Initiative to incorporate White City got 'halfway'

Not enough signatures have been gathered to qualify a White City incorporation initiative for the November ballot.

"We are no more than halfway there," said Stan Alexander, one of the chief petitioners.

Alexander and other signature-gatherers faced a deadline of Tuesday to collect 618 valid signatures. They hoped to collect 800 signatures to cover any that might have been disqualified. There are 3,086 registered voters in the proposed city boundaries.

Alexander said he doesn't have an exact count yet as to how many signatures were gathered.

Signature gathering started late Thursday, so Alexander said it was difficult meeting the Tuesday deadline. "We knew the five days was going to give us a slim chance," he said.

Alexander said supporters of incorporation now will work to put the question to voters on the 2012 ballot.

If White City can become an incorporated city by the May 2012 primary, it would qualify for $1 million from the White City Urban Renewal District to build a city hall.

Alexander said it was unfortunate that he and others assumed property owners in White City would see a decrease in taxes rather than an increase.

A former member of an urban renewal advisory board, Alexander assumed his property taxes of $1.65 per $1,000 in assessed valuation would disappear once tax collection for the urban renewal district ended.

"I thought that when they said it would go away, I thought that meant they wouldn't be charging us for it," he said.

However, the money was redistributed to other agencies such as Jackson County Fire District No. 3 and the Eagle Point School District.

To incorporate, property owners would have to pay an additional $1.45 per $1,000 that would add $217.50 to the taxes on a house with an assessed valuation of $150,000.

Alexander said putting the initiative on the 2012 ballot would give supporters more time to convince local voters of the benefits of creating a city.

"Anything you do, you can do it better the next day," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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