One of the topics of discussion at Erie News Now's mayoral debate Thursday night was regionalism, and how the candidates would work with surrounding municipalities, to make Erie better.

Erie's mayoral candidates have many different ideas on how they would make the city of Erie better, but one thing they do agree on is that working with surrounding municipalities is important for Erie's success.

And on Thursday, dozens of township leaders gathered for a convention in Edinboro, with 38 municipalities represented.

It's proof that cooperation and regionalism is working in outlying suburbs.

And supervisors Erie News Now spoke with at the convention say their communities certainly have a stake in the city of Erie mayoral election.

Many of these municipalities already have a good working relationship with each other, sharing resources and have open communication, And they say they would definitely welcome the same with the city of Erie.

"Millcreek Township and the other municipalities do a lot of things together, we have joint projects all the time," said Millcreek Twp. Supervisor Brian McGrath. "I think that it would be very beneficial if we had that dialogue with the city, so we could extend that kind of relationship into the city," McGrath continued.

"Certainly we are cooperating, we are buying equipment together, we're sharing resources, we're banding together politically when it matters and it's beneficial to our residents," said Harborcreek Twp. Supervisor Dean Pepicello. "So I think an example can be learned from how the county does business and the townships do business for sure," Pepicello continued.

With the city of Erie the economic driver of the county, many agree communication with Erie's new mayor will be beneficial to all.

But Pepicello stops short of the idea of merging into one big community, "I don't think some sort of regionalism is out of the question, but understand already if you're looking at Harborcreek, and Lawrence Park, and Wesleyville, we're working together on a lot of things from the policing standpoint, and how we share equipment, politically how we band together, there's a lot of regionalism that's going on that doesn't get the headlines, that is still going on," said Pepicello. "I don't know if all of that (merging) is necessary, that we all become one to succeed. I don't think the fracturing is as big of a deal as people make it out to be, so I think there are easier solutions than just joining together as one big community government," Pepicello continued.

McGrath thinks merging surrounding townships like Millcreek, Summit, Harborcreek into one city would be a long shot, but a decision that should be left up to the people, "As long as the choice is left up to the residents, left up to the municipality, I think there's always that possibility. Forced consolation is never a good thing, but joint projects, inner governmental cooperation, that's always a great thing," said McGrath.