Diamond Star Town Clerk Diane McDaniel rejected the petitions seeking to put the town's tax code on the ballot due to a procedural error.
"According to state law, the petition number had to be on both sides of the petition, and there's a procedure I have to follow in getting ready to certify the signatures," McDaniel said. "It says I have to remove all petitions that do not have the serial number on both sides, and that was all of them.
"I returned all the originals to (local developer G. Michael Horton) and advised him in a letter that according to state statute I denied the referendum."
The petition was filed by a group called CART - Citizens Against Runaway Taxes. While Horton says he is "indirectly" involved in CART, the officers listed on the statement of organization supplied to McDaniel are George Randall, president, Roy Haught, vice president, and Scott Crabdree as secretary treasurer.
According to McDaniel, CART cannot begin the petition drive anew.
"He's past his date," she said. "He had 30 days after the tax code ordinance was passed to get the petition approved, and he did that.
"At that time, he had 30 days to get the petitions signed and back into me, and he did that. I picked them up on Feb. 7, but now the 30 days have expired."
McDaniel said Horton's only recourse at this point is to sue her on the basis of her decision.
"But everyone I spoke with -- including the Secretary of State's office, which oversees all of this -- told me when there were no petitions to certify, I was done. So I never got to the verification process."
The Diamond Star Town Council will hold a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 28) at Star Valley Southern Baptist Church. The meeting will feature a Powerpoint presentation on the area's water resources by LFR Levine Fricke, the hydrogeology firm retained by Diamond Star to conduct a safe yield study of the town.