Whidbey PUD backers deliver petition

"People For Yes on Whidbey PUD" turned in their petitions at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Island County Auditors office. The group exceeded their goal with a big cushion of extra signatures and are likely to qualify for the November ballot.

The group wants to start a public utilities district on Whidbey Island that would replace Puget Sound Energy as the provider of electric power in the area.

The group claims that they could offer lower rates and better service. However, the start-up of the PUD would be funded through a property tax increase that could be as high as 45 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.

In the last two months, the group collected 3,225 signatures. That's 833 signatures more than the 2,392 they needed to qualify for the ballot.

Bernice Kistler of Oak Harbor placed the last signature on a petition before turning them over to Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider.

Dave Metheny, director of "People For Yes on Whidbey PUD," then officially handed the petition over to begin the certification process.

The auditor office is now checking the validity of all the signatures. A number of the signatures are likely to be disqualified for various reasons.

The auditor has four certified Washington State Patrol people trained in signature verification checking petition signatures against the county's voter records.

As soon as the petitions are certified, the board of county commissioners will prepare a statement and publish a hearing date.

County planning director Jeff Tate is working on the boundaries for the three PUD commissioner districts, according to "People For Yes on Whidbey PUD."

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