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Local sales tax petition

In order to get the local option sales tax back on the ballot, Stockton's Mayor Patrick Baker will have to get 972 signatures on a petition. 

Stockton has a second chance to say ‘yes’ to the local option sales and service tax. An ongoing conversation among Stockton Mayor Patrick Baker, Muscatine County Auditor Leslie Soule and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, revealed Stockton has two paths to put the issue back on the ballot.

In March, the county and every other incorporated town voted to implement the local option sales tax. In Stockton, not a single person voted.

In fiscal year 2015, the city of about 200 residents used the tax to raise as much as $20,000. Facing the loss of that revenue, the potential to get the sales tax back on the ballot is a boon, Stockton's mayor said.

To get it back on the ballot, citizens could create a petition, but it would require the signatures of 972 people, or 5 percent of the number who voted for president in the last general election. Or since the city of Muscatine has more than 50 percent of the county’s population, the city council could pass a motion to place it on the ballot.

Baker said he will try both.

“We are starting the petition now, and I will personally get 972 signatures if I have to,” Baker said. “This thing is going to be on the ballot whether it be a special election before that or by Muscatine putting it on the ballot on Nov. 6, 2018.” 

He began circulating a petition Tuesday.

“Even if takes a little footwork, I know I can get at least 1,500 signatures,” Baker said. “I want to go up and above that 972. I don't want to stop at 972.”

Any Muscatine County resident who is eligible to vote can sign the petition. Once it's on the ballot, only Stockton residents would vote.

“I'm going to go down and hit Muscatine hard,” Baker said. “Even if I have to go door-to-door and knock.”

To get city council to approve it, Baker will have to convince a councilor to submit the motion, which would need council approval.

“I’d like to have a conversation with the mayor of Stockton before I make that decision,” said at-large councilor Santos Saucedo. “I would have to at least review that before I commented saying I would agree to making a motion.”