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
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.