For years, approved legislation for the Township of Leacock in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was kept in a book of ordinances that secretaries, managers, staff and citizens would refer to as needed to search for or verify information about local laws. As new ordinances were passed, they were inserted into the book, often without replacing older ordinances that were no longer active. The many conflicting ordinances caused a great deal of confusion for staff and constituents and made it more difficult for them to find and verify the latest legislation on a particular topic. “[The book] became very cumbersome to work with, and very time consuming,” admits Frank Howe, Secretary-Treasurer of the Township.
The Solution: Codification
Mr. Howe knew that in order to alleviate many of his concerns, creating a formal code for the Township would be the best solution. This would give the Township the opportunity to have a code that is organized, free of redundancies, continually updated and enforceable. Because he knew of General Code’s experience and had met the Pennsylvania Account Manager, Howe called on the company to handle the codification process.
Howe had always considered codification, but delayed it for many years. “I kept thinking that [codification] was going to be extremely costly and would chew up so much time and effort that I just didn’t want to deal with it,” said Howe. Happily, General Code put many of his concerns to rest.
“When we went through the codification process, General Code made it simple,” said Howe. “They eliminated all the duplication—got rid of all of the old stuff so just all the current stuff was there. And they categorized it in a way that made it very easy to find. What used to take me a half hour or an hour to research, I could now find in five or ten minutes,” he added.
The added value of eCode360®
General Code was also able to give the Township of Leacock something it had never had before; an online code. With the Township’s code on the eCode360 platform, code users now had immediate access to the most up to date information about Leacock’s laws and offered many powerful tools they could use to view and share information. “If [code users] are looking for specific subjects, [eCode360] makes it much easier for them to find it and get the correct information. It’s made the ordinances much more accessible and understandable to the public,” said Howe.
Asked if codification should be considered by other municipalities that may need a formal code, Howe had this piece of advice. “Don’t fear the process,” said Howe. “General Code made it relatively easy for us to make that step. It wasn’t a burden on us. They did the hard work, and we got a good product in the end,” he concluded.
About the Codifier
For more than 55 years, General Code has worked to improve the way municipalities connect with the people and information that are vital to shaping their communities—and the way they live. Through access to our industry-leading technology and partnership with knowledgeable and highly-skilled codification experts, we empower those we serve by providing the tools to help them achieve a higher standard of efficiency, productivity and quality in their work.