AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Two Amarillo citizens officially submitted a petition to city of Amarillo officials Monday morning surrounding the Civic Center-related ordinance approved by the Amarillo City Council in May.

On Monday afternoon, Potter County Republican Chair Dan Rogers, along with Timothy Gassaway, the president of the Amarillo Area Black Chamber of Commerce, dropped off the petition to the city secretary for the city of Amarillo. Signed by 12,575 individuals, the petition’s aim is to repeal Ordinance 7985, the ordinance which issued the use of tax and revenue notes to fund improvements and the expansion of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex and bring the issue back to the voters in an election.

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the ordinance was adopted by a 4-1 vote by the council during the May 24 meeting, coming after 61% of Amarillo residents voted against the Civic Center bond issue in the November 2020 election. The petition process began on Aug. 3, with the city’s charter requiring that organizers are required to collect signatures from “not less than five percent of the registered voters within the City of Amarillo.” 

Rogers said community members collected signatures for this petition in “record time,” showing that the community does not want the Amarillo City Council to move forward with the Civic Center-related ordinance. He said community members were “anxious to sign that petition.”

After Amarillo residents voted down Civic Center-related measures in both 2016 and 2020, Rogers said he believes what the Amarillo City Council is doing goes against the voters’ wishes.

“You know, we need people in our political process of honor and honorable people would not go around the voters. So, we need to restore honor to our political process,” Rogers said. “…Our elected officials need to do the right thing and just rescind the ordinance and stop the madness. That’s all we have to do. But they keep wanting to push forward. The voters have turned it down twice. We have the petition signed to do it again. How many times do they have to tell them no? You know, if you tell somebody no, they should stop.”

In a statement provided by MyHighPlains.com, Fairly said this petition brings forward a voice some community members have surrounding the action that the Amarillo City Council on this particular Civic Center-related ordinance.

“It’s a virtual chorus of Amarilloans – more than the number of votes received by any City Council Member in the last election – saying ‘We disagree, please stop,'” Fairly said in the statement. “We are inspired by the overwhelming response, and are hopeful our City Council will now simply listen to their constituents.”

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the results from the May 2021 election in the Mayor’s race, along with the other places for the City Council were:

City of Amarillo Mayor

GINGER NELSON10,96254.04%
CLAUDETTE SMITH5,87728.97%
MICHAEL HUNT3,07315.15%
CARL KARAS3721.83%

Amarillo City Council Place One

COLE STANLEY9,54751.11%
HOBERT BROWN5,58529.90%
JASON TILLERY3,54919.00%

Amarillo City Council Place Two

FREDA POWELL10,95156.72%
JASON FOGLESONG5,57728.89%
JOE WEST2,77814.39%

Amarillo City Council Place Three

EDDY SAUER11,08356.77%
TOM SCHERLEN8,43843.23%

Amarillo City Council Place Four

HOWARD SMITH9,65650.52%
RICHARD HERMAN3,69419.33%
SHARYN DELGADO3,52118.42%
ALI RAMOS2,24311.73%

What’s next in the process?

Officials with the city of Amarillo said there were no officials who would be able to speak with MyHighPlains.com on this petition. However, section 23 of the Amarillo City Charter lays out the process moving forward for petitions.

According to section 23 of the Amarillo City Charter, the city now has 21 calendar days to verify that the “required number of valid signatures is contained on each petition.” The city will then let the individuals who signed the petition know the time of the meeting when the consideration of what the petition covers is discussed.

After the presentation of the petition, along with a public hearing at the time, the Amarillo City Council is required to “take final action… either repealing or refusing to repeal the Ordinance or resolution sought to be referred,” within 30 days, according to the charter.

If the council refuses to pass or repeal the ordinance or repeals only a part of the ordinance or resolution, the committee that came together to start the petition process “may require that such Ordinance or resolution, either in its original or amended form, be submitted to a vote of the electors for adoption or repeal,” the charter reads.

“When an Ordinance or resolution proposed by petition is to be submitted to a vote of the electors for adoption or repeal, after the Council has acted upon the same,” the charter reads, “…then such initiating or referring committee, as the case may be, upon a majority of vote of such committee, shall certify their desire to have the same submitted for adoption or repeal, within 20 days after the Council shall have taken action on the same…”

After this action, the City Secretary will present this to the City Council at its next regular meeting. The Ordinance or resolution will then be submitted by the City Council to a vote from registered voters in the next election, giving the voters the opportunity to say whether or not they are for or against the measure.

“If a majority of the voters voting in such election shall vote in favor of the repeal of such Ordinance or resolution, then the same shall be considered repealed,” the charter reads.