TAMPA — Backers of a proposal to create an elected Hillsborough County mayor have appealed a state judge's ruling last week removing the issue from the ballot.
They also asked that the question stay on the ballot until the appeal is settled. In the meantime, they will ask the 2nd District Court of Appeal to hear the matter quickly so it can be resolved before the November election.
Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson plans to start preparing the ballot for printing Sept. 5.
The group Elected County Mayor Political Committee Inc. began collecting petitions in 2006 to get the question on the ballot. When it failed to collect enough signatures for that year's election, it used the same petitions to get the question on this year's ballot.
However, the proposal called for holding the first mayoral election this year. Circuit Judge James Arnold ruled on behalf of Hillsborough activist James Shirk Friday that, since that's impossible, the question should be removed from the ballot.
Mary Ann Stiles of the Elected Mayor group said the date was meant to indicate when the first mayoral election could take place, not when it must. She hopes the appeals court sees it that way.