NORTH OGDEN -- Residents expect to file another petition with the city to try to block the city council vote on the $7 million bond parameter for the public works complex.
They have 30 days from the time the vote was taken to deliver the petition of at least 2,000 active registered voters to the city. Once the petition is delivered, the names are given to Weber County to be verified, said City Recorder Annette Spendlove.
Petitioners hope to get the issue on the general election ballot this November. The petition asks the council to revoke its Aug. 23 vote and put the issue of a $7 million bond for the complex to voters.
The same group of petitioners got just under 3,000 signatures last month to revoke a vote for the complex that would not exceed $10 million. The city sued petitioners Justin Fawson and Kent Bailey, saying the petition was done incorrectly. The city dropped the suit once the council voted for a lower bond parameter.
Bailey said he and other petitioners sat down with Spendlove and City Attorney Dave Carlson and went over the points that the city said petitioners got wrong last time to make sure all proper procedures are being followed this time.
"It's all being done in accordance with Utah's referendum law," Bailey said of the petition. He believes it will be no problem to gather at least 2,400 to 2,500 signatures this time.
"Last time we easily gathered almost 3,000 in a week, and I think people are more mad," Bailey said. Residents are mad because they feel the city is not listening to what they want.
Mayor Richard Harris said the city will follow the law.
"If they follow the steps of the referendum, we will follow the same steps to honor the law," he said. His understanding is there is time to get the issue on the November ballot, which is what he would prefer.
"I would like to get his taken care of one way or the other," Harris said.
If the issue gets on the ballot and is passed, meaning it revokes the council's vote, he's not sure what will happen.
"We'd have to go back to square one and start the process over," Harris said. "We would have to carefully decide if we want to keep fighting this battle."
He said a new facility is needed no matter what.
Bailey said even though the city has reduced the bond from a not-to-exceed bond parameter of $10 million to $7 million, the city council hasn't really responded to residents because minutes of the public works planning meetings show it was always the plan to have the building be around $7 million.
Councilmen Brent Taylor and Ron Flamm say that is true. When the city set up the original $10 million bond parameter, the idea was always to be in the $7 million zone, but the council didn't know how much land was going to cost. Both say the city never planned on a $10 million building as was stated several times by Bigler.
Taylor said the city is trying to do thing for as least expensive as possible for the city's needs and is very mindful of what residents want.
The city now is moving forward as much as it can, but cannot do any bonding with the current litigation on the table from former Councilman Steve Huntsman regarding the state open meeting law. Huntsman said the council acted behind closed doors on July 12 and the decisions it made then should be invalid.
The only thing the city has now is the approval from the council to allow Finance Director Debbie Cardenas and the mayor to work on the bond process.
No bonds can be issued until firm numbers on the cost of the building are set anyway, Cardenas said.