Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said he would not give a petition to put the county's energy tax on the November ballot to the county Board of Elections.

Because the county's authority to pass the energy tax is established in state law, voters cannot impose any restrictions on county lawmakers' ability to increase the tax, County Attorney Marc Hansen explained in a memo to Leggett.

Local activist Robin Ficker submitted 14,500 signatures on Monday to put on the November ballot a requirement that the County Council unanimously approve any increase in the energy tax that raises revenue by more than the rate of inflation.

After Leggett announced that he would not send Ficker's petitions to the Board of Elections for certification -- which he is required to do only after certifying that the petitions comply with the law -- Ficker said he would take the matter to court.

Leggett "doesn't even want his employer, the voters, to have a say on this energy tax limitation proposal," Ficker said.