Residents want restrictions on how officials spend power rate revenues

May 4 2013 - 10:51pm

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KAYSVILLE -- A Kaysville citizen group has collected more than enough certified signatures needed to place an initiative on the Nov. 5 municipal election ballot that calls for a restriction on how city leaders spend the city's power rate revenues.

Of the 2,557 signatures the citizen group collected in April, 2,420 were certified as being valid by Davis County election officials, Kaysville City Recorder Linda Ross said. That far exceeds the 1,609 signatures the group needed for the proposal to go before voters this year.

The group used voter registration records while going door to door gathering signatures. Ross said that is probably why they had such a high number of certified signatures.

The initiative will now be turned over to City Attorney Felshaw King, who will determine how the ballot initiative will be titled, Ross said. From there, the initiative will go before the Kaysville City Council for review. The council has five days following the titling of the initiative to review it, she said.

Following the review, copies of the initiative will be made available to the five citizens who served as sponsors for the measure, Ross said.

The citizen group sought the petition initiative after the council raised power rates 9.65 percent in 2012 to replenish power company reserves. This year, the council revealed that in 2007, the then-city council spent a large portion of power rate revenues to buy land in west Kaysville based on speculation it would develop.

Art Morley, citizens group spokesman, said his group is obviously pleased with the success in collecting signatures.

"People understood what the (citizens) group was trying to do," Morley said.

He said the group will work hard in getting the initiative approved by voters.

"We know we are in for a fight," Morley said.

City officials contend if the initiative is approved it could result in a shift of cost in city property taxes, requiring a 33.3 percent tax increase.

"My biggest concern is the potential fiscal impact these petitions could have if passed," Mayor Steve Hiatt said.

"The initiative process is always healthy, and there is nothing wrong in having a good, open debate," Hiatt said. "We just want to make certain all the facts of both sides are out, and we'll trust the process."

Hiatt said he is not surprised by the number of valid signatures the citizens group was able to collect. "It was evident they worked hard."

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