Measure allowing voters say on future taxes headed to ballot
Former mayor collects enough signatures to get the measure on the May ballot
Sherwood voters will have the final say on a controversial ballot measure that would force a public vote on any new taxes raised in the city.
Sherwoods former mayor, Bill Middleton, has collected enough valid signatures on his initiative petition, which would require a voter approval on all future city taxes, fees and charges.
Middleton had started collecting signatures for the ballot, but approached the Sherwood City Council last year about placing his initiative before voters. The council voted against that plan in August 5-2.
As a result, Middleton went out and finished collecting the needed signatures.
It took about four months to get the signatures, collecting mainly on the weekends, Middleton said Monday night. The vast majority of people we contacted signed it we estimated 90 percent with the main problem being (we contacted) a lot of unregistered voters.
Middleton said that many unregistered he spoke with said they were going to register to vote in order to approve the measure, he added.
If approved, the vote would require double majority voter approval" – more than 50 percent voter turnout and more than 50 percent approval – on any new or increased taxes, charges or fees on residential properties.
Middleton, who served as mayor from 2012 to 2014, told the council last year that he was frustrated with city taxes and fee increases, and noted that water rates have increased astronomically as well since 2005.
Middleton first began working on the plan two years ago. He told The Sherwood Gazette in 2014 that he felt voters would want to have final say on how much they spend in taxes. Nobody will vote for new taxes, he said.
City councilors have said they arent in favor of the plan, saying that many taxes Sherwood residents pay arent under the jurisdiction of the city.
The measure was challenged by Councilor Linda Henderson early last year, who wanted language in the initiative petition clarified.
A judge later said the measure could move forward.
Councilors cant stop the measure from going before voters, but they can prepare a competing ballot measure to run alongside it.