MIDDLETON, Idaho -- A group calling themselves "The Concerned Citizens of Middleton" is one step closer to ousting the mayor of a small town in Canyon County.
The group announced Tuesday that it had collected 570 signatures on a petition to recall Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor. The group needs 518 certified signatures (20% of registered voters in the town) to get the recall election on the March 2013 ballot.
In previous communications, the group had accused Taylor of inappropriate business dealings and unwarranted public expenditures, among other controversial acts.
On Tuesday, one of the people leading the recall effort, Tyson Sparrow, spoke with KTVB. He says the group spent countless hours talking to people in Middleton and getting voters to sign the petition.
"Personally, when I was out knocking doors, there's a lot of concern in the city as far as where the money's going, and it's kind of an important thing to bring that to the light of everybody and keep them informed as far as what's going on in city council meetings," Sparrow said.
Sparrow does not believe Taylor is intentionally doing anything to harm the town, but he believes the mayor may be getting bad advice.
"I honestly believe that he has good intentions, but when you're talking about taxpayer dollars, and you're talking about the amount of money that's being spent, you have responsibilities as a leader to make sure that you follow those checks and balances that are in place," Sparrow said.
Taylor spoke with KTVB before Tuesday night's city council meeting. He believes there are some duplicate signatures on the petitions, as well as some signatures from people living outside Middleton. He also thinks the majority of people support him and other city leaders.
"There are a handful of people who like the things the way they were done before I was elected, and there are more people that like the changes that we've made," Taylor said.
Last week, the Ada County Prosecutor's Office cleared Taylor of criminal allegations the citizen task force brought to prosecutors. Taylor said he is not surprised by the findings, but he is glad to have the decision to clarify.
"We're just going to continue to listen and be patient and hope that sooner or later they recognize that nothing's being done illegally," Taylor said. "If they don't like the way it's being done, come share those thoughts with us, but certainly join and help support Middleton being a better place to live," Taylor said.
The Canyon County Clerk's Office confirmed the signatures for the recall had been submitted. Officials will now verify the signatures on the petitions, and have up to 15 days to do so.
If 519 signatures are verified, a special election to recall the mayor will be scheduled.