FARMINGTON -- Two people have filed a suit on behalf of Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government, asking a judge for an injunction in order for initiatives to be placed on a ballot in November.
Richard Lenz and Ramona Porter filed the complaint Thursday in 2nd District Court.
"We are hoping our attorney can meet with the city and county attorneys in the next few days so we can work this out amicably," Lenz said.
"We believe the citizens have the legal right to petition the government."
Lenz said if an agreement cannot be reached, he hopes a judge will stop the county from printing ballots until the matter is resolved.
The ballots for the November elections are in the process of being created, said Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings, but they have not been printed.
No court date for a hearing had been set as of Friday.
The grass-roots citizens group gathered as many as 1,521 signatures on the three petition initiatives in March and April. They needed 1,431 signatures to be potentially validated by the county for each of the measures to appear on Kaysville's 2011 ballot.
The initiatives the group wants to have on the ballot are:
- Initiative A, seeking to district five of the six council positions into geographic regions.
- Initiative B, seeking to establish a public service commission to restrict how revenue from the city's power company is used.
- Initiative C, seeking to change the city's form of government from a city manager to a strong mayor form.
Mayor Steve Hiatt said about the lawsuit seeking an injunction, "Kaysville city has bent over backward to ensure this group has been dealt with in a transparent, honest and reasonable manner."
Hiatt also said, "The lawsuit filed by Mr. Lenz and Ms. Porter is disappointing both because of their lack of accountability and for the continued costs being shouldered by the citizens of Kaysville city."
He said that while Lenz, Porter and others "may not like how the law is written, the law must be followed. Due process has been carefully followed, and I am confident the court will separate the politics from the facts."
Lenz and Porter contend in the court documents that Kaysville did not protect their First Amendment right of free speech.
They also contend the Davis County Attorney's Office did not allow them to have a full recount of the petitions they filed with the city seeking to put the three initiatives on the November ballot.
Rawlings said, "I am really surprised there is any type of filing this late. They were allowed the ability to come into the Kaysville office, but refused to do this and then waived their right to a recount."
Because some of the packets were unstapled, the county attorney's office determined "some type of fraud could have been committed," Lenz said.
Lenz said no fraud was committed by those who gathered signatures.
The suit also states that the adoption of the new law concerning petitions for initiatives signed by the governor on March 10 denied the petitioners their rights.
The final complaint in the court documents states that the city and county violated the residents' federal constitutional rights.
Rawlings said the Davis County Attorney's Office sent Lenz an email stating he and his group should file a suit with the Utah Supreme Court.
Rawlings said the group did not file with the Utah Supreme Court, so "why are they taking a court action now, when they didn't use the relief that the law allowed them?"