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Petition filed to change Bastrop petition rules

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 by Jo Clifton

The Independent Texans political action committee filed petitions with Bastrop City Secretary Ann Franklin on Monday to force an election in November to consider lowering the number of signatures needed in order to recall a member of the City Council from 25 percent to 10 percent of registered voters. Petitioners would also have 180 days to collect signatures of 5 percent of registered voters for a referendum under the amendment. According to a press release put out by Independent Texans leader Linda Curtis, the group turned in “298 valid signatures” to meet the city’s requirements to amend the city charter. Franklin said Monday afternoon that the charter requires 214.5 valid signatures. She said she expects to have validated the signatures by the end of the week. Curtis also announced that her group had ended its effort to recall Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus, citing the city’s 25 percent petition hurdle for a recall as “draconian, when most Texas cities require 10 percent.” Curtis said her group had been willing to put off the election until next May, but “Kesselus and his clan of self-interested influence peddlers like water marketer Joe Beal and recently retired Bluebonnet Electric Coop General Manager, Mark Rose, have pushed this city into a real crisis of confidence, and it is time to take action.” Under state law, if there are sufficient signatures, Council is required to hold an election on lowering petition requirements in November. One Council member estimated the cost of the election at $13,000. Bastrop’s Council expects to appoint a new interim city manager Tuesday night, after Police Chief Steve Adcock told the mayor last week he could not continue in the interim position, according to the Austin American-Statesman. It will also be looking for a new attorney in the wake of last week’s resignation of Jo-Christy Brown.

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