By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The Home Rule form of government will continue in the city, after a referendum to abolish it was defeated with a vote of 2,455 to 3,214.
“It feels good,” said Keep Home Rule Vote No Committee Chairman Donte Moore. “I’m so glad to see the people of Mt. Vernon see that Home Rule is essential to keep the growth in Mt. Vernon going.”
Changing the form of government was defeated by a margin of 759 votes. Two of the most outspoken backers of the Vote No committee was the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson County Development Corporation.
“Part of the mission of the chamber of commerce is to watch legislation and items that would impact our business community,” JCCC Executive Director Brandon Bullard said. “”It was our board of directors who realized the referendum would have an impact on the business community and the future and progress of our community. It’s an economic impact tool that is important to the future of Mt. Vernon and the surrounding areas.”
Bullard said the referendum itself gave a two-fold message.
“It has been our job to educate the public on what Home Rule is and the mechanism of Home Rule,” Bullard said. “I’m happy we can still have local control, because it’s what’s right for our community, no matter who is in office.”
Bechtel said she and the JCDC are also happy about the results.
“We feel Home Rule is an important tool for economic development,” Bechtel said. “It is one of the most important things for our future. We’re excited to still have that tool in place.”
Moore said the Keep Home Rule Vote No Committee was made up of about 30 volunteers, with social media playing an important part in getting their message to the public.
“Facebook kept the conversation going,” Moore said. “We also did a lot of door knocking. The entire Vote No committee went door-to-door talking to people on several weekends. But, Facebook was the biggest thing. A lot of people wanted to get in on the conversation and we had a lot of great dialog going on both sides of the issue.”