AUSTINTOWN -- A group of local residents is making a second attempt to collect signatures needed to put home rule on the ballot this November.
Pinecrest Avenue resident Gary Brant said about 80 petitions are being circulated in an effort to collect the 1,696 signatures he believes are necessary to put home rule on the ballot.
The figure represents 10 percent of the number of township residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Home rule is a limited form of self-government that was approved by the trustees March 11.
"I think we should vote on what type of government we've got," Brant said. "Most people feel the same way."
Township Administrator Michael Dockry, however, said he doesn't think the residents will be able to collect the signatures.
"That organization will have a hard time getting enough signatures," he said. "They are misreading the public opinion on home rule."
Trustee Richard Edwards added that he receives about 20 calls from local residents supporting home rule for every one call he receives against it.
Brant noted that the petitions are different from those that he and other local residents circulated in the days after March 12. Those petitions were in response to a state law requiring residents to collect the signatures within 30 days after home rule was approved.
The residents were about 100 signatures short of the 1,696-signature requirement when the deadline passed, Brant said.
Brant said the new petitions are being circulated under a different section of state law. He said he had worked with the secretary of state's office and an attorney to create the new petitions.