Concord votes for home rule

There’s going to be a new government in Concord Township and a new senator in Harrisburg.

Beginning Jan. 1, Concord Township will no longer be operating under Pennsylvania’s Second Class Township Code. Township voters, including at least one incumbent supervisor, voted to have the township operate under a new Home Rule Charter.

The vote was 2,674 for the charter, 1,833 against.

While waiting for the returns to come in after the polls closed on April 26, current Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi said he voted for the change. Other sitting supervisors had no comment at the time, but Supervisor Kevin O’Donoghue, who is also chairman of the township Republican Party, commented Wednesday morning:

"The Concord Republican Party has supported a two-year public and transparent process to modernize our form of local government in Concord. I would like to thank the members of the Government Study Commission for their dedication, hard work, and the recommendations they delivered to our residents. The Republican Party looks forward to continuing our history of good government in Concord Township under the new Home Rule Charter."

Concord’s GOP paid for signs and table cards urging a yes vote.

Joshua Twersky, a member of the Government Study Commission that drafted what is essentially a constitution for Concord Township government, made the following statement:

“The thoughtful, deliberate and democratic process that was conceived by our supervisors and delivered by the Government Study Commission over the last 16 months was overwhelmingly ratified yesterday by the people of Concord Township and confirmed that the Home Rule Charter is what’s best for the future of our community.”

Commission Chairman Jim Gray said, “The Charter was carefully crafted as to not increase the cost of government service and to provide future governing bodies the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. The cost of government was one of the major themes we heard time and time again from the public.  We were also mindful not to draft a charter that was based on the personalities of the current Board of Supervisors nor current conditions, but rather chose to focus on what may constrain our elected officials 10, 15, 20 years into the future.”

A seven-member transition committee — the same size as the Government Study Commission — will be formed to make sure the township’s current administrative code complies with the charter. Anything not in compliance must be changed.

Changes in government structure include going from a five-member board of supervisors, where members serve a six-year term, to a seven-member township council, where members serve four-year terms.

Council may not raise township property taxes by more than 5 percent, unless there is a supermajority — five votes — for a larger tax hike. Current township property taxes are less than a mill, but the Second Class Township Code allows for taxes as much as 14 mills without court approval.

Additionally, council members may not be township employees during their time in office and may not work for a contractor that works for the township until that council member is out of office for at least one year.

Council may not propose and vote on an ordinance on the same day.

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a Chadds Ford Township resident, spends part of the primary election with other Chadds Ford Republicans. Show with Meehan, right, are township auditor Joe Pileggi and Mary Kot, Chadds Ford's Republican Party leader. Meehan defeated his challenger in yesterday's primary.

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a Chadds Ford Township resident, spends part of the primary election with other Chadds Ford Republicans. Show with Meehan, right, are township auditor Joe Pileggi and Mary Kot, Chadds Ford's Republican Party leader.
Meehan defeated his challenger in yesterday's primary.

Other regional results:

• Incumbent Republican state Rep. Tom Killion won the special election to become the state senator representing the 9th Senatorial District. Killion received 37,583 votes. His Democratic Party opponent, Mary Molloy, had 27,197 votes.

The Senate seat opened up last year when then state Sen. Dominic Pileggi ran for judge of Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Pileggi himself was elected to the senate in a special election after the death of former state Sen. Clarence Bell.

Molloy and Killion both won their party's primary elections and will face each other again in November. The term of office for the seat was set to expire at the end of this year.

• Incumbent U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, easily won his primary race against challenger, Stan Cascio. The vote was 65,996 to 12,095.

• Results from the Republican Party primary for state House in the 158th Legislative District will not be known until Chester County sifts through and records the write-in votes. There was no candidates named on the Republican ballot for the seat. Three candidates — Perry Bentley, Eric Roe and Susan Rzucidlo — filed wrote-in votes.

Rzucidlo is a Democrat who  ran unopposed for the her party's nomination.

Rebecca Brain, from the Chester County Department of Pubic relations, said the write-in votes won't be fully counted for several weeks.

 

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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