Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden was clear during the board’s special meeting Tuesday morning: She did not support a legal challenge to
“I believe a challenge is an absolute waste of taxpayer money,” she said, adding that “hundreds upon hundreds of dollars” would be wasted on a fruitless challenge.
Cowden said Solicitor John Smith wouldn’t be able to go up against some of the best attorneys not only in the state, but the world.
“Do you think for one minute that they are going to allow Cecil Township and John Smith to run them over?” she asked. “Cecil Township will have to pay the buck.”
But that’s about the time that board Chairman Mike Debbis spoke up, telling Cowden and the packed room that Smith had offered to represent the township pro bono.
And despite several residents making impassioned pleas—some for the township to proceed with a suit but most others indicating they didn’t think one was prudent, the board voted to join a legal challenge to Act 13, along with Mt. Pleasant and a handful of other municipalities.
After the more than hour-long hearing, Supervisor Andy Schrader made a motion to join in the lawsuit. The motion also included a provision that would allow the expenditure of up to $2,500 to pay for expert witnesses, if needed.
Supervisor Frank Ludwin seconded the motion, which passed by a 3-1 vote. Cowden voted no and Supervisor Tom Casciola was absent.
Smith has said he believes that seven or eight issues with Act 13 are constitutionally challengeable—one of which deals with zoning.
Smith declined to disclose a copy of the suit because it was not yet a public document. He said it would be publicly available once it is filed, which is expected to be within the next week.