Petition rejected, but motion unanimously rescinded

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Monday night Benson’s City Council unanimously rejected a petition that had been submitted in opposition to an amendment to city code addressing residential structures considered in disrepair.
But with the next motion the council also unanimously rescinded the amendment, which was set to become law Oct. 17.
Opponents of a proposed amendment aimed at addressing blighted and dilapidated residential properties gave the petition to the city council at its Sept. 22 meeting. Their goal was to force the city to take the proposed change in city law to the community’s voters Nov. 4.
The council had passed the amendment defining conditions under which the city could issue tickets for buildings and properties allowed to fall into disrepair at their Sept. 8 meeting. The proposed change was published in the city’s legal newspaper, the Swift County Monitor-News, Sept. 17. Under state law, published ordinances or amendments become law 30 days after publication.
However, citizens can challenge the council’s action by petition. A valid petition must have enough city resident signatures to represent 15 percent of the people who voted in the 2013 city election. Since there were 830 voters who cast ballots last year a petition would have to have a minimum of 125 signatures.
After receiving the petition, the city council turned it over to City Clerk Glen Pederson and Assistant City Attorney Ben Wilcox to determine if the names on it were legitimate and if it had been properly submitted.
Wilcox told the council Monday night that the petition wording did not conform to requirements set forth in the city charter.

Photo:  Monitor file photo.

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