City Center petitioners say they have signatures needed for vote
May 9, 2012
A Carson City group gathering signatures to allow voters to decide in November the fate of the City Center Project has reached its required goal six weeks before the deadline, a petitioner confirmed Tuesday.
Lawyer Day Williams, one of five people who filed the petition in early February, said his group is not through with its work, however.
“We will continue with our efforts,” Williams said. “We’re not waiting for the Library Board or the Board of Supervisors to decide what to put on the ballot. We have over 3,000 signatures, but we want to get at least 500 more.”
The petition committee, which also includes Linda Barnett, Dennis Johnson, Jim Bagwell and Clarence (Bud) Southard, needed 2,935 verifiable signatures of registered voters by June 21, which is 15 percent of the 2010 general election turnout of 19,569.
The group is petitioning the Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance that would read as follows: “No public funding shall be used for the proposed Carson City Center Project … without a majority vote of the people approving such funding.”
Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said that if the required number of signatures can be verified, the petition will be brought to the supervisors. If they do not adopt the ordinance, the measure would be placed on the November ballot.
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Last week, however, at the request of the Carson City Library Board, supervisors asked City Manager Larry Werner to prepare a ballot question for the board to consider at its next meeting.
Werner said Tuesday that he plans to place the ballot question item on the May 17 agenda.
“At this stage, we’ll see what the board wants to do, and they’ll probably want to discuss the impact of the petition, as well,” he said.
Johnson, a candidate for Ward 2 supervisor, agreed that he and the other petitioners would continue their effort.
“We’ve achieved our statutory requirement, but we’re going to keep on going until the last day. We have a hard timeline, but even if they do ask for something on the ballot, they can yank it off at any time,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t trust them, but their track record speaks for itself.”
Johnson said that the public response has been mostly positive for petitioners.
“Eighty-plus percent said, yes, we should have a right to vote on it, but a few, probably 10-15 percent, say absolutely no way,” he said.
“There has been very little resistance out there, but what has surprised me most is that the signatures come from liberals and conservatives,” he said.
About 5 percent are absolutely in favor of the project but still want a vote, he said.
Library Director Sara Jones said she is confident that the project will be received favorably by voters.
“I certainly respect their efforts to get people interested in the project, but I think, as I’ve said, we can do this, because there is strong support out there,” she said.
The nearly $50 million proposed City Center Project includes a $23.8 million publicly funded portion for a Knowledge + Discovery Center, a plaza, parking garage and related infrastructure.