for example, is surrounded by a township, the two are separate jurisdictions and have different sets of elected leaders. Smaller "places" such as villages and towns have no governmental status in Pennsylvania; they are within townships only, subject to the leadership of their township.
Boroughs have generally formed when villages or towns within a township grew and decided to seek separate governance. If granted the permission of its township, its county and the state, a village or town can "incorporate" and became a borough. When a borough feels the need for higher levels of organization and taxation, it can incorporate again to become a city. For that reason, sometimes a borough and/or city has the same name as an adjacent township. To make matters even more confusing, a significant municipality within a county can have the same name as the county. For example, Lancaster County includes Lancaster City which is surrounded along most of its edges by Lancaster Township.
Even more confusing can be the duplication of names among Pennsylvania municipalities. Naming decisions are made locally, within counties. No attention must be given to identical names in other counties. Names can be historical (paying tribute to past politicians or military heroes or past local landowners), cultural (representing the home countries, regions and towns of early settlers or preserving names first used by Native Americans), natural (reflective local native species), or even humorous.
|Types of Municipalities
|Boroughs (and town)