Foes of new Coburg city sewer target mayor for recall

Foes of new Coburg city sewer target mayor for recall »Play Video

COBURG, Ore. - An empty field just north of Coburg where a waste water plant is proposed to be built is also ground zero for small town politics and a recall move against the mayor.

"The problem with it is the city can't afford it at this point," says activist Bill Ledford.

What he's talking about is a new waste water treatment plant.

The city plans to break ground on this land next month, which would replace the city's aging septic tanks.

Some Coburg residents are raising a stink over the sewer plan.

They don't want to pay more for the new plant - and blame the mayor for the trouble.

In Coburg, some residents are ready to recall Mayor Judy Volta.

Ledford maintains that residents can't afford the extra $85 a month. He and some of his neighbors tried to get the city's sewer ordinance repealed but says the city and mayor wouldn't accept their petitions.

"We feel that they are violating the voters' civil rights, so we want the mayor to be recalled - because it happened under her watch," says Ledford.

KVAL News wanted to give Mayor Judy Volta an opportunity to share her side of the story.

Messages left by phone and at the front desk of City Hall were not returned by news time.

Volta told KVAL News by email Monday that she is surprised by the petition and proud to serve Coburg.

Ledford thinks it would be cheaper and better for Coburg to hook up to sewer lines at Armitage County Park, which ties in with the Metropolitan Waste Water system.

But a Coburg city flier indicated engineers have studied other options and they are just as expensive.

Ledford estimates he'll need about 101 voters signatures from Coburg residents to qualify the recall for the ballot. He hopes to do that in the next 90 days.

Some of Oregon's small towns have a rich history of trying to get rid of their mayors and local leaders.

In just the last few years residents in the towns of Glide, Lakeside, Winston, Westfir, Yoncalla, Arlington, Florence, Oakland and Oakridge have all launched recall efforts.

Folks have also tried to oust county commissioners in Coos and Lane counties.