Alderman Bob Donovan announced plans this afternoon to launch a citywide petition drive to trigger a binding referendum on the borrowing
for the downtown streetcar project. The alderman made the announcement at 1:30 p.m. today (Monday, November 24) in the third floor
Council Chamber anteroom at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.
The announcement comes just days after Mayor Barrett announced proposed tax incremental finance district (TIF) borrowing that could raise nearly $50 million and allow for adding a proposed 2.5 miles to the original 2.1-mile proposed streetcar route. Alderman Donovan said he has learned that state statutes allow a binding referendum to be pursued for any municipal borrowing proposal.
Alderman Donovan said the petition drive cannot start until the Council’s action is final in early 2015, but he would be working in the intervening
months to prepare for the drive. “I have said all along that we should give the people the opportunity to have their voices heard, and I intend
to do everything I can to allow that to happen,” he said. “I ask my colleagues and I ask the mayor, ‘What is wrong with giving the people the chance to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the streetcar project?”‘ Alderman Donovan said.
The borrowing file would most likely go to the full Council for a vote on January 21, 2015. If approved and if signed by the mayor, the petition
drive could officially start at the end of January and would have a 30-day window. More than 20,500 valid petition signatures would be required to trigger a binding referendum on the borrowing for the streetcar project.