| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Murrysville residents, not municipality, can circulate petitions for ballot inclusion

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Murrysville residents will be responsible for circulating any petition regarding drilling leases under the community park, despite information released earlier this month by the Westmoreland County Election Bureau.

Under the municipal home charter, residents can circulate a petition to put a referendum on the November ballot regarding any enacted ordinance, solicitor George Kotjarapoglus. However, some residents who called the election bureau for direction were told that the municipality had already filed for a referendum.

“They were told they could not do it — that we were doing it,” Councilman Jeff Kepler said. “There seems to be some confusion between the election bureau.”

Jim Montini, director of the election bureau, said there was no confusion. Murrysville officials had inquired about placing a referendum on the ballot, Montini said. Once the county solicitor realized that Murrysville is governed by a home-rule charter, the county's involvement was nil, Montini said.

That charter explains that residents are permitted to circulate a petition to put a yes-no referendum question on an election ballot if it is in response to an act of legislation.

“It's no question that the charter authorizes it,” Kotjarapoglus said. “It's nothing that we prepare and circulate on our own. It has to be a citizen's initiative.”

Resident Linda Marts said she initially was told that there was a referendum question filed by the municipality but later received a call saying that wasn't true.

Murrysville officials said they agree that the process is complicated, but they are prohibited from taking the lead.

“It would be easier for us to initiate it,” Councilman Dave Perry said. “But the charter is pretty clear.”

Montini said residents interested in circulating a petition should rely on the municipality for direction.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Murrysville

  1. PTOs, officials welcome waiver of fees for volunteers
  2. Murrysville tattoo parlor to host St. Jude fundraiser
  3. Murrysville man won’t be charged for slitting pit bull’s throat
  4. Franklin Regional Soccer Boosters’ 5K set for Aug. 22
  5. Turtle Creek short-line rail marks 125th anniversary
  6. Delmont council notes: Two new officers hired, smoke testing to take place
  7. ‘Wipes out’: Nonflushable paper products causing clogging issues
  8. Photo gallery: ‘Water Day’ at Goddard School in Murrysville