Service Area #6 provides municipal-type services, such as road plowing, in specific neighborhoods throughout unincorporated Summit County. The tax increase amounts to an additional $29.33 per year on a $498,000 primary residence and $53.32 per year for similarly valued second homes and commercial properties.
The petitioners had 45 days to collect 2,118 signatures, but the 45th day fell on Columbus Day, and state statute provides that if the end date falls on a weekend or holiday, petitioners can turn the packets in the following day. But the petitioners were told to turn the packets in on Columbus Day.
Attorney Bruce Margolius threatened to file a writ to the Supreme Court if the County did not provide the extra day they were entitled, according to County Attorney David Brickey.
"He and I worked through the weekend coming to some conclusions about the County's position regarding the date the petition was due," Brickey said. "We came to the conclusion that litigation would be expensive and time consuming. And a clear reading of the state statute allows us to reach this resolution. So I think it's a good result as far as avoiding litigation."
The petitioners are picking up the packets at 4 p.m. today (Tuesday) and will need to return them Wednesday by 4 p.m., after which County Clerk Kent Jones will verify the signatures.
The petition was only seven qualified signatures short of being certified, after 250 unqualified signatures were thrown out by the Clerk's Office.
S.T.A.R. Forum member Jacqueline Smith, who spearheaded the petition drive, said having the extra 24 hours to collect the last signatures was great, although she will not be personally collecting the signatures, because she recently filed as a write-in candidate for Summit County Council Seat C.
"I'm not taking this on personally," Smith said. "I'm just trying to run this race now, so that's what I'm trying to focus on."
Smith and her group successfully collected enough signatures to freeze the tax increase on the County's Municipal Fund, which services unincorporated Summit County, until it can be put to voters in 2014.