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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2005

Delta: Referendum validity rejected

DELTA, Ohio - An effort by three Delta women - a hairdresser, a bus driver, and a legal secretary - to put a referendum on the village's water rate increase on the November ballot and halt construction on its new water treatment plant in the meantime was denied this week.

Williams County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Gretick, who was assigned to the case in Fulton County Common Pleas Court, ruled in favor of the village clerk and assigned court costs to the three women in an entry journalized yesterday by the Fulton County Clerk of Courts office.

"The old saying 'You can't fight city hall' - they make it so you can't fight city hall," said Kathy Galbraith, who - along with Rita Harpring and Rose Butz - filed suit against the village clerk.

The women tried to put a referendum on this November's ballot on an ordinance raising water rates that village council passed Nov. 1. The 8.7 percent rate increase was related to the water plant being built.

They gathered signatures and turned their petition into the village offices at the end of November. But Village Clerk Valerie Edwards, who by law is to review such petitions for accuracy, decided proper procedures had not been followed and thus did not file the petition with the Fulton County Board of Elections.

The case before Judge Gretick was on the validity of those petitions, with the three women asking the court to order Clerk Edwards to file the petition.

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