Letter showing City Attorney’s opinion on PGPOA petitions

At last night’s City Council meeting, City Attorney Ms. Suellen Ferguson reported that the recently submitted petitions by the Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association are “Legally insufficient”.

The City received two charter referendum petitions on March 22, 2012 meeting, when the Council referred the petitions to the attorney for a legal opinion whether the subject matter of each petition is appropriate for a proposed charter amendment placed on the ballot.

Ms. Ferguson said her opinion was based on a number of reasons.

She said the form of a petition does not comply with the requirements of the City Charter, as they do not include each signer’s City district. Board of Election Supervisor Jack Robson also spoke later to the Council on this ballot format issue.

She also said, according to the City Charter, the amendment must embrace only one subject, whereas the PGPOA petitions were based on two subjects.

Finally, she said the amendment has the effect of transferring the Council’s ability to set the tax rate to voters and this is an unreasonable limit on the Council’s legislative power. The tax revenues would eventually hamper the City government that it would be unable to perform the duties required by state law, she added.

You can see the reports from Ms. Ferguson and the Board of Elections Supervisor here and here respectively.