"Tax recall committee" files petition to force referendum on Trimble Co. nickel facilities tax; group contends action neither for or against the tax, just to let voters vote

Trimble Banner, Bedford, April 20, 2017

Nickel tax petition submitted to clerk

By Dave Taylor

A petition challenging the nickel tax levied recently by the Trimble County Board of Education has been returned to Trimble County Clerk Tina Browning. The petition seeks a recall election in an attempt to allow all voters in the county to have a vote on the issue.

“I received the Nickel Tax Petition today at 9:27 a.m.,” Browning said Monday. “I will determine, within 30 days, whether it contains enough signatures of qualified voters to place the motion levying the tax before the voters for their approval. The petition contains 590 signatures and is 93 pages in length. A total of 384 valid voter signatures is needed to place it on a ballot.”

A group known as the “Trimble County School District Board of Education Nickel Tax Recall Committee” had filed an affidavit with Browning on Friday, March 17, challenging the tax levy. A statement issued by the committee and filed with the affidavit explained “the purpose of this petition is to allow the citizens of Trimble County to vote on whether or not to recall the nickel tax approved by the Trimble County Board of Education on or about March 9, 2017. The petition is not a vote for or against the tax, but simply a way of getting the nickel tax recall to a vote.”

The committee had to circulate and return the petition within 45 days following the March 9 vote. The deadline is Monday, April 24.

Now that the petition has been submitted to the clerk’s office, and assuming that the required 10 percent of valid voters is met, the tax levy would be suspended from going into effect until after the election. The clerk has 30 days after receipt of the petition to determine whether the petition has enough signatures of qualified voters to place the recall before the voters.

If the clerk finds the petition to be insufficient, she must within that 30-day period notify in writing the petition committee and the school board of the specific deficiencies found. The notice would also be published in The Trimble Banner. A final determination of the sufficiency of the petition would be subject to final review by Trimble Circuit Court Judge Karen Conrad. Any petition challenging the county clerk’s final determination must be filed within 10 days of the clerk’s final determination.

This is the second time in less than a year that the Trimble County Board of Education has approved a nickel tax levy. The board had voted on June 20 of last year to levy the nickel tax in hopes of securing additional Urgent Needs funding from the Kentucky General Assembly to build a new high school. A petition was circulated last summer to force a countywide vote on the nickel tax. Enough valid signatures were turned in and certified by the county clerk’s office and the recall vote was held in conjunction with the November General Election. A total of 3,601 voters weighed in on the issue and the tax was rejected by local voters by a margin of 333 votes.

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