Bal­lot ques­tions pass at state, lo­cal level

Malvern de­cides on term lim­its; Newlin res­i­dents OK with open space; few area judges af­fected by re­tire­ment age

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @afarence on Twit­ter

Malvern and Newlin res­i­dents both had the op­por­tu­nity to vote on a ref­er­en­dum for their own mu­nic­i­pal­ity Tues­day.


Malvern res­i­dents, in an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity, voted ‘yes’ on a ref­er­en­dum con­cern­ing term lim­its for the Malvern Bor­ough Coun­cil.

When the Malvern Bor­ough Coun­cil adopted its home rule char­ter in 2008, term lim­its were in­cluded in the char­ter’s lan­guage.

This ref­er­en­dum, ac­cord­ing to Bor­ough Man­ager Christo­pher Bashore, was meant to “clean am­bi­gu­i­ties in the lan­guage,” and does not af­fect the law’s fun­da­men­tal struc­ture.

Malvern Bor­ough Coun­cil mem­bers are lim­ited to two con­sec­u­tive terms, then they must sit out for two years be­fore they can run again.

The fi­nal, un­of­fi­cial re­sults re­leased by the county show that 1,509 res­i­dents, about 85 per­cent,

voted in fa­vor of en­act­ing term lim­its, and 275 voted against the mea­sure.

Seven mem­bers make up the bor­ough coun­cil, and each serve four-year terms and are elected “at-large.”


Newlin res­i­dents also voted ‘yes’ on a ref­er­en­dum to in­crease real es­tate prop­erty taxes by 0.15 mills, or 15 cents per $1,000 of as­sessed value, to be used to pur­chase open space.

In a let­ter posted to the town­ship’s web­site, the board of su­per­vi­sors said the ref­er­en­dum would in­crease prop­erty taxes, and the ad­di­tional rev­enue would be placed in a fund to sup­port res­i­dents with ex­penses such as ap­praisals, sur­vey, and other costs re­lat­ing to a putting an ease­ment on their prop­erty. The board stressed the funds were to help Newlin res­i­dents, and would not be used to pur­chase con­ser­va­tion ease­ments.

The ref­er­en­dum passed; 492 res­i­dents voted in fa­vor of it, and 332 voted against it.

Manda­tory re­tire­ment age for judges

As for the statewide ref­er­en­dum to amend the Penn­syl­va­nia State Con­sti­tu­tion to raise the manda­tory re­tire­ment age for judges from 70 to 75, which vot­ers ap­proved by a nar­row mar­gin, the new sys­tem will have no sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on Ch­ester County’s Com­mon Pleas Court.

The only judge who would have faced a manda­tory re­tire­ment in 2017 un­der the old law is Judge James P. MacEl­ree II, who will turn 70 in April. He can now stay on the bench un­til 2022, one year be­fore his cur­rent 10-year term ex­pires.

Oth­ers near­ing the for­mer re­tire­ment age of 70 in­clude Judge Ed­ward Grif­fith, who reaches that mile­stone in 2018, and Judge Kather­ine B.L. Platt and Judge Mark Tun­nell, who turns 70 in 2020. All three can now re­main un­til they turn 75, al­though Grif­fith’s cur­rent term ex­pires in 2023, when he will turn 75.

Two mag­is­te­rial district judges in Ch­ester County will now be able to serve for at least the re­main­der of their sixyear terms be­cause the re­tire­ment age has been ex­tended. Judge Grover Koon of District Court 151-05 in Val­ley and Judge Wil­liam Kraut of District Court 15-2-03 in West Goshen will both turn 70 in 2017. Kraut’s cur­rent term ex­pires in 2019, and Koon’s cur­rent term ex­pires in 2021. Koon and Kraut will both turn 75 in 2022.

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