Posted: Jul 3, 2012 11:07 AM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 4, 2012 9:38 AM
HAMILTON- The man spearheading a referendum allowing Ravalli County voters to decide whether to reduce the size of the county commission is confident the question will still make the ballot this year.
A couple of weeks ago it appeared Ravalli County commissioners would allow voters to decide whether to approve a change reducing the size of the commission from five members back to three. That's the way it used to be before the system was changed half-a-dozen years ago.
But last week, commissioners deadlocked over putting the question on the November ballot. While Commissioners Greg Chilcott and J.R. Iman argued for the vote, Commissioners Suzy Foss and Ron Stoltz went the other way. Foss questions whether the change would really save money and allow commissioners to get their work done. Stoltz prefers to let the government review committee address the issue in a couple of years.
But that stalemate doesn't mean the question is dead.
Toby Martin of Stevensville, who already submitted one proposed referendum that didn't clear review by the Ravalli County Attorney, says work is underway to draft another referendum. He says his group is working on language that will qualify under state law, clearing the way for a petition drive later this summer.
And he says "the troops are here" to make that drive a success. Although time is growing short, Martin is confident of completing that process so the commission size question can go to voters in November.
He also hasn't given up on commissioners still putting the issue on the ballot. Martin says if commissioners go ahead complete the pending appointment of the 5th commissioner from the names already submitted by Ravalli County Republicans that could break the tie vote.