Franklin Co. commissioners deny petition for Donut Hole vote
Donut Hole residents in Franklin County hit a major road block in their attempt to become their own city.
This afternoon, county commissioners decided they won't allow residents to vote on becoming their own city.
Commissioners said they couldn't allow the vote because the current annexation of the Donut Hole by the City of Pasco has not been ruled as illegal by a judge.
Donut Hole residents turned in hundreds of signatures to the county late last year so they could get a vote on the ballot to potentially become their own city.
After the signatures were verified, county commissioners had 60 days to hold a public hearing and decide if they will allow the vote to go on the ballot.
Today is day 60.
Since the signatures were turned in, the City of Pasco started annexing part of the Donut Hole, and residents there are fighting that in court.
A judge hasn't made a ruling in the current litigation so the annexation legally stands, and county commissioners unanimously voted to deny the petition for the vote.
"You're gonna have 982 extremely disappointed individuals that took their time, their effort, their money to work on this process. It's not just a couple of us. It's literally hundreds of people that are involved in it. And I think they'll be extremely disappointed we didn't get to the point where we could get a vote" said Roger Lenk, Donut Hole resident.
Lenk says he will continue to fight the city in court.
But a final decision on the issue may take months - right now, there is no date set for another hearing.
If a judge rules the annexation is illegal, Donut Hole residents will have to start from scratch and gather petition signatures all over again if they want to get a vote on a county ballot sometime in the future.
Donut Hole residents say they have been working on avoiding annexation and becoming their own city since July 2011.