City Center petition drive makes Nov. ballot

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The Carson City Elections Division confirmed Monday that the petitions demanding a public vote on whether public money should be used for the City Center Project had more than enough signers to get on the November ballot.

Sue Merriweather, head of the Elections Division, said staff examined a sample of 540 signatures and found that 463 of them were those of registered voters in Carson City. Just 34 of the signers were rejected for not being registered voters, along with some 40 others for other reasons.

She said that was enough to avoid the necessity of reviewing all 4,555 signatures submitted by proponents of the ballot question.

Under state law, at least 15 percent of the number who voted in the last general election - in this case, 2,935 - had to sign the petition to get it on the ballot.

Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover is expected to certify the petitions as qualifying for the ballot and submit them to the city manager's office Friday.

The opponents, however, have run into one legal issue. Board of Supervisors counsel Randal Munn cautioned the board that he believes that the question, directing supervisors to pass an ordinance barring use of public money for the project, would violate state law by infringing on supervisors' rights and responsibilities.

Organizers of the petition drive said that when they filed the petitions last week, they were confident they would have far more than necessary to qualify since they went through the signatures and verified them against a list of Carson City voters.

One of the organizers, Dennis Johnson, said he and other signature gatherers were surprised at the number of people who weren't even aware of the project and its potential impact on downtown. Once it was explained, however, Johnson said, his best estimate is that 80 percent of those who signed oppose using public money to build the city's portion of the project, known as the Knowledge + Discovery Center.

The $28 million proposal includes an expanded library and public plaza, and a quarter-cent sales tax hike would fund the city's portion of it.


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