Proposed Blanchester referendum needs 260 signatures — not 127 — due to village’s charter

BLANCHESTER — A proposed referendum is in need of more signatures than was originally thought due to the Village of Blanchester Charter.

Betsy Wellman is organizer of the referendum on the earnings tax passed by council in June to help fund the police department.

She emailed the News Journal advising she found out she needs signatures from 10 percent of Blanchester residents who voted in the last election — and not the “ten percent of the number of electors in the city, village or township who voted for governor at the preceding gubernatorial election” as stated in the “Referendum Petition, Municipality or Home Rule Township” on “Form 6-J Prescribed by Ohio Secretary of State (09-17).”

“This has changed the number of signatures needed from 127 to 260,” said Wellman.

She expressed frustration over what she feels is a hurdle placed by the village to prevent a referendum from happening.

Shane Breckel, Clinton County Board of Elections Director, told the News Journal the number of signatures needed is due to the village’s own charter.

“It allows them to deviate from what the State of Ohio indicates,” said Breckel.

The Charter, dated 1993, states: “… the statutes of Ohio respecting referenda shall not govern in the Village except as provided in this section. Instead, every measure enacted by the legislative body of the Village shall be subject to the referendum, if, at any time, within thirty days after enactment, a petition signed by the electors equal in number to at least ten percent of the entire registered electorate shall be filed with the clerk, unless such measure, at the option of the legislative body of the Village.”

Mayor John Carman told the News Journal the only residents who would have to pay the tax would be those working in the village or those working outside the village and not already paying an earnings tax.

If the referendum is unsuccessful, the earnings tax will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Anyone interested in adding their signature to the referendum can contact Wellman’s husband, James Burch, or her son, Reagan Burch, via Facebook. They need to do this before 4 p.m., Friday (July 8).

By John Hamilton

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Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574