City of Ketchikan voters will not be heading to the polls to decide whether or not they support the city’s new municipal water treatment system. The anti-chloramine ballot proposition has been denied on legal grounds.
Of the 623 signatures on the petition, 492 were deemed valid. It’s more than enough, but the city attorney says the ballot language proposes an ordinance that’s not enforceable.
According to the decision, “The proposed ordinance relates to administrative matters which are not subject to the initiative process.”
The ballot prop, if voters supported it, called for the city to stop using chloramine to disinfect the city’s public water supply within a month.
City of Ketchikan attorney Mitch Seaver argues that means the city would be out of EPA compliance until a new facility is built, which could take years and could lead to significant fines for the city.
The city attorney also argues that the proposed ordinance is administrative, and an initiative process isn’t appropriate.
The group sponsoring the initiative – United Citizens for Better Water – was contacted for comment. A response was posted to their Facebook page.
“We are saddened by the turn of events, but we are not surprised by it as our City officials have already spent a tremendous amount of money to fight us. It is a long document that we were sent and it will take us a little while to review it. We are seeking outside assistance at this time.
One thing is certain, we are not done fighting and our City officials have just polarized many of those they are supposed to represent.”