Macks Creek residents may have heard celebratory sounds of horns honking Tuesday night in lieu of what many are calling a victory for the town. Sixty-nine percent of the voters elected to dissolve the City of Macks Creek in the primary election. Dissolving the city simply means the city government will no longer be in place. The town itself will still be where it has always been.
Jerry Palmer and friends gathered at Palmer Feed to watch the results come in via the internet. Palmer said you could hear "a lot of screaming and shouting." Happy residents even took to the parking lot to let out their excitement. That's when they piled into their vehicles and took their joy to the streets. Palmer said that Captain Kelly Luttrell of the Camden County Sheriff's Department told the group "no honking after 9 p.m." So, they rejoiced until their curfew.
The day after the vote, the town was quiet. No sounds of horns honking or arguing between people with opposing viewpoints. "I'm glad it's over with," said one resident as she sat outside of what will be formerly known as Macks Creek City Hall. "It's time it got settled. There was too much fighting and bickering," another resident said.
Residents spoke of their dissatisfaction with the city government. Roads had gone ungraded for months, and some, years at a time. They are now hopeful that the county will be able to step in and take care of the town.
Many attribute "bad financial decisions" to how Macks Creek ended up in bad shape. Rumor has it that the city owes more than what it has in the bank. "When you can't operate, you are just done," Joe Crain said. Crain was one of the people spearhead the dissolve Macks Creek campaign. A day after the vote, Crain was breathing a sigh of relief. "It proved the people here are unhappy with what was going on," he said of the vote.
Palmer said he is "relieved and looking for a brighter future." To him, the vote was a step in the right direction. "People joined together to make Macks Creek the way it was years ago — peaceful," he said.
Macks Creek had the opportunity to dissolve the town in a previous election, but missed the margin needed by a few votes. At least 60 percent of the vote was needed to pass the issue. This year, it passed easily with 63 'yes' votes and 28 'no' votes. Palmer contributes "an outpour of supporters and a lot of hard work" to the dissolution passing.
One active member in the dissolution process, Leslie Chamberlin, started a Facebook group, People for Peace in Macks Creek, after feeling like she and other citizens were ignored during public meetings. "We were tired of not being able to talk," Chamberlin said. "The peace page," as they call it, was set up to be an open forum for residents to share their views without the fear of being ridiculed. "It was my way of fighting back," she added.
Page 2 of 2 - Chamberlin credits the hard work of the people and social media to the group's success.
The results will be officially certified by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan later in the week. After that, it is unclear what the next step is for Macks Creek. Many also wonder what will happen to the town's beloved park. That is still up in the air.
Mayor Joel Stoner was seen removing items from City Hall Tuesday night. Residents did not see what he took. Some assume he removed personal belongings, but that has yet to be confirmed.