Johnsonville voters to decide on reducing size of council

April 3, 2019

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – The Johnsonville City Council passed a resolution Tuesday that will allow residents to vote on whether they want to see the number of council seats changed from six to four.

Charlie Ipock, the city’s attorney, said the passing of the resolution will allow for a referendum to occur on June 25.

According to the resolution, the referendum ballot will ask: “Shall the City of Johnsonville reduce the number of Members of its City Council from a Mayor and six (6) Members of City Council to a Mayor and four (4) Members of City Council?” A “yes” or “no” answer can be selected by each voter.

Residents will be able to vote on the proposal from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 25 in the Johnsonville High School gymnasium. The Florence County Election Commission will be in charge of the election.

Ipock said the result of the vote will be applicable to the general election in November.

The polling of the referendum is expected to cost the city $3,000. Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Hanna said it also costs the city $3,000 per seat for other elections.

“And the concern about the lack of representation, four can represent the city of Johnsonville as well as six,” Hanna said. “It’s not the more the merrier.”

He said the key is to fill the seats in the audience during council meetings because that is where representation comes from.

“If we have been told, and we get the support in those seats out there, your representation will be fine with four,” Hanna said. “But whatever the citizens want to do.”

Mayor Steve Dukes said the city has never had an abundance of people interested in running for council positions.

“I mean, it’s getting to a point where you almost have to go out there and beg somebody,” Dukes said. “And you really don’t want somebody who doesn’t really want to do it anyhow. You want somebody to get out and represent the citizens.”