Big government comes in all sizes.

Belt-tighteners usually point to D.C., but just take a good look around York County.

We have our share of bloated, top-heavy boards that would probably be more effective and cheaper if they shed a seat or two.

Or four.

Earlier this year, Windsor officials decided they didn't really need a seven-member borough council. They sought and received court approval in March to shrink the size to five seats.

They said the move was made after it became harder and harder to find residents to run for open council seats.

"It's been too long ago to remember when we had all the seven members," Windsor Mayor Larry Markel said. "It's a waste of taxpayers' time and effort to try to fill somebody's vacant seat that they don't want."


More like reality.

There are only 1,300 people living in the borough. With seven-member council, that's one representative per 186 residents.

Compare that to York Township, where the population of 28,000 makes do with a board of commissioners of only five — or one commissioner for every 5,600 residents.

North York is the latest York County municipality to look in the mirror and notice a few extra pounds.

Borough council Vice President Rick Shank recently asked fellow members to consider dropping two seats, downsizing the council from seven members to five.

"I really think we could do this with a council of five," he said, noting the borough's population of just over 1,900.


These Windsor and North York officials are examples of a good public servant — someone who acts in the best interests of constituents even if it puts him or her out of a job.

Granted, it's a part-time, barely paid position, but still

The number of board seats was set under state codes at a time when the boroughs were actually the most populated areas of the county, according to Felicia Dell, director of York County Planning Commission.

A hundred years or more later, some of the smallest areas of population now have the biggest boards, she said.

Realistically, many of our boroughs probably could do with fewer than five members on their councils.

For instance, state law allows a borough the size of North York to reduce its council to as little as three members.

Why not?

If the council is considering downsizing, it might as well think big.