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Petition to block smart meters in Independence draws 6K signatures

Jackson Co. Election Board to verify signatures
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 17:31:48-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Nearly 6,000 people have signed a petition to keep smart meters out of Independence.

The petition is now in the hands of the Jackson County Election Board.

Lucy Young, a former Independence City Council member, is part of a group that began collecting signatures last month.

"We sat up at the DMV Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., for the past month," Young said. "It's the right thing to do."

Young's efforts began after majority of the city council voted to approve advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) or smart meters on April 1.

The decision came just two weeks after the city council voted down AMI.

Prior to each city council meeting, the city releases an agenda that details what will be discussed.

In the case of the AMI vote, nothing was noted on the agenda.

Citizens, like Young, said the vote was sneaky.

"There was no public discourse, there was no public notice," Young said.

Council members Karen DeLuccie, Mike Huff and Tom Van Camp were also surprised by the vote.

"This is like the mockery of democracy," Huff said. "That should've been on the agenda. People should've known about it." It may have been legal but it wasn't ethical."

One week later, the city council agreed to put a hold on moving forward with the contract for smart meters, pending the outcome of the petition.

Young and her group needed to collect roughly 3,000 signatures in 30 days.

They collected nearly double the amount.

The Jackson County Election Board has has 30 days to verify the signatures are valid.

The city council can then adopt the initiative or choose to put it to a vote by placing it on a ballot.