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updated: 1/11/2017 11:34 AM

Hearing Friday on validity of Batavia home-rule referendum petition

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The Batavia electoral board will meet Friday to determine if a petition for an April referendum on home-rule status is valid.

Former city administrator Bill McGrath and his wife, Donetta, filed an objection Monday.

They contend the petition filed on behalf of Batavians for Responsible Government does not contain enough signatures.

BRG collected 381 signatures, but state law requires 8 percent of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in the city, which equates to more than 1,100 signatures.

The hearing begins at 4 p.m. in the city council chamber at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave.

The referendum question asks voters whether Batavia should cease having home-rule status.

Batavia became a home-rule city automatically in 2009 once its population grew past 25,000.

Home rule gives city officials more abilities to regulate and to tax. Home-rule cities are not subject to the state's property tax cap law that limits annual increases to the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. They can also enact other taxes. Batavia used its home-rule authority to adopt a gasoline sales tax and a liquor tax.

The McGraths are Batavia residents. Bill retired in July 2016, and Donetta is co-owner of a vintage goods store.

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