Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
October 27, 2021

            The term "off-year election" takes on an updated meaning in 2021 and interest has risen in its importance as local voters take a harder look at judicial and school board positions and candidates.

            Pennsylvania is one of eight states that use partisan elections to initially select judges and then use retention elections to determine whether judges should remain on the bench. 

            According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, the merit retention provision of Pennsylvania's constitution allows all but magisterial district judges to be retained with a simple "yes" or "no" vote without ballot reference to political affiliation.  The provision was designed to remove judges from the pressures of the political arena once they begin their first term of office

            All judges, except those of the magisterial districts, face retention elections following their initial terms. After a judge has won an initial partisan election, subsequent terms are attained through retention elections. In retention elections, judges do not compete against another candidate, but voters are given a "yes" or "no" choice whether to keep the justice in office for another term.

            If the candidate receives more yes votes than no votes, he or she is successfully retained. If not, the candidate is not retained, and there will be a vacancy in that court upon the expiration of their term.

            In Tuesday's election in our readership area, Superior Court Judges John T. Bender, and Mary Jane Bowes; Commonwealth Court Judges Anne Covey and Renee Cohn Jubelirer will face the yes or no answers by voters as to whether or not they should remain on the Bench. 

            Also facing a yes or no on retention is Court of Common Pleas Judges Thomas C. Branca and Richard P. Haaz, both in the 38th Judicial District in Montgomery County; Thomas G. Parisi and Jeffrey K. Sprecher, both in the 23rd Judicial District in Berks County; and James M. McMaster and Robert J. Mellon, both in the 7th Judicial District of Bucks County.

            In the Montgomery County election battles, ...

Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
October 27, 2021

            Pennsburg Council is developing a 2022 budget that does not include a tax hike. Members discussed the details during Tuesday night's workshop meeting.

            The proposed $2.617 million budget will likely require a transfer of $53,609 from the borough's reserve fund to cover a shortfall, according to council President Diane Stevens. She said that figure could fluctuate.

            The borough is projected to end the current year with a surplus of $161,117, according to Stevens. After the meeting, she credited most of the leftover money to residential development.

            Vice President Patrick Suter said municipal officials have been practicing "extreme fiscal responsibility." He said that Mayor Charles Shagg and Member Wayne Stevens have volunteered to pick up items for the borough's roads department in order to eliminate delivery fees.  "We're also doing a lot more in house," Diane Stevens said.

            Municipal officials identified the cost of trash removal and road repairs as two of the borough's largest increases in expenses. According to Wayne Stevens, the borough hopes to utilize the funds it received in the sale of a mower to purchase an electronic jack hammer for no more than $3,000. He said its employees are currently using one borrowed from East Greenville.

            Council is also considering the addition of a permit for all businesses in the borough that implement a security alarm system. Several members expressed their support for the proposal. After the meeting, they appeared to express a consensus for a $50 annual fee.  "I like the idea," Member Mike Mensch said during the meeting.

            Creation of an ordinance allowing the fee would require businesses to ...



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