The Ohio Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Citizens for Galion to overturn a recent decision by the Crawford County Board of Elections which tossed an electric rate issue off the ballot.
The citizens group was looking for voters to approve a measure in November which would call for an independent audit of the city’s electric rate structure from 2005-2012. If there was an overcharge in the rates, the issue would call for a refund for affected citizens.
“Although we made an extraordinary effort to get a ‘writ of mandamus’ from the Supreme Court to put the electric audit/refund check issue on the ballot, we were late in filing our merit brief and it was rejected by the Court,” Citizens for Galion member Roberta Wade said. “Time was working against us from the very beginning, as this was an expedited elections case. The three-day deadline for filing the brief was just not enough time, but we came very close to meeting the deadline.”
Wade received notice Tuesday about the rejection and the Court published a statement Friday officially turning down the appeal.
No immediate comment on the matter was offered by Galion Law Director Thomas Palmer.
After signatures on petitions on the issue were approved by the Crawford County Board of Elections, the City of Galion filed a protest on the issue.
The city based its case on the following issues:
* The proposed ordinance may not be submitted to the voters under the general initiative provisions in state law due to the special provisions in Article XVIII, Sections 4 and 5 of the Ohio Constitution governing the municipal operations of Public Utilities.
* The proposed ordinance may not be submitted to the voters due to Ohio’s overriding laws governing fiscal emergency.
* The proposed ordinance, if adopted, would constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative authority.
Wade said her group is not done with the matter.
“Our group does have other options beside a ballot issue that we are considering for this electric overcharging issue,” Wade said. “But the main thing that we want the citizens to know is that we will not allow this electric overcharging issue to go unaddressed.”