Special Election Ballot Measure to Prevent Increase of Petition Signatures Fails 98 – 67

Voters in the Town of Lake City participated in a special election Tuesday, January 7, that was set by Town Trustees in regard to a petition submitted in protest of Ordinance 2019-04. The measure failed and the ordinance stands, with 67 ‘no’ votes received, and 98 ‘yes’ votes counted. According to Town Manager Caroline Mitchell, the numbers are public but technically unofficial until the election is certified. One hundred sixty-five ballots were returned, with 361 ballots mailed (election was mail-in only), constituting a 45.7 percent voter turnout. Ordinance 2019-04 was put into place by the Town of Lake City Board of Trustees in August, 2019, increasing the number of signatures needed in order to submit a petition to the Town from five percent to ten percent for referendums and to 15 percent for initiatives. In September, local citizens Schuyler Denham and Carol Robinson submitted a petition in protest of the ordinance, and Town Trustees set the special election at their November 6 board of trustee meeting. At that meeting, members of the board were given three options; they could repeal the ordinance entirely, they could refer Ordinance 2019-04 to special election, or they could repeal the ordinance and refer the ordinance to the regular election on April 7, 2020. Trustee Roberts made the motion to refer the Ordinance to special election January 7, 2020, which was seconded by Heaton. The matter passed with all trustees voting in favor and Mayor Vierheller alone voting in opposition. Three trustee terms – those of Jud Hollingsworth, Marty Priest and Jeff Heaton – will be expiring this year and eligble for election April 7. Citizens residing within Town of Lake City limits can now, as of January 7, obtain nomination petitions at the Town of Lake City offices. Ten signatures are needed upon return of the petitions, which are due back in town offices January 27. A candidate orientation was held January 8 for anyone interested in learning more about the process or running for the available seats, and according to attendee Henry Woods, was very well attended. Audience members included Woods, Patrice Palmer, Doug Hamel, Crystal Brown, Jesse Kendall, Michelle Martin, Lydia McNeese and Camille Richard.