Election nears for Lincoln County, charter still hot topic

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) -- To charter or not to charter? That is the question for Lincoln County residents. When voters go to the polls on August 7th, they will have the option to vote either for or against a home rule charter for their community. A charter commission was established in 2012 and now, the commission is presenting a charter for residents to consider adopting. If the charter is approved, the county would change its current form of government from deriving its authority from state statutes to getting its authority from the charter.

Click here to read the full Lincoln County Home Rule Proposed Charter in its entirety.

It's a hot topic in Lincoln County right now. Those engaged in this issue are scared that voters aren't educated enough on the facts. They're afraid they won't be able to make an informed decision on August 7th.

"It's hard to say with any election," said Daryl Luna. "I know with the resources we have been allotted and the time we've been allotted, we've done the best we can." Luna is the chairman for the Lincoln County Charter Commission.

Rick Head, however, has his doubts. "We have been talking about possible lawsuits that are going to ensue if this is voted in," said Head. Head is a part of a grassroots organization against the home-rule charter.

He's worried that voters aren't as knowledgeable about the charter as he would hope they'd be at this point. "Yes. Yeah, I am and I think it's going to affect the vote on both sides whether you are for or against."

If the charter passes, the way Lincoln County operates will change. Whether it's for the better or for the worse, that's up to the voters.

"Honestly, we don't really know what the future holds for us," said Head. "We just know that it will be a rocky road based on what we've already seen."

But Luna disagrees. "I'm afraid if it doesn't pass, those that have been part of the system for so long will see that as a mandate that things can continue how they are."

One thing is for sure. The fate of Lincoln County's government is at the hands of voters. After August 7th, things might never be the same for the quiet area.

"I hope this has opened up a lot of people's eyes whether they vote for the charter or not," said Luna.