Indian Hills residents collect over 400 signatures on recall petition

More than 400 Indian Hills residents signed petitions submitted Monday morning to recall three members of the general improvement district board.

"I think all three of them forgot who put them in office," said Art Baer, recall organizer. "We've got to curtail these three characters before they get the board into trouble that we can't get out of."

The petitions target Richard Fairfax, Renee Haskell and Joanne Riekenberg mainly due to their Feb. 23 vote against a proposed community center.

Baer said the community had already spent nearly $80,000 to hire an architect, engineer and a surveyor.

"Now we have no community center and our tax money is gone," he said. "That's what I would classify as fiscal irresponsibility."

However, Fairfax said the money is not lost.

"It's not wasted, it's just on hold," he said. "It's on hold until next November."

Fairfax said he made the motion to put the community center on the ballot for November. He said he is not opposed to the idea of a community center, he just doesn't think they have the money right now to build one.

The district is facing a nearly $500,000 shortfall for the sewer system and will borrow around $400,000 from the state to fund water infrastructure.

"I don't see how we can afford it unless residents want to raise their taxes," Fairfax said. "If the voters want to raise their taxes, we'll get a community center."

Haskell has been on the board since 1995 and both Fairfax and Riekenberg were elected in 1998.

Recall advocates needed to obtain 254 signatures within 60 days in order to call for a special election to remove the three board members from office.

"We got a little over 400 signatures and it took us a little under three weeks," Baer said. "There's a lot of people that are a little disgusted with what's going on with the board of trustees."

Douglas County Clerk Treasurer Barbara Reed said she will have the official count of the number of signatures by Friday.

She will then have until June 2 to verify every signature on each of the three petitions. Haskell and Riekenberg each received 401 signatures to recall them. Fairfax received 398.

Reed said if all the signatures are verified, voters can expect a special election in the middle of July.

Baer said he would rather the three resign before a special election has to be held.

"I'm sorry that things deteriorated to this point," Baer said. "It's a sad affair when you have to resort to something like this."

Haskell and Riekenberg could not be reached for comment.


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