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Fee initiative fizzles

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If you’re sick and tired of the San Luis Obispo City Council balancing it’s hemorrhaging budget on the backs of residents in the form of new fees, you’re not alone. If you think someone should do something to stop arbitrary fee increases, you’ll have to wait.

After collecting roughly 2,500 signatures, the User and Regulatory Fees Initiative proposed by the San Luis Obispo Property Owners Association failed to qualify for the November general election. Signature gatherers needed about 4,100 signatures (15 percent of the city’s registered voters) by May 14 to qualify for the ballot.

The group has until Sept. 15 to turnover enough signatures to qualify for the next election in 2012, said City Clerk Elaina Cano. In order to qualify for an earlier election, the association needs to request either a special election or to run during a primary.

If it qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters, the initiative would require every new fee proposed by city officials to go to a popular vote. Currently, the City Council can approve fee increases during regular public hearings.

“We’re continuing to work [on gathering signatures],” said Property Owners Association Treasurer Stephen Barasch. “Our big problem is it’s hard to find people that live in the city that are registered to vote here.”

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