Tuesday is decision day in Hastings.
The town’s residents will be voting on a proposition for the dissolution of the Town of Hastings and the revocation of its charter, which would go into effect Feb. 28, 2018. The proposed ordinance calls for the adoption of a dissolution plan and includes provisions for the equitable treatment of employees, transfer of assets and assumption of the town’s debt by St. Johns County, among other things.
The local general election is open to all registered voters residing within the incorporated limits of the Town of Hastings. Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. As of the Oct. 10 registration deadline, there were over 430 voters on the rolls.
According to the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections website, 41 of 70 vote-by-mail ballots requested had been returned to the office as of Friday.
Hastings council members voted in December to seek the county’s help in studying the effects of dissolution, which essentially means Hastings would become an unincorporated part of St. Johns County, like Ponte Vedra Beach or Julington Creek.
Some of the town’s residents had raised concerns about the town’s financial position, the cost of utilities and the amount of property tax revenues collected by the town.
In August, after no shortage of back and forth with the county to paint a picture of what dissolution might actually look like, the town’s council members voted to move forward with placing the proposition to dissolve on a ballot.
In September, county commissioners voted in favor of potentially absorbing the town’s 13 current employees and waiving the standard 60-day benefit wait period for those who join the county. They also decided against establishing a utility surcharge to adopt existing county rates for Hastings utility customers or implementing a Municipal Service Taxing Unit/Municipal Service Benefit Unit to address other operational costs should the town ultimately dissolve.
There were also three seats on the town council up for grabs this election cycle.
Chris Coleman, who ran unopposed, has already claimed Seat 1. Mayor Tom Ward, whose opponents withdrew from the race, has already claimed Seat 2.
On the ballot for Seat 3 are Kim Lewis Felder and Chris Stanton.
In the event of dissolution, of course, the town council races could be something of a moot point.
For more information, go to www.votesjc.com.