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The remonstrance process: How it works
Updated on: 05.15.13

By collecting at least 100 signatures against a proposed loan to renovate the courthouse, Brown County voters and taxpayers have triggered phase two of the remonstrance process.

The process, by state law, allows registered voters and property owners to protest the county entering into a loan if it is more than $2 million. The loan for the courthouse project is estimated at $6.5 million, but the bond resolution states that the amount is "not to exceed" $8.25 million. The county must advertise high because of how the state law works, explained county Commissioner Joe Wray.

A start date for phase two has not been set, and paperwork to gather signatures for and against the loan is not yet available for pickup at the county clerk's office.

Below is a primer on how a remonstrance works, from the Brown County League of Women Voters.

Read more about the process in the May 15 Brown County Democrat.

Remonstrance explained

The remonstrance process gives the voters and homeowners a voice in how their tax dollars are spent. It is not the same as a referendum.

A remonstrance is conducted through a petition drive.

A referendum (also known as a local public question) allows a voter to voice their opinion through their vote.

The remonstrance process is a race for signatures rather than a race for votes.

The petition and remonstrance process consists of two phases. Phase one is reserved for voters/homeowners opposed to the project. That opposition can be for any reason.

Phase one:

If you oppose the project, go to the county clerk’s office and request a petition. Brown County registered voters and/or property owners can carry one petition and gather signatures of other registered voters and/or property owners who oppose the project. Each petition has room for 25 signatures. You may ask for additional petitions to give to someone else to carry.

The carrier and signers must be owners of real property or registered voters. Each signer must indicate whether they are signing as a registered voter or as the owner of real property.

A person who signs a petition as a registered voter must indicate the address at which the person is registered to vote. A person who signs a petition as a real property owner must indicate the address of the real property owned by the person.

After the signatures have been collected, the carrier must swear or affirm before a notary public that the carrier witnessed each signature, and meet the filing deadline.

Petitions must be filed with the county clerk’s office within 30 days after the publication of the public notice in The Democrat: by 4 p.m. Friday, May 10.

The county voter registration office must determine whether each person who signed the petition is a registered voter. That office must forward a copy to the county auditor within 15 business days after receiving a petition.

Within 10 business days after receiving the copy of the petition, the county auditor must provide the county voter registration office a statement of verification.

The county registration office must make a final determination of the number of valid signatures within 10 business days after receiving the statement from the county auditor.

A person is entitled to sign a petition only one time in a particular remonstrance process, regardless of whether the person owns more than one parcel or real property and regardless of whether the person is both a registered voter and the owner of real property.

If 100 valid signatures are collected by the deadline, phase two begins.

Phase two:

In phase two, the county commissioners publish a public notice stating the applicability of the petition and remonstrance process within 30 days of the clerk’s certification of the number of valid signatures.

That legal notice must include a statement that any registered voter or property owner who wants a petition in favor of or remonstrate against the proposed debt service (bonds) must file petitions and remonstrances between 30 and 60 days after publication of the legal notice.

In that time period, petitions in favor of the bonds and remonstrances against the bonds may be filled out by property owners or registered voters. These will be available at the clerk’s office.

Each signature must be dated, and the date of the signature may not be before the date on which the petition and remonstrance forms may be issued.

Petitions and remonstrances must be verified and filed with the county voter registration office by the 60th day.

Verification of valid signatures is then processed by the voter registration office and the county auditor using the same method as in phase one.

Within 35 business days of the filing of the petition/ remonstrance containing 10,000 signatures or less, the county voter registration office must file a certificate with the commissioners.

If a greater number of people who are registered voters or property owners sign a remonstrance (against) than the number that signed a petition (in favor of), the bonds petitioned for may not be issued, or the lease petitioned for may not be entered into.

The commissioners may not issue bonds or enter into a lease for a project that is not substantially different within one year of the county voter registration office’s certificate.

If the greater number of qualified persons sign a petition than a remonstrance, the project may proceed.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Josephine Lee Cueto, 62, Morgantown
  Daughter of Priscilla Burgmeier of Nashville

Mary 'Jane' Kollman, 92, Nashville
  Mother of Janet (Tom) Gaskins of Nashville

Charlotte K. (Adkins) Wilson, 67, Franklin
  Former resident of Brown County

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