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Petition effort earns enough signatures to put issue on ballot

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Jim Sitterly did it.

After Huron County Commissioners voted to raise the real estate conveyance fee from $2 to $3 per thousand last month, Sitterly started a campaign to let voters decide on the increase.

He needed almost 1,900 registered voters to sign petitions. He turned in 70 petitions with 3,057 signatures to the Huron County Auditor's office Monday.

Auditor Roland Tkach said his office will keep the petitions for 10 days for public inspection. That means anyone can come in and ask to look at the petitions, he said.

On Dec. 6, the petitions will be turned over to the board of elections. Tkach said that office will have 10 days to examine all the signatures to make sure everyone who signed is a registered voter in Huron County. Tkach said with the number of people who signed the petitions, there will probably be enough qualified signers to take the issue to the ballot.

If the board of elections certifies enough signatures on the petitions, county voters will get to vote on the tax increase on March 4.

Huron County commissioners voted to raise the tax to $3 per thousand last month. State law allows commissioners to charge up to $4 per thousand. Commissioners looked at seven other counties in the area, Commissioner Mike Adelman said, and learned that most counties already charge a $4 per thousand fee.

Commissioners said the increase in the fee should bring in about another $50,000 to $60,000 and they earmarked that money for economic development and tourism.

Commissioners raised the fee in Huron County from $1 per thousand to $2 per thousand in 2000. That increase also triggered a petition drive, but it was not successful.

Tkach said 39 petitions with 1,657 signatures were turned in and that was not enough to put the increase on the ballot.

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