SALEM - Salem voters should see at least two referendum petitions on the November ballot after the Columbiana County Board of Elections certified both have enough valid signatures.
Adam Booth, director of the Columbiana County Board of Elections, dropped the two referendum petitions off in city hall at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The next step is for city Auditor James Armeni to write two letters asking the board of elections to place them on the ballot. The letters certifying the forms of the petitions for the ballot need to be filed by Ameni by 4 p.m. Aug. 4, according to Booth.
One of the referendums deals with the annexation issue and asks voters to repeal the ordinance passed by council accepting 100 acres of land north of Salem into the city. The acres are in both Perry and Green Townships.
Of about 900 signatures obtained by a group of petitioners, only about two-thirds (619) were found to be valid. But only 417 signatures were needed, a number surpassed by more than 200 signatures.
The second referendum petition on bed and breakfasts was found to have 468 valid signatures, out of the 599 submitted. Again, only 417 were needed to place the referendum on the ballot.
The bed and breakfast referendum would ask voters to change the city's zoning regulations to allow bed and breakfasts as a conditional use in RS-2 and RS-3 areas of Salem. Those applying as a bed and breakfast would still have to meet specifications required by the board of zoning appeals before their application would be accepted. Currently, bed and breakfasts are only allowed as a conditional use in RD and RA zones.
The city planning commission recently rejected two ordinances proposed by the rules and ordinance committee of council to allow bed and breakfasts in other areas and regulate them.
A third initiative waiting to go on the ballot is behind schedule of the other two. The initiative petition to reinstate the 1 percent tax credit for those city residents working outside of Salem and paying income taxes where they work must remain in city hall awhile longer.
Armeni said Wednesday the 10 required days for those petitions to be allowed for open public viewing will end Friday afternoon. He or Deputy Auditor Barb Hasson will take the initiative petitions to the board of elections first thing Monday morning.
Like the previous two referendums, the board will have to verify there are enough valid signatures on the ballot. Then the petitions must be sent back to Salem for Armeni to again certify the language and write a letter asking the issue be placed on the ballot.
When asked about the time factor, Booth said the board of election's current software allows the process to be accomplished quickly. He plans to have two or three employees working on the petitions when they arrive on Monday, which should allow enough time.
About 997 signatures were submitted for the final initiative petition.