Historic first referendum in Camas to allow residents to vote on new utility tax

One week after members of the Camas City Council narrowly voted 4-3 to approve a new 2 percent tax on utility bills, citizens have filed a referendum petition to have their voices heard on the matter.
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The referendum petition needs 2,730 signatures from Camas registered voters by 5 p.m. on January 9, 2023 to be part of a Special Election held on April 25, 2023

One week after members of the Camas City Council narrowly voted 4-3 to approve a new 2 percent tax on utility bills, citizens have filed a referendum petition to have their voices heard on the matter.  The city of Camas numbered it “Referendum No. 1”  which reflects the historic nature of this referendum.  It is the first municipal referendum filed by Camas citizens in the city’s 116-year history.

The referendum petition needs 2,730 signatures from Camas registered voters by 5 p.m. on January 9, 2023 to be part of a Special Election held on April 25, 2023.  The new utility tax, which was proposed by Mayor Steve Hogan in his 2023-2024 biennium budget and approved by members of the City Council, would be paused by law until Camas voters decide on whether to impose the tax on Camas taxpayers. 

It seems that securing almost 3,000 valid signatures from Camas registered voters in 30 days will be no easy task, especially over the holidays.  However, Referendum 1 supporters have made the process open and easily accessible to all Camas registered voters right from their own computers or mobile devices.  

Camas voters can go to www.fixcamas.com to read the tax ordinance in full and download their own personal copy of the referendum petition form and follow the signing instructions attached.  Other Camas registered voters at their address can also sign the same petition. They can also use that same petition to get friends and neighbors who are also registered voters in Camas to sign. Fifteen unique signature lines are available on each petition form. Each voter can only sign the petition once. 

“Let the people decide,” says Brian Wiklem, a Camas citizen. “We filed this referendum to give Camas residents an actual voice in this process, because time and time again, our elected officials are not listening to those they claim to represent.” 

Wiklem’s sentiment echoes remarks made during the November 21, 2022 public hearing by other citizens including citizen Alicia King. She believed the tax would be put up for a vote of the people, but when she learned that was not the case, she told the council, “Well then, I don’t really like that …send it out to the people. I think that’s fair and if people have differing opinions we can have a vote on that.”  

For more information on Referendum 1, or to volunteer to help or obtain a referendum petition to sign, Camas voters can go to www.fixcamas.com or email fixcamas@fixcamas.com.


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Margaret
Margaret
1 month ago

Thank you to the citizens who filed this referendum! It is extremely rare that citizens have a direct vote on an unnecessary tax hike like this one. Camas citizens already pay the highest taxes in Clark County. Many forecasts for a recession in 2023.

Anna Miller
Anna Miller
28 days ago
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