The Trigg County Citizens Right to Vote on Tax Increases Committee has collected more than enough signatures to support a vote on the nickel tax that was passed in mid-December by the Trigg County Board of Education.
Trigg County Clerk Carmen Finley said her office found that 1,068 signatures met the requirements for the committee to petition for the tax to be placed on an upcoming ballot.
The committee needed to collect 741 signatures, or 10% of the total votes cast in the last presidential election in November 2020, in keeping with Kentucky Revised Statute 132.017.
That statute sets forth the measures for citizens to be able to place a tax on a ballot.
In 2020, 7402 Trigg voters cast ballots.
The local Right to Vote committee collected 1,114 signatures and presented its 176-page petition to the clerk’s office on Jan. 17.
Finley’s office spent the rest of last week “quadruple-checking” the signatures to make sure the names, addresses and precincts were correct, according to the county clerk.
“We find that the petition filed is sufficient, the signatures are sufficient, to go for a vote,” she noted of the signatures that met requirements.
Finley said her office finished verifying the signatures Friday, and they were then reviewed by Trigg County Attorney Randy Braboy.
On Monday morning, the clerk’s office sent a letter of certification to the Trigg County School Board, and Lisa Champion, the Right to Vote Committee chairman, picked up her group’s letter certifying that the petition meets the requirements of the statute later that morning.
According to the statute, the petition is sufficient if it “is properly presented and in compliance with the provisions” of KRS 132.017.
The school board may now decide if it wants a final determination of the petition’s sufficiency, which occurs with a review by the Circuit Court.
The board has 10 days beginning this past Tuesday to seek a review of the petition.
“They’ve got a lot at their discretion to make a decision about what to do,” Finley said.
Board members could amend the tax measure, rescind it, have it voted on during the general election this year or have it voted on during the next presidential election in 2024.
They could also have a special election.
Finley said Jan. 31 is the deadline to place the nickel tax on the primary ballot, and there is not enough time to do so, the county clerk said.
The local school board passed the tax in December following a public hearing that saw 20 people speaking in opposition to the tax, a levy which includes 58.9 cents on real property and 58.9 cents on personal property.
Champion, as chairman of the Right to Vote committee, subsequently filed an affidavit in the clerk’s office to petition for the tax to be placed on a ballot for a vote by local taxpayers.
Champion filed the affidavit in the Trigg County clerk’s office on Dec. 19, and the committee had 45 days to get its signatures.