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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Judge declines petition

OCEAN CITY - Despite the volume of paperwork it produced, the push by local tax activists to have their dispute with the city heard in federal court will not be going forward.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett issued his final opinion last week with regard to a case filed by the organization known as Ocean City Taxpayers for Social Justice, which spearheaded a petition drive to create a referendum on the next municipal ballot potentially limiting the city’s property tax rate.

The city has challenged OCTSJ’s petition in Maryland Circuit Court for Worcester County, questioning the ability of voters to dictate a specific tax rate via charter amendment, and citing a previous decision in the case of Anne Arundel County vs. Smallwood.

Subsequently, OCTSJ frontman Tony Christ filed for relief in federal court, claiming, in short, that the city’s attempt to prevent the petition from hitting the ballot, by citing the Smallwood precedent, denied the public’s First Amendment right to petition its government.


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