High Plains Patriots turn in petition with about 1,000 signatures

Kevin Wilson

Signatures were turned in Monday in favor of a special election on a pending gross receipts tax increase passed by the Clovis City Commission last month.

City Manager Joe Thomas said if more than 456 signatures are verified on petitions submitted by the High Plains Patriots citizens group, a special election will likely be held the first week of May.

“We probably have about 1,000 names,” HPP President Kim Runyan said, “but we have 675 we have verified with the rolls (we procured) from the city and county clerks.”

The number of signatures required is representative of 20 percent of votes cast in the city’s most recent municipal election. Signatures must come from registered voters inside the Clovis city limits, and the name and address on the petition must match voter registration records.

Runyan said city officials told her they would stop counting once they had verified about 50 to 75 more than the required 456.

Thomas estimated verification would be finished either Tuesday or Wednesday and, pending verification, the commission would hold a special meeting this week to pass a resolution for a referendum election.

If the signatures are verified, an election on the decision made by the commission must be held within 60 days of the submission of petitions — on or before May 6.

The ballot must contain the text of the ordinance, with the choices, “For the above measure” or, “Against the above measure.”

Clovis’ current GRT rate is 7.5625 percent, and would jump to 7.8125 percent on July 1 under the ordinance, approved Feb. 3 in a 7-1 vote. The ordinance is set to expire 10 years later, and the increase in taxes would provide about $1.5 million annually, solely for the city’s financial obligations to the $500 million Ute Water Project.

The city’s total obligation is $36 million, but the tax would pay for roughly $13 million, and the remainder would be made up by water sales.