Thorson delivers another proposal to city leaders
Randy Thorson has given Fargo city leaders another set of signatures aimed at securing a spot on the June ballot for his smoking ban proposal. Two weeks ago, commissioners gave final approval to enact an initiated smoking ordinance that has the s...
Randy Thorson has given Fargo city leaders another set of signatures aimed at securing a spot on the June ballot for his smoking ban proposal.
Two weeks ago, commissioners gave final approval to enact an initiated smoking ordinance that has the same effect as the previous law.
Thorson, the Old Broadway co-owner who helped organize the initiated ordinance, wanted it placed on the June ballot.
Monday, he gave the city a set of petitions that ask to refer the new law to a vote. Commissioners received the petitions, but took no other action.
Thorson said he wants voters to decide between the current smoking ban and a stricter, no-exemptions smoking ban that's expected to appear on the ballot.
"What we're trying to do is get it to the vote of the people," said Thorson, co-owner of the Old Broadway. "By them adopting it, it won't go there."
He said he had about 4,000 signatures for the proposal he presented Monday. Some are likely the same people who signed the first petition requesting the new smoking ordinance, he told commissioners.
City Auditor Steve Sprague must now validate the signatures. If they're OK, commissioners can either repeal the smoking ban they just adopted, or send the request to voters.
Thorson said commissioners could have asked him to sit down and find some common ground, but never did.
Commissioner Tim Mahoney said Thorson could also have chosen to meet with commissioners, but never did.
"Instead, you went back out and wrote the same ordinance and asked for it to be referred," he said. "All you did is you changed it so that it has to go to a vote."
In other business, the commission approved higher rates for building permits, plumbing and sewer permits and sign permits, though not as high in some cases as the city Inspections Department requested.
Dan Lindquist, president of the Home Builders of Fargo Moorhead, opposed the increase.
He pointed to figures showing that in 2007 the city took in $680,405 more than it spent to approve and monitor construction.
That amounts to an unfair tax on people who want to remodel or build a home, he said.
Planning Director Jim Gilmour said 2007 was an unusually strong building year, which led to high permit income. Also, expenses from building-permit lawsuits weren't included in the 2007 city costs, he said.
Commissioners approved a 3 percent increase for residential permits instead of the 5.6 percent to 8.3 percent increases the Inspections Department wanted.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556
Thorson delivers another proposal to city leaders Andrea Domaskin 20071204