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Fergus Falls Spending Limitation Ordinance (2010)

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There was supposed to be a Fergus Falls Spending Limitation Ordinance measure on the April 22 ballot in Otter Tail County for residents in the city of Fergus Falls.

This measure was taken off and the special election was cancelled due to a judge stating that the measure was too vague and would be too invasive if it had been approved. the judge implemented a temporary injunction until June 23, when the judge will make a permanent decision on the issue.[1]

The issue was pending due to the petition, but city council had decided March 1 to set the date for the election and to hold it as a traditional election, not mail only. The special election would have cost around $13,000 and officials are hoping there is yet enough time to education voters on the ordinance issue.[2]

Background

Residents wanted the ability to have a vote on projects the city undertakes if they are above a certain amount of money. This issue came about with the city going ahead with the building of an ice arena and local residents unsure the city should be spending that much money on that project. A group of five residents have drafted a petition that sets out guidelines for when city expenditures should be voted on and what sort of projects should have resident oversight. They need to collect 850 signatures to bring their petition to the council. Although the issue was brought about by the arena project, city attorney said it would be set rules for all future city projects. The city charter does not limit the time petitioners have to collect the needed signatures.[3]

Some residents against this ordinance see this as a mean to take away power from the city council that does not belong in the hands of the citizens. An argument against this is that if the people elected the city officials, they should trust their judgment on issues, taking away their power to decide undermines their power. Their opinion states that if you are unhappy with their decisions make that known when you vote for them to be re-elected or not.[4]

References