Elections officials have verified the needed signatures to place an initiative on Lewiston’s November ballot aimed at prohibiting city officials from spending funds for other than its specified purpose.
Nez Perce County Clerk-Auditor Patty Weeks says 557 of the petition’s signatures were those of qualified electors, easily above the 374 names needed to place the measure before voters.
Measure supporters say the goal is to establish accountability to let citizens know what their money is collected for. The petition was initially discussed among members of the group Taxpayers Against Unfair Taxation to prevent future transfers like the city council’s recent loan of $800,000 from a city sanitation fund to the Lewiston City Library renovation project.
However, Lewiston City Manager Jim Bennett says the way the initiative is written could prohibit the city from building up reserves in city enterprise funds for emergencies, or to save for projects like the building of a water treatment plant. City Attorney Jamie Shropshire recently said the transferring of money in between funds is an administrative act not subject to the initiative process.