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City Maritime Park Bond Referendum, 2009

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There was a petition drive to get a City Maritime Park Bond Referendum out in Escambia County for voters in Pensacola. Enough signatures were not obtained by the deadlines, so this will not be on the ballot.[1]

The group collecting signatures had till 5 p.m. Monday December 7 in order to submit the needed signatures, they only had 4,250. The city plans to sell the bonds December 9 and 10 with the closing date being the 21st. Petitioners are disappointed more people were not willing to stand up for their right to choose, but they had their say with their silence.[1]

Path of the Referendum

The City of Pensacola planned to issue a bond in the amount of $45.6 million in order to develop the Maritime Park near the port. but this has been delayed at least 60 days due to Tim Eagan. Mr. Eagan had tried before to petition for signatures to get the bond voted for by the city citizens, but he signed an agreement not to petition with city council members. On October 15 he decided what he signed was forced upon him and went ahead with hi drive for signatures to get the bond on a referendum vote. The council will have to wait until December 8, 60 days after their decision to go ahead with the bond, to see if Eagan acquired enough signatures.[2] Eagan will need to obtain 5,800 signatures for his petition to become a referendum vote. The Mayor of the city, Mike Wiggins noted that the situation has become very messy and will in the end likely cost the city more, but the matter is now out of his hands. Even if Eagan does not move quickly, there are others who may take up his cause in the meantime.[3] Even if city council members are upset about not being able to go through with their plans, it was fully within the rights of Eagan to force this issue into a referendum. But, an election this November could decrease the amount of signatures needed, from the current 15 percent to 10 percent.[4]

A political action committee was formed to take up the petition drive to force the bond issue into a vote by residents. The head of this group states that he did not follow Eagan's initial drive, but saw the opportunity to start his own. They tried to use the signatures collected by Eagan, but Eagan is not involved in this group. Money to pay off the loan would come from the cities general fund and that is the main issue that drove this group to try to get the issue to a vote, they do not think it is fair to use that money for a park.[5]

References