A Mountain Water Company Referendum on the Missoula June Ballot is Not Possible
Missoula City Councilman Harlan Wells declared last week that he would pursue a referendum on the city’s attempt to acquire Mountain Water Company. But according to Missoula Elections Coordinator Rebecca Connors, if Wells can’t get the city council to approve of giving the pubic a yes or no vote, then he won’t have enough time to get the referendum on the June ballot.
"The petition process when you have to gather signatures to be able to place something on the ballot, the initial process takes about two months to get it going," says Connors. "If the petition is approved there is a 90 day window to gather signatures. For a federal election we are mailing ballots 45 days before the election for a June primary we have our ballot as already certified by late March."
Though the issue won’t be in front of voters during the primary, it could be on the ballot in November.
"With a five to six month process to be able to do the petition signature process the window is closed to be able to get anything on the June primary, but there is still a little bit of time for the November election," says Connors.
Wells believes the public should have a say in the proceedings because the expense has grown to an amount far greater than the public was originally led to believe.