Election on: City verifies housing petition signatures

CNJ staff

City staff reviewed petition signatures, and enough were verified Tuesday to force a special election on the city’s affordable housing plan, passed May 5 by the Clovis City Commission.

The commission will hold a special meeting, tentatively 5:15 p.m. Thursday, to discuss an election for Aug. 2.

The city charter allows citizens to petition for a referendum election on any ordinance within 30 days of passage, with a requirement of signatures from registered Clovis voters exceeding 20 percent of the turnout from the previous municipal election.

The High Plains Patriots turned in 767 signatures on Monday, the first business day following the 30-day mark on Saturday.

Of that number, City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said 582 signatures were verified from registered Clovis voters, surpassing the required total of 456 signatures.

The affordable housing plan is an amendment to the state’s anti-donation clause, which otherwise says a city cannot, “directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation.” Cities, including Clovis, have created a similar amendment for economic development ventures.

The plan passed in a 6-1 vote. Randy Crowder, who was the lone dissenting vote, cited troubles with taxpayer dollars going to private industries that would build affordable housing.