VOL. 16 ISSUE NO. 43   |  OCTOBER 27 – NOVEMBER 2, 2010


Citizens’ initiatives headed for March ballot

Candidate packets available this week

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betsy wise and jim peirceJim Peirce turned in his signature petitions to Town Clerk Betsy Wise last week for two initiatives. If passed, a two-thirds vote of council would be required to present a property tax or tax increase to the voters as well as a majority vote of the citizens before a property tax or increase may be imposed.  Photo by Linda Bentley

CAREFREE – On Oct. 20, Jim Peirce turned in his petition signatures at town hall for citizen’s initiatives IN2010-03 and IN2010-04, which, if passed by voters, will amend the Carefree Town Code by adding Chapter 15 “Town Property Tax.”

IN2010-03 would add Section 15-1, which reads: “An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Carefree Common Council is required to present any property tax proposal to the registered voters of the town.

“This section shall be self-executing and effective on approval by the voters.”

IN2010-04 will add the following language to Section 15-2: “A majority affirmative vote of the registered voters of the Town of Carefree voting on the issue is required before any Carefree town property tax or increase in existing Carefree town property tax previously approved by Carefree voters shall be enacted.

“This section shall be self-executing and effective on approval by the voters.”

Town Clerk Betsy Wise issued Peirce temporary receipts for 21 sheets each for initiatives IN2010-03 and IN2010-04, containing 293 and 295 signatures each, respectively, which is approximately 30 percent more than the 227 signatures required.

The temporary receipt simply acknowledges that Peirce submitted the petition sheets without making any determination that the sheets are in compliance with the legal requirements for placing the measures on the March 8 ballot.

Wise has 15 days to review the petitions before submitting them to Maricopa County for a final determination that the initiatives qualify for the March ballot.

Peirce said he was prompted to file the initiatives after he heard Mayor David Schwan had said something to the effect that Carefree could impose a property tax if it’s properly sold to the public, and that there were no provisions in the state Constitution, state statute or town code to prevent a simple majority of council from imposing a property tax on the citizens of Carefree.

Just two days earlier, Councilman Doug Stavoe turned in what he said are more than enough signatures to place his citizen’s initiative, imposing council term limits, on the March ballot.

Wise stated last week that candidate packets for council and mayor should be available this week and will require a minimum of 44 and a maximum of 88 valid signatures by Dec. 8 to qualify for the March ballot.

Voters will decide on Nov. 2 if they wish to revise the town code that now allows for the direct election of mayor by whomever receives the highest number of votes during the March primary election or if they want to require the mayor to receive at least 50 percent plus one of the ballots cast to be declared the winner in the primary or have the highest two vote-getters be subject to a runoff election in May.

Let’s say, for example, only two people are running for mayor and neither receives a majority of the ballots cast, it simply provides an opportunity for the same two candidates to have a “do-over” in the general election, whereas a winner would still be declared whether or not they met the 50 percent plus one criteria as called out for in the primary.

Carefree citizens overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in 2008 to directly elect their mayor, as provided by A.R.S. § 9-232.03, which states, “The common council may, by a majority vote of the qualified electors of the town voting thereon either at a regular or special election, provide by ordinance that the mayor shall be directly elected by the electors rather than selected by the common council.”

So, instead of as few as four councilmen deciding who the mayor and CEO of Carefree will be after each council election, the citizens will, for the first time, get to choose.

The November ballot initiative aims to change that language to require an even higher standard for citizens to elect their mayor. 


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