Initiative Petition filed but with enough signatures?

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An initiative petition filed by two citizens with the City of Guthrie has been turned into the City Attorney with 64 signatures. However, the petition may be 157 signatures short.

Mary Murphey turned the initiative petition in that she and LaDawn Waddell compiled in July regarding a proposed charter amendment relating to the Council’s abilities to raise or implement fees.

The petition, titled Increase in Utility Fees, would state that any increase in water, sewer, trash, recycling or user fee or new implementation of fees be submitted for a vote by voters for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at a special election.

However, the number of signatures needed to bring the petition to a vote has been questioned. The question at hand being is was the last election a general election, or a special election?

Murphey and Waddell claim the last election was a general election rather than a special election therefore needing a much lower number of signatures. The petition is currently being reviewed by the City Attorney’s office. 

The number of signatures required is 25 percent of the last general election. It is believed the last general election occurred in 2009 because in 2010 all council members who were up for re-election ran unopposed. If 2010 is ruled a special election, the number of required signatures would be calculated from the last general election held in 2009 which would be 221.

If city attorney Randal Shadid considers the petition is valid, it will be submitted for a vote at the next general election to the citizens. However, if Shadid feels it is not valid, Murphey and Waddell can consider taking the petition to a district court.

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