They say things like this:
"[W]e note that unlike states such as California, governance by referenda is a relatively rare occurrence in Pennsylvania, where we hold strong to the ideals of representative democracy and have no general constitutional provision for voter initiative or referenda."
“Advisory, government-initiated referenda will crop up whenever a governing body wants to duck its duty to represent the people. Pennsylvania will become a ‘proposition state’ but with a twist: a host of provincial referendum questions will clog an already inefficient local government labyrinth.”
Judges tend to think people can express themselves at the ballot box, and are leery of anything approaching mob rule.
With that background, I have to ask whether Gracedale's fate should really be decided by the voters. In the unlikely event that 20,000 legitimate signatures are obtained, I believe a Court, if asked, will refuse to place the question on the ballot.
Northampton County's Home Rule Charter expressly states that "The power of initiative and referendum shall not extend to the budget."