Hemingway businessman Dale Johnson appeared before the Hemingway Town Council meeting Nov. 14, to ask council to look into allowing non residents to vote in local elections.
Though Johnson and his wife each are business owners in Hemingway, they do not live within the town’s limits. This past year, the two helped organize a fundraiser for the Hemingway Police Department. That fundraiser, he said, is coming up again the third Friday of February 2020. Last year, it raised about $9,000.
Johnson said he and other business owners who don’t live in the town would like a say in the town’s decision-making process. They would like to be able to vote in the local council election, though they do not live in town limits.
According to Hemingway Mayor John Michael Collins, Johnson said as the local business owners support the police fundraiser, and other events in the town, the established business owners should have the right to vote “as they are what keeps the town going.” According to Johnson, 90 percent of business owners do not live in Hemingway and they should have a say as to what goes on in town.
Council told Johnson they would get the town attorney to look into the matter. Johnson went on to ask for support for the upcoming Police Department fundraiser, by way of the town offering extra trashcans, advertising, etc.
Johnson was asked to provide a list of needs and Collins said the town would do everything it could to help and support the fundraiser.
In regards to the town’s street dance and chili cook-off on Nov. 23, Councilmember Charlie Carter asked if everything was set.
Collins said, “We are good to go, just need the weather to cooperate.” Collins went on to say that the Christmas festival committee asked that the town’s Christmas lights be in place on the night of the festival. That event, being sponsored by the Hemingway Merchant’s Association and the Williamsburg Hometown Chamber of Commerce, will be on Dec. 7.
Town Administrator Joe Lee said the lights would be in place.
In other business, Collins asked about getting tag readers for the town’s police cars. “For officer safety, I think they are a great tool,” he said.
Lee is to get prices and the items will be discussed at the December meeting.
Lee reported that the town was awarded a safety award from the municipal association, giving the town $2,500. Lee also said some old buildings in town need to be torn down and he is getting prices regarding demolition.
Council went into executive session to discuss “a town contract matter.” When they returned they announced no votes had been taken on anything discussed in the closed session and adjourned.