HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Bringing Hermitage and Wheatland together is a plan that’s been a long time in the making and now the voters gave it the green light.

Voters approved the issue Tuesday to merge the two municipalities, according to unofficial election returns.

Hermitage already provides street and police services to Wheatland and more is to come.

Both Wheatland Mayor Ron Viglio and Hermitage City Manager Gary Hinkson said it’s a “win-win” situation.

“I am elated that it passed. I am looking forward to the transition and our community growing and being a part of Hermitage and getting the people much more services,” Viglio said. “I think this is a good time. We are in a good place financially. The council has done a great job of keeping everything in check, and I think this was a good time for us to get with another community and be part of a larger community.

Hinkson said they will have time to prepare for the merger.

“The merger will occur Jan, 1 of 2024, so we’ll have 13 almost 14 months, actually, to transition before the merger takes place,” he said.

One of the biggest changes could be a reduction in property taxes for Wheatland residents, according to Hinkson, but there will be a slight increase in income tax. For Hermitage residents, there wouldn’t be any immediate changes, but the long-term economic role Wheatland could provide could come in the form of more land for expansion.

Both sides say there are some loose ends that will be worked out later if the merger passes, but both municipalities will keep their identities, Viglio and Hinkson said.

The issue didn’t come without some forethought and a thorough investigation. A study was done in 2021 by the Pennsylvania Economy League to look in-depth into the benefit and costs of the merger. You can read the full report below:

Both sides say there are some loose ends that will be worked out later, but both municipalities will keep their identities, Viglio and Hinkson said.

WKBN will be updating you with the latest election results. You can see all of the latest results from other races as well on our website.