You are here

Borough Organization


Our Mission

      The Borough of Chambersburg is a municipal government in southcentral Pennsylvania committed to the well being of those people who live, work, play and travel in the community. We will strive to: 1.) furnish such quality service as our citizens want and are willing to pay for; 2. ) manage our human, financial and physical resources in the most efficient and effective manner; 3.) treat our employees, citizens and visitors with fairness, respect and equality; 4.) protect persons, property and quality of life; 5.) operate in accordance with the laws and constitutions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States of America; 6.) make Chambersburg the model for Pennsylvania communities. (Adopted: April 22, 1992)

Our Community Vision

      On November 17, 2008 Town Council adopted a new Comprehensive Plan for the Borough of Chambersburg that included the following Vision for the Community: "The Borough of Chambersburg is endowed with remarkable heritage, neighborhood character and a downtown that when combined provides for a viable quality of life for our residents. In order to sustain our community, the vision is to effectively preserve, conserve and enhance historic resources, revitalize the downtown and older neighborhoods, provide affordable housing, provide excellent public facilities and services, and expand opportunities for economic development."

Profile of the Borough

      Chambersburg, one of the earliest permanent settlements west of the Susquehanna River, was founded in 1764 by Benjamin Chambers on land granted to him by the Penn proprietors. Chambersburg was incorporated as a Borough by an Act of the State Legislators in 1803 and by this Act of Incorporation, its form of government was defined. The administration of the town's affairs was placed in the hands of the Burgess and the Town Council who were elected by the voters of the community. Town Council is the legislative and governing body with power to enact ordinances "to promote the peace, good order, benefit and advantage of the said Borough, It and to assess taxes and appropriate the proceeds thereof. The Burgess (now Mayor) is the elected officer empowered to "carry into effect all by-laws (ordinances and regulations) enacted by the Council and whatever else shall be enjoined on him for the well-ordering and governing of the said Borough." The Borough of Chambersburg is unique in that it owns and operates its electric, gas, water and sewer systems and also performs many other general government functions. The growth of the community and the complexities of government have gone far beyond the dreams of those who drafted the original Act of Incorporation. By an ordinance approved in December of 1975, Town Council created the Office of the Borough Manager. The Borough Manager is the chief administrative officer of the Borough and is responsible to the Town Council as a whole for the proper and efficient administration of the affairs of the Borough. The Manager is assisted in his functions by the Assistant Borough Manager whose duty is to replace the manager during his absence as well as perform other functions as directed by the manager.

Organization of the Borough

Annual Budget

      The annual budget is prepared by staff using a time-consuming process that takes several months. It is the responsibility of the Borough Manager to present a balanced budget for Council's review by November. It then becomes the responsibility of Council to accept the Borough Manager's proposed budget or to amend it before its necessary advertisement and adoption in December.

      The adopted budget is the single most import action of the Council each year. It sets out the funding for the Borough and the plan as to how to spend that money. The budget is, in fact, a plan and not an accounting of actual revenues and expenditures. To find out how the year actually went, one needs to review the audit. The audit is issued several months into the next financial year.

2021 Budget Summary As Adopted by Town Council December 2020

Comprehensive Plan

      While continued change is a virtual certainty, considerable uncertainty exists about how the future may unfold for Chambersburg and what the Borough may be like in 5, 10 and 20 years. This was one of the key motivations in updating the Borough's comprehensive plan in November 2008, to positively influence the direction and momentum of change to ensure that Chambersburg continues to be the kind of livable, welcoming place in which people want to both live and work. The Comprehensive Plan becomes the means by which the citizens of Chambersburg define the community's character, its identity, improve the economy and retain talented youth while preserving the historic character of the community.

      In addition to addressing the opportunities and challenges of the future, the Comprehensive Plan also addresses shortcomings. While we continue to be a community that cares, resources are identified in order to fully embrace diversity and ensure equal opportunity for all. Strong leaders in government, business, and local institutions, have not always agreed on priorities, nor have been unified by a shared vision or a common sense of direction. The Comprehensive Plan is a shared vision and direction which will allow Chambersburg to face the future with confidence and optimism.

Comprehensive Planning Process

Local Laws

      Excerpt from the Borough Council Handbook: A borough's council is involved primarily in a legislative role. Their legislative role is of primary importance because the actions they take in deciding the laws governing the borough affect not only the people within the borough, but also those outside the borders as well. The Council becomes involved in initiating new laws or in passing judgment on the legal proposals of other officials. Because the actions of a governing body have an impact and potential consequences on n entire municipality, the methods for taking official action are specified in the Borough Code and other state laws. Although official binding actions may be taken on the basis of an ordinance, a resolution or a motion, the Code requires all legislative acts to be taken by ordinance or resolution. An ordinance is generally defined as a local law of a municipal corporation of a general or permanent nature. In some cases the Code specifies when an ordinance should be used. If no specific direction is given in the Code then an ordinance should be used if the matter has general application or is of a permanent nature. A resolution on the other hand is considered as being less formal than an ordinance and used when the matter under discussion is either specific or of a temporary nature, pertains to the transaction of current business or ordinary administration of municipal affairs. The Borough Code is the state law that governs boroughs. The borough's Code of Ordinances is the local law.

Link to Our Borough Code of Ordinance


Population (2016) 20,691
Housing Units (1990) 7,613
Area 6.58 square miles
Borough Roads 58 miles
State Roads within the Borough 12 miles
Parks / Playgrounds Borough 71 Acres & School 44 Acres
County Government Franklin County
Public Schools Chambersburg Area School District
Schools (in Borough) Andrew Buchanan Elementary School
Benjamin Chambers Elementary School
Corpus Christi Catholic School
Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School
Chambersburg Area Middle School South
Chambersburg Area Middle School North
Chambersburg Area Senior High School