A grassroots taxpayer group, Vote on Tax Enhancements (VOTE), is circulating petitions to put two more road projects on the November general election ballot in Douglas County.
If successful, the petition drive would allow county voters to cast ballots on the widening projects of West Sixth Street and West 31st Street, which are to be financed through general obligation bonds.
On July 25, the Douglas County Commission approved the issuance of general obligation bonds for the two projects. The commission authorized $552,022 in bonds for the West 31st Street project and $493,750 in bonds for West Sixth Street. The two bonds would cover the county's portion for the projects, which carry a combined $5.3 million cost. The balance of the cost will come from a federal grant, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Lawrence.
By conducting the petition drive, VOTE is exercising its rights during a 60-day protest period that allows the public to seek a vote on the issues.
John Swift, spokesman of the group, said VOTE was attempting to get 1,200 signatures on its petitions to call for the referendum. The group needs to have 800 valid signatures by Sept. 7, he said, for the bond issues to be included on the ballot.
"As both these proposed projects are part of the so-called `circumferential road system,' which includes the south Lawrence trafficway and the eastern parkway, the citizens of this county must be allowed to vote on bond issues for the entire package," said Swift, former president of the East Lawrence Improvement Assn. "Good government has to be responsive to its citizens."
VOTE neither supports or opposes the projects, he said.