Parking referendum to get full count
It was close, but the random-sample checking by the county for verification of legitimate signatures on a referendum aimed against the building of a new parking garage in Chico did not meet the stringent state requirements. That means all of the 6,185 signatures must be examined and counted.
A citizens’ group opposed to the proposed multi-level parking garage slated for the lot at Second and Wall streets is behind the referendum, which if qualified would force the Chico City Council either to rescind its vote to extend the hours of parking meter enforcement or else put the matter to the voters on this November’s general election.
The city was counting on the extended hours, coupled with a doubling of the rates, to help pay for the cost of the new garage, which depending on size, will cost between $15 million and $18 million.
The Butte County Clerk-Recorder’s Office checked a random sample of 500 signatures and determined that 351 were valid in the sample. However, somebody signed the petition for the referendum twice, and 148 of the 500 signatures proved invalid for any number of reasons, including an address out of the city limits or no address or an address different from the one registered with the county or a signature style that didn’t match the original registered signature.
Based on these numbers, and following state election laws, the county projected that full count-out would net 4,201 valid signatures, or 108 percent of the total needed to qualify the referendum. However, state law requires that, in order to validate a referendum based on a random sampling of signatures, a projection of at least 110 percent of the total needed must be made.
The county is now counting and checking all the signatures and hopes to be done before July 21.