Borough Government

How large is the Borough of Carlisle?

Carlisle Borough comprises 5.5 square miles in the center of the Cumberland Valley in south-central Pennsylvania.  The population of Carlisle according to the latest Census was 18,572.

 How old is the Borough of Carlisle?

 The Borough of Carlisle was founded in 1751.

 How is the Borough of Carlisle governed?

The Borough of Carlisle operates under a Home Rule Charter with a “Council-Manager” structure. Carlisle is governed by a seven-member Council, consisting of six Council Members, elected at large to staggered four-year terms, and a Mayor, elected at large to a four-year term.

The Mayor shall preside over Council and sign all ordinances. The Mayor shall be the official representative of the Borough, shall have the right to declare public emergencies pursuant to the Pennsylvania Borough Code and shall have such other rights and duties as provided by law, this Charter, or ordinance. The Mayor shall chair the public safety committee and is an ex officio member of all other Borough committees. The Mayor shall vote as a member of Council and shall have no veto power.

The Council shall organize on the first Monday of January of each even-numbered year. During the organizational meeting, Council shall elect one Council Member to serve as Deputy Mayor. The Deputy Mayor will chair meetings of Council when the Mayor is absent, and may exercise the authority of the Mayor in the case of a temporary absence of the Mayor.

Council shall appoint a Borough Manager, who will shall not be a member of Council. The appointment or dismissal of the Borough Manager shall be by affirmative vote of at least four members of the Council and dismissal need not be for cause. The Borough Manager shall be the chief administrative officer of Carlisle and shall be responsible to Council for the administration and management of all municipal affairs placed in the Borough Manager’s charge. 

Where is Borough Hall located and what are the hours of operation?

Borough Hall is located at 53 W. South Street in Carlisle.   The Borough Office can be reached by phone at 717-249-4422.  Borough Hall is open from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding holidays.

Who is my Council Member and how may I contact him/her?

Council members are elected at large in the Borough.  Click here to see the current Borough Council.  Citizens who would like to contact a council member should call the Borough office at 717-249-4422.

When does Borough Council meet?

Borough Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month  in Borough Hall at 53 W. South Street. Public hearings on specific issues are often held before the regularly scheduled Council meting.  Public hearings and any additional or special Council meetings required are advertised in the local newspaper no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting. 

How do I get something on the agenda or address the Council at a Borough Council meeting?

To place an item on the agenda or to speak on a specific issue, contact the Office of the Borough Manager at 717-249-4422. Items appearing on the Agenda receive prior approval of the Borough Manager. To speak on an item already on the agenda, simply let the Borough Manager, Borough Secretary, Mayor, or a Council Member know that you are there to speak on a specific item, and you will be called on when the item is discussed. Citizens who desire to speak on a topic not on the printed agenda will be provided an opportunity under the “New Business” portion of the meeting. You are asked to limit your comments to five minutes, excluding questions from Council.

If I want to voice my concern (or compliment) about Borough services or a Borough department or employee, what do I do?

If you know the specific department you wish to contact please call or e-mail them directly (click here for the Borough departments). The Borough Manager is responsible for the day to day operations of the Borough.  You may to contact the Borough Manager’s office at 717-249-4422, or write to the: Borough Hall, 53 W. South Street, Carlisle, PA  17013.

Where can I get a copy of the Municipal Code Book or any other ordinance?

The Code of the Borough of Carlisle can be accessed online.  Citizens desiring to see a copy of the Code of the Borough of Carlisle may visit the Borough Office at 53 W. South Street.  A copy of the Code of the Borough of Carlisle is also available at the Bosler Free Library, 158 W. High Street.

How can I be sure a Carlisle address is actually located in the Borough and not in a surrounding township?

The Borough of Carlisle will occasionally receive requests for services that fall outside of the Borough limits. Places in surrounding townships will have a Carlisle mailing address, but will not actually be located in the Borough. If you are unsure whether an address is located in the Borough our not, you can visit the Municipal Statistics website, which is run by the state of Pennsylvania. Once you enter the street address, the site will tell you what municipality it is located in.

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Building Codes, Permits, Inspections

Are building permits required in the Borough?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has adopted a Uniform Construction Code which requires all municipalities to comply with most sections of the following codes:

•         International Building Code
•         Residential Code
•         Mechanical Code
•         Plumbing Code
•         Electrical Code
•         Fuel Gas Code
•         Fire Code
•         Energy Conservation Code
•         Existing Building Code
•         Urban Wildlife Interface Code

 Most of these codes require permits for work done to comply with the requirements of the code.  Residents are encouraged to contact the Building Department at 717-240-6930 or to determine whether or not a building or other permit is required prior to beginning any work or project which may be governed by these codes.

Do building contractors have to be registered in the Borough? 

The Borough of Carlisle requires plumbers to be licensed to operate in the Borough.  There is no requirement for other contractors to be registered to work in the Borough.  To obtain information on the licensing of plumbers please contact the Building Department at 717-240-6930 or

Where can I get a copy of the City Building Code and other construction codes?

Copies of the building code are available for review or purchase in the Building Department at Borough Hall, 53 W. South Street.

Does Carlisle have a Property Maintenance Code?

The Borough of Carlisle is governed by the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code.  Borough of Carlisle residents take great pride in the cleanliness of the Borough.  This is in the best interests of all residents as a well maintained community translates directly into higher property values and greater economic development.  Residents who have property maintenance concerns should contact the Code Enforcement Office at 717-240-6930 or

What about chimineas and outdoor fireplaces?

In the past several years outdoor fire pits, chimineas and fireplaces have become very popular and readily available at local retailers. Staff has been receiving a growing number of complaints about these products concerning fire safety and smoke related complaints with their use.  Open burning is prohibited in all districts in the borough; however any of these products can be used for grilling and food preparation.  Some of these products do have flues, such as chimineas and outdoor fireplaces, and are not considered open burning.  Some of these models are now offered with gas burners that can easily be shut off like a gas grill. There seems to be some confusion about what is legal and what is not.  If the resident is “cooking” on one of these devices it is considered grilling and is legal as long as the resident is using the product in a safe manner.

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Carlisle Historic District

What is the Carlisle Historic District?

The Carlisle Historic District is an intact collection of architecturally significant residential, commercial and public buildings constructed primarily between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Located in the center of Carlisle Borough, the district includes most of the original 1741 town plan.  Throughout its history, the Carlisle Historic District has been of local importance as a governmental and commercial center.  As delineated, the district is roughly bounded on the north by Louther Street, on the east by the LeTort Spring Run, in the South by E. South and Walnut Streets, and on the west by College and West Streets.  Its period of significance, 1751 to 1950, begins with Carlisle’s founding as the county seat of the newly established Cumberland County, and ends at the fifty year cutoff date.  The Carlisle Historic District is located at the center of one of the most preserved communities of its size in the region, containing an intact collection of late 18th through mid 20th century residential, commercial and public buildings. 

Are there any special requirements for properties in the Carlisle Historic District?

The Carlisle Historic District was established by ordinance 1197 on August 14, 1975.  On April 20, 1978, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved the Carlisle Historic District for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places.  The Carlisle Historic District was subsequently listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

According to the Historic District Preservation Ordinance, no building permit or sign permit for work affecting the exterior of a building or buildings in the Historic District may be issued until the Carlisle Borough Council has approved a Certificate of Appropriateness.  This includes any permit for erection, reconstruction, exterior alteration, restoration, sandblasting, demolition or razing of a building in existence or a building to be built in the Historic District.  Prior to consideration of a request by Borough Council, however, the project must be reviewed by the Board of Historical and Architectural Review (HARB), which will provide an advisory recommendation to Borough Council.  Borough Council meets on the second Thursday of each month to consider, among other items, requests for Certificates of Appropriateness.  The HARB normally meets on the Monday of the week prior to the Council meeting.  Applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness should be submitted to the Zoning Officer ten days prior to the HARB meeting.

An excellent reference on the Carlisle Historic District is the Reference Book for Property Owners, Carlisle Historic District.

How does the HARB decide whether or not proposed changes to a property are appropriate?

As an advisory board, the HARB is required to follow the provisions and procedures detailed in the Historic Preservation District Ordinance.  The Historic District Guidelines that aid the HARB in advising Borough Council were approved by the council and form the basis for making all recommendations to Council for Certificates of Appropriateness. The guidelines are based on the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties.

An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness can be found here.

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Economic Development

What do I have to do to start a business in Carlisle?

Neither the Borough of Carlisle nor Cumberland County licenses businesses in Carlisle.  Prospective business owners need to contact the Zoning Department, 717-240-6930, to ensure the business is permitted in the applicable zoning district and to obtain a Zoning Permit.  In addition, any physical changes to the property may require building and other construction permits. 

Prospective business owners in the downtown Central Business District are encouraged to contact the Downtown Carlisle Association at (717) 245-2648 on business opportunities in downtown Carlisle.   


Does the Borough have incentive programs to assist small business?

The Borough, along with the Redevelopment Authority of Cumberland County and the Downtown Carlisle Association offers a number of programs to potentially assist prospective new business owners in Carlisle.  These include facade improvement grants, a signage grant program and a low interest loan program.  In addition, most of the downtown central business district is located in a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA) district which provides for exemption from portions of real property taxes for improvements to a deteriorated property or for new construction. 

Prospective business owners are encouraged to contact the Downtown Carlisle Association at (717) 245-2648, the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority at 717-249-0789 or the Borough of Carlisle at 717-249-4422 to find out about available business opportunities in Carlisle.  

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How do I license my dog?

Dog licenses are issued by Cumberland County in the County Treasurer’s Office in the CountyCourthouse, One Courthouse Square in Carlisle.  Visit the County web site at for additional information. 

Does the Borough accept credit cards for payment for utilities and other services? Can I have payments automatically deducted from my checking or other accounts?

The Borough accepts MasterCard, VISA, and Discover cards for payment of utilities and other Borough services. The Borough does allow automatic deductions from a checking or other accounts.  The resident has a choice of a one time deduction or a regular quarterly deduction.  Please click here for additional information and to establish an on-line account.

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Fire Department

How do I report a fire, medical, or other emergency call?

Dial 9-1-1


Where is the best place to place the smoke detector?
Place smoke detectors in the corridors leading into bedrooms. Mount the detector in the middle of the ceiling or twelve inches down from the ceiling if mounted on a wall.

If you live in a two-story home, place the detector at the top of the stairwell. Never place the detector close to a kitchen or bathroom. If possible, place a smoke detector on every level of the home.


Are carbon monoxide detectors really needed?

Absolutely! Carbon monoxide is a silent, deadly killer. Potential carbon monoxide sources in the home are clogged or blocked chimneys, portable heaters, gas or wood burning fireplaces, a leaking chimney pipe or flue, gas clothes dryers, and vehicle exhaust. These detectors are well worth the investment.


What do I do when I see an emergency vehicle approaching when I am driving?

Always remember to safely pull your vehicle to the right when you see an emergency vehicle approaching. Never stop in the middle of the road or precede though an intersection against the signals. An oncoming vehicle going through the intersection might not see you in time. Always pull to the right whenever possible.


Why does the fire department punch a hole in the roof of a house when it is on fire?

When there is a fire in a closed structure, the fire and smoke build up and move upward until it cannot go up any farther. Smoke travels upward until something stops it like a ceiling or a roof. At this time, the smoke mushrooms outward filling the structure. If the firefighters punch a hole in the roof, the smoke is able to escape. If there are victims inside, this could better enable them to breathe and be more easily located by the firefighters. If the firefighters ventilate the structure, the heat will dissipate and the firefighters can more easily locate the fire and extinguish it.


Can we schedule a fire engine presentation or station tour?

Yes. If you are interested in a tour, contact the Borough Fire Chief at 717-240-6909 to schedule a time.


What is the best kind of extinguisher for my house?

A multipurpose fire extinguisher is best for the home. Look for the rating to be at least 2A:10B,C on the label. This extinguisher can be used on any type of fire commonly found in the home. It will often be labeled A-B-C.

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Personnel/Risk Management/Employment

How do I apply for a job opening in Carlisle Borough?

Available positions are advertised in the local newspaper and on the Borough’s Web Site (click here for current job openings).  The Human Resources/Risk Management Department accepts applications for all job openings. Applicants are required to complete an application. A resume and cover letter may be attached. Applications are available at the Reception Area and in the Human Resources/Risk Management Department located in Borough Hall at 53 W. South Street.   

How do I apply for a police officer position?

Approximately every two years, the Police Department conducts a written civil service examination for public safety employees. Those candidates who successfully pass the written exam are scheduled for an oral interview followed by a physical agilities test.  After all the examinations have been successfully completed, candidates are placed on an eligibility list. Appointments to the Police Department are considered when a vacancy occurs.  Call 243-5252 to find out when the next round of testing is to take place.  


How do I report a property damage or personal injury claim in the Borough?

Anyone who believes they have a property damage or personal injury claim should contact the Human Resources/Risk Management office at 717-249-4422.   The Human Resources Specialist/Risk Manager will provide the necessary information and forms for submitting a claim.  The Human Resources Specialist/Risk Manager will advise the claimant on any subsequent actions required and how the claimant will be kept informed of the status of the complaint.

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Parks and Recreation

Where is the Parks and Recreation Office and what are the hours?

The Parks and Recreation Department Office is located in the Stuart Community Center at 415 Franklin Street, Carlisle, PA 17013.  The Community Center office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For more information on the Parks and Recreation Department click here.

How do register for activities?

  • Click here to view open activities, and register online.
  • Call (717) 243-3318 with your credit card information.
  • Come in to see us at the Stuart Community Center, 415 Franklin Street.  We accept cash, credit or personal checks.

How can I find out where the parks are located in Carlisle?

For a list of parks in the Borough click here or call the Parks and Recreation Office at (717) 243-3318.

Is alcohol allowed in the parks?

Alcoholic beverages are NOT permitted in Borough parks.

What time do parks close?

Park properties are open to the public daily from dawn until dusk. No person should be present in these areas between dusk and dawn without the prior approval of the Director of Parks and Recreation unless posted differently at the park location.

Are pavilions and other parks and recreation facilities available for rental?

Pavilions are available for rent at three parks: LeTort Park, Biddle Mission Park, and Valley Meadows Park; and the Carlisle Community Pool.  The amphitheater You may also rent the cabin at Shaffer Park for youth retreats, workshops, family reunions, or meetings. The Stuart Community Center gym and multi-purpose rooms are available for rental Monday – Saturday 8am to 11pm and Sunday 12pm to 11pm.  Call (717) 243-3318 for information and rates.

Are pets allowed in the parks?

Dogs must be on a leash at all times. The pet owner is responsible for removal of all waste deposited on park property. Remember this is a play space for you and your family!  Dogs are prohibited in Memorial Park and Dickinson Park.

Do I need a permit to prune or remove a tree? 

A permit is required for trees between the street and the sidewalk.  Permits are free of charge and obtained by contacting Parks and Recreation.  For more information on the Borough of Carlisle’s Shade Tree program click here.

Do you have an outdoor pool and what are the hours?

The Carlisle Parks and Recreation Department oversees the Carlisle Community Pool at 1236 Franklin Street.  The pool is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.  You may pay a daily admission fee at the pool or purchase a season pool pass at the Recreation Office, 415 Franklin Street.  Operational Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12pm-7pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-6pm

Are there any jobs available in Parks and Recreation? 

The Carlisle Parks and Recreation Department hires part time positions throughout the year, mainly during the summer months.  Some positions start at age 15.

Does Parks and Recreation sell discounted amusement park tickets?

Each year the Carlisle Parks and Recreation Department sells amusement park tickets at a discounted rate from May through September.  For a list of locations and prices email us at or call (717) 243-3318.


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Planning and Zoning

How can I determine how my property is zoned and what is permitted in that zoning district?

Zoning maps are available at Borough Hall, 53 W. South Street.  Copies of the Carlisle Zoning Ordinance are also available for review at Borough Hall or are available here.  Residents are reminded that zoning issues may be complex.  Questions and clarifications should be addressed to the Carlisle Zoning Officer at 717-240-6930 or to


Are Zoning Permits required in the Borough?

The Carlisle Zoning Ordinance requires a Zoning Permit in conjunction with any required building permit, special exception or variance or for any new use or change of use before construction or alteration of any building or structure, prior to the change or extension of a nonconforming use, and prior to any initial use or change of use.  A Zoning Permit, if required, must be issued prior to or simultaneously with any other required permits.  Applications for Zoning and other permits may be obtained from the Building Department, 53 W. South Street or are available here.


Is there a way to get relief from the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance to exceed permissible area and bulk requirements or to use the property for something not permitted in the Zoning Ordinance?

Under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Code property owners have the right to appeal zoning determinations made by the Zoning Officer to a Zoning Hearing Board.  The Zoning Hearing Board usually meets on the first Thursday of each month in Borough Hall, 53 W. South Street.  Applications for variances and other relief from the Zoning Ordinance must be submitted to the Zoning Officer no later than three weeks prior to the next meeting date. Questions and clarifications on zoning issues should be addressed to the Carlisle Zoning Officer at 717-240-6930 or to   A copy of the Citizen’s Guide to the Zoning Hearing Board is available at the Zoning Office in Borough Hall.

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Police Department

Does the Borough Police Department have a ride along program?

As a general practice, the Carlisle Police Department encourages ride-alongs. Individuals are permitted to participate in police ride-alongs in order to facilitate or enhance educational programs, assist members of the media, promote a positive department image, allow government officials to gain first hand knowledge of department operations, or otherwise provide an opportunity for individuals with legitimate interests to observe department operations.

Do I have to give my name when reporting criminal activity?

To effectively combat crime in a community it is important that citizens get involved and provide their names and act as complainants and/or witnesses. However, if you are uncomfortable about providing your name, address or phone number, you can still report suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Citizens do not have to give their name, address or phone number when reporting suspected criminal activity. If callers do not give their name or are unwilling to be a complainant, the officer’s enforcement options may be limited unless the police can otherwise corroborate the criminal activity.

How can I obtain a copy of a police/accident report?

Many police reports and all accident reports fall under public records accessibility. The best way to obtain a police report is to go through the Right to Know procedure, cost will depend on the number of documents provided.  The best way to obtain an accident report is to either make a written request or call the police department Monday-Friday, between 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Information such as names of involved parties and date and location of the incident are needed. There is a $15.00 fee for accident report copies.


Does the Police Department provide home/business security Evaluations?

Yes. Under our Crime Prevention initiative, we will have a Carlisle Police Officer do a security survey of a property and make recommendations to make the property more secure. There is no fee for this service.


Does the Police Department provide talks to interested civic or community organizations?

Yes, as a means of providing professional guidance in a wide variety of areas relating to law enforcement, the Carlisle Police Department will provide a speaker free of charge to civic groups and other community organizations. Requests should be submitted in writing to the Chief of Police at 240 Lincoln Street at least 3 weeks prior so that schedules may be arranged to accommodate the request. For additional information call 243-5252.


Does the Borough of Carlisle have a curfew ordinance?

The Borough of Carlisle has a curfew ordinance.  It is unlawful for any child or children under the age of 16 years to be or remain in or upon any public street, alley, highway or property in the Borough of Carlisle after the hour of 10:00 p.m., prevailing time, unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of the child or children or unless the employment of the child requires him or her to be out on a public street, highway or property at such time.  It is also unlawful for an child or children 16 or 17 years of age to be or remain in or upon any public street, alley, highway or property in the Borough of Carlisle after the hour of 11:00 p.m., prevailing time, unless accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of the child or children or unless the employment of the child requires him or her to be out on a public street, highway or property at such time.

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Public Works

How is trash collected in the Borough?

The Borough of Carlisle uses a pay-as-you-throw system in which solid waste is collected by a contracted service.  Residents are required to dispose of trash only in green “Borough Bags” which may be purchased at Borough Hall, 53 W. South Street, as well as a number of department, convenience and grocery stores throughout the Borough.  The cost of a Borough Bag is $3.50.  Included in this cost is a free recycling service (residents are required to make a one-time purchase of a recycling container for $9.00).  Click here for more information on the Borough’s Solid Waste and Recycling Program.

How do I dispose of large, bulky items?

Any residential customer participating in the regular bag collection service is eligible to place ONE bulk item at the curb on your regularly scheduled trash/recyclable pick up day.  Bulk items are defined as all materials too large to fit into a green Borough bag.  In all cases, bulk items do not include any of the following: computers and electronics, automobile and automobile parts, tires, construction debris (dry wall, insulation, bricks, blocks and lumber); yard waste including dirt, rocks, leaves and grass clippings; brush and tree parts; petroleum products; household hazardous waste; commercial and industrial waste; and chemicals.

How do I dispose of computers and electronics, old appliances, used tires, old paint cans, building materials, hazardous supplies and other items not collected with my refuse?

In July of 2017, Cumberland County opened up a E-Recycling Center for residents to recycle their old electronics. Visit their website for more information.

The Cumberland County Solid Waste Authority conducts Household Hazardous  Waste drop off collection events yearly.

When is yard waste collected?

The Borough conducts a twice annual curbside yard waste collection program (watch this site for more information).  In addition, residents may drop off yard waste (excluding grass clippings) at the Borough’s compost facility located on Post Road in North Middleton Township.

Leaves are collected in the fall on a weekly basis.  The leaf collection schedule is determined based on the forecast for leaves falling and is published in the local newspaper and in the appropriate seasonal edition of the Carlisle Gazette.  Leaves need to be collected in bags or appropriate containers and placed at curb side on the regularly scheduled trash collection day.

Does the Borough collect Christmas Trees?

Christmas trees are collected over a two week period in January. The Christmas tree collection is published in the local newspaper and in the appropriate seasonal edition of the Carlisle Gazette.  If tree bags are used to remove the tree from the residence the bag should be removed from the tree once the tree is placed at curbside.

Whom do I contact with questions about my water bill or to set up water service in my name?

Contact the Borough Water Department at 717-249-4422.

I would like a handicap parking space in front of my home. What do I need to do?

Chapter 244, Vehicles and Traffic, of the Carlisle Borough Code authorizes Borough Council to establish handicap parking spaces via ordinance.  Council established a number of criteria which must be met before a handicap parking space can be created.

Applications for handicap parking spaces must be made in writing to:

Borough of Carlisle
Attention: Public Works Director
53 W. South Street
Carlisle, PA  17013

The application must contain the following information:

  • Proof of residence at the location where the space will be installed.  (a photocopy of the applicants vehicle drivers license will satisfy this condition.)
  • A letter from the applicant’s physician stating the reasons and necessity for the preferred handicap parking space.
  • A statement that the vehicle which will use the space has a handicap driver registration plate or placard issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
  • A statement that the applicant understands that all parking restrictions and existing laws and ordinances remain in effect as presently posted.
  • A statement that the cost for materials and installation of the sign and post as well as the  preparation and advertisement of the Ordinance will be paid by the requesting party.
  • A statement that the applicant has no available off-street parking suitable for handicap persons.  Preferred handicapped parking will only be installed at those residences where the number of handicapped individuals exceeds the number of off-street parking spaces.  Applicants must describe any off-street parking available for use at the residence.
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