Recall petitions containing 261 signatures were turned in to Alice City Hall before noon Friday.

That means the issue of setting a recall referendum for Alice City Council members Elida Garza and Yolanda Moran could go before the council at their meeting Thursday night, city clerk Diana Lopez said.

Recall organizers Cindy Loera and Randal Dickens delivered the petitions to city hall Friday. The city initially stated that they needed the signatures of at least 100 Alice voters to force a recall referendum on each candidate. It was later determined that each petition needed at least five-percent of the number of voters from the most previous election. Since the May 6 election drew 2,249 voters, the number of signatures each petition needed rose to 113.

The city hasn’t counted the signatures, but it has four business days to validate the signatures using the Jim Wells County Voter Registrar’s list of registered voters for the City of Alice. Lopez then will present her report to the city council. She expects to do that at the regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night in city hall. The council is then in charge of calling for a recall referendum and setting a date for the vote.

Through the referendum, voters will vote for or against the recall of each of the two candidates. Lopez said the entire process should be carried out like any election with a period for absentee voting, mail-ins and an actual election day. City attorney David Towler is expected to work with the Secretary of State’s office to ensure the city handles the election properly and to help answer any questions that may arise, Lopez said.

Loera and Dickens said the two council members were irresponsible in voting to open the city’s embattled Multi-Use Facility in a council meeting in May. Despite a presentation by the city outlining options for opening the facility, Moran made a motion to simply open the natatorium. It was seconded by Garza. Council member Pete Crisp voted against the opening and urged the council to organize a workshop to discuss funding. Cynthia Carrasco abstained from voting, and the motion passed.

According to each of the affidavits filed by the recall group to collect signatures, the alleged “incompetence, misconduct or malfeasance” of Moran and Garza was “The act of voting to approve the opening of the Alice Natatorium without conducting a financial or operational due diligence nor determining the financial effect on the City of Alice taxpayers, including but not limited to where the money was coming from; was there ample funds in the adopted budget and without amending the budget in order to support the cost of opening the operation of the Alice Natatorium.”

The Alice City Council has since unanimously voted to open the entire Multi-Use Complex for public use, including the water park area, by approving an amendment to the 2016-17 fiscal budget which reflects changes for the complex’s opening.