Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 5, 2013

Clerk’s office accepts Fairview tax petition

Mike James
The Independent

WESTWOOD — It looks like a special election to decide the fate of a utilities tax in the Fairview Independent School District will go ahead as originally planned.

Opponents on Monday for the second time turned in petitions seeking the election to the county clerk’s office and say they collected more than twice as many as needed to trigger the election.

County Clerk Debbie Jones said counting the signatures most likely will be completed today, but petition-gatherers said they not only collected more than needed but picked up a number of signers who weren’t on the original petitions.

“The weather hampered us, but we had a lot of new people,” said Melvin “Joe” Weis, a member of the petition committee. “I think a lot of people are upset about the way things are going.”

Weis said the committee delivered about 350 signatures; 147 were needed.

About 40 percent were new signers, he said. “That shows people want to vote on this issue.”

The clerk’s office compares signatures to voter rolls to validate them.

The ballot language reads, “Are you in favor of recalling the utility tax or levy adopted by the Fairview board of education?” according to Weis.

That means the issue will require a yes vote for repeal or a no vote to keep the tax.

The election is scheduled for Feb. 19. It went on the calendar after opponents successfully completed an earlier petition drive; the wording on that petition was called into question in a lawsuit filed by the school board and the new petition with different wording was a compromise suggested by Circuit Judge C. David Hagerman.

The board enacted the 3 percent tax in December. It would be levied on gas, water, electric, sewer, telephone, cellphone and satellite bills in the Fairview district.

The election is a provision of state law under which voters can rescind such levies.

School board Chairman Scott McIntyre did not return phone calls asking for comment.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.