Petitioners were given an additional 24 hours on Oct. 23 to collect the remaining seven signatures, since they were originally asked to submit the signatures on a state holiday. A similar petition protesting the Municipal Services tax increase was certified Oct. 16.
"We just found out today the clerk certified the petition regarding Service Area #6," Jasper told the Summit County Council during its Wednesday meeting. "That doesn't give us a long time to take corrective action. I am concerned we are going to be very close to whether we have any money at all in Service Area #6. I don't see us trying to cut roadwork or snow plowing, but that will be your call as you go through next year's budget."
Jasper has already asked staff to freeze three positions paid through the Municipal Services Fund: two Sheriff deputies and an assistant planning director.
Jasper also said he plans to reinstate the two tax increases when he presents the 2013 budget to the council for consideration.
"The recommended budget I will present to you will include reinstating those taxes. Then it's up to you what happens at the Truth in Taxation hearing," Jasper said.
The County Council incorporated the $1.6 million the tax increases were expected to generate into the 2012 budget in late 2011, and held Truth in Taxation hearings for the public to voice their opinions on the measures in December 2011 and in July 2012.
Councilmember Chris Robinson said he thinks reinstating the taxes is worth considering, as another Truth in Taxation hearing might be better attended with the taxes' recent publicity.
"I think we at the county did a poor job of communicating the message as to why it was important," Robinson said. "At the time we had our initial Truth in Taxation hearing, it was very poorly attended. And I think it's high enough profile now. And I also think the basis for which we originally put it on is still there for getting the roads on the proper cycle for maintenance."
Councilmember John Hanrahan said reinstating taxes would be a foolish thing for them to do.
"I agree with Chris that we did a miserable job of educating people, but 10 percent of the voters will inevitably sign a petition again not to raise taxes," Hanrahan said. "We should just suck it up for two years and postpone a lot of road maintenance, which means we're going to have to pay more to redo entire infrastructures of roads, but that's the way it is."
Jasper said they have already cut the budget for the last three years, including cutting ambulance and waste budgets.
"I don't know how to balance the budget without affecting service levels," Jasper said. "I'm going to go ahead and recommend a budget, and if the council says no, then you guys have to give me some guidance. Because I don't know how to prepare a budget that doesn't impact people's services.