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Cookeville Will Explore Non-Resident Property Owners Voting In City

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Will Explore Non-Resident Property Owners Voting In City

Cookeville City Council will look into a potential charter change to allow Cookeville property owners who live outside the city limits to vote in city elections.

Mayor Ricky Shelton said it was an idea that had been discussed before, but no follow-through had occurred. Business Owner Amber Flynn-Jared said that she brought the idea back before the council because property owners deserve a voice.

“We’re voting for the people that are making really important decisions that are affecting our day-to-day lives,” Flynn-Jared said. “And so I know that there a lot of non-resident property owners that would love to be able to have a voice. They’re paying taxes, they’re investing in the city and just want to be able to be represented as well. ”

Flynn-Jared said that there are many municipalities in the state that allow voting by non-citizens. She cited rules from Knoxville all the way to Monterey with allowances for this type of situation.

Former City Mayor Dwight Henry also gave his support for this change. He said that it doesn’t feel right that people whose lives are affected by city decisions don’t have a say in who is making those decisions.

“I continue to maintain that while we happily take their tax revenues,” Henry said. “And if they have a business we like the fact that they hire local employees, they stimulate the economy, they support local non-profits and cyberteams and all that. But yet when they say ‘Well can we vote now?’ That just seems inherently wrong to me. And other places, if we move in this direction as a city, we will not be a voice in the wilderness as it goes down. All these other cities including Algood, if memory serves Monterey, and even Baxter have figured out a way in their different locales to make that work, and we can too. ”

City Attorney Dan Rader said that it would be important for a change like this to have a very narrow and specific language. Council members who spoke agreed.

The council plans to explore the issue further by looking at other charters for examples about how to achieve this in the best way for the city and its voters.


The post Cookeville Will Explore Non-Resident Property Owners Voting In City appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.