A group of Allentown residents that opposes Mayor Pawlowski's proposal to lease the city's water and sewer system to a private contractor says it has collected 4000 signatures. The signatures are on a petition calling for a referendum to be placed on the May ballot. The referendum, if passed, would amend the city charter to require another referendum should the city seek to sell or lease any city asset valued at more than 10 million dollars. The peitioners say they plan to deliver the signatures to the clerk of city council Wednesday afternoon.
According to the city charter, only 2000 signatures are needed to force a referendum. The clerk has 20 days after receiving the petition to certify its sufficiency. In an October 25 written opinion, Allentown solicitor Jerry Snyder concluded that the city charter requires all the signatures on an initiative petition be collected exclusively by the five members of the petitioners' committee. The committee says it has had 30 people collecting signatures.
Should the petition be deemed insufficient, the petitioners would be afforded the opportunity to amend it. Council would review the petition's (or the amended petition's) sufficiency, but ultimately the courts may be asked to rule.
It's also possible that the administration could complete a lease agreement prior to the May ballot.
The petitioner's committee is made up of Dan Poresky, who is the former owner of Dan’s Camera City and a member of the city’s Environmental Advisory Council, former City Council member Michael Donovan, former City Controller William Hoffman, and former Allentown Patriots presidents Glenn Hunsicker and Glenn S. Hunsicker.