A petition seeking a public vote on nullifying a requirement that property buyers disclose the purchase price lacks sufficient signatures to qualify for the October municipal ballot, and organizers will have 10 days beginning Friday to gather additional signatures, Juneau City Clerk Beth McEwen said Thursday.
“We are still determining the exact number of approved signatures,” she said.
A total of 2,130 signatures are needed to put the measure on the ballot. Proponents said they gathered nearly the 3,000 signatures hoped for by the June 3 deadline, but an initial city tally declared there were 2,501 registered voters signing the petition books.
“We had to disqualify a number of books outright due to various reasons,” McEwen said.
Additional scrutiny during the 10-day city review period revealed further ineligible signatures such as duplicates, she said.
The sales price disclosure policy has officially been in effect since 2020, but there were no penalties for not complying. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly in April voted to impose a $50-a-day fine for buyers failing to disclose purchase prices by June 27 or 90 days from the transaction date, whichever is later, prompting the petition drive to overturn the ordinance.
Advocates of the disclosure requirement say it increases information available to official assessors and the general public, resulting in more more accurate and equitable assessments. Those opposed to the requirement argue sales prices are not necessarily a good indicator of taxable value and it’s an invasion of the buyer’s privacy.
The group circulating the petition, Protect Juneau Homeowners’ Privacy, stated in a message Thursday they will continue high-profile efforts to get the remaining necessary signatures as soon as they pick up the additional books.
“We will be at Juneau Gold Rush Days Saturday and Sunday with a booth to collect additional signatures,” the message stated.
Juneau Empire reporter Mark Sabbatini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org