Tobaccoville residents are set to vote Nov. 8 on whether they want to keep their mayor for the remainder of his term.
Earlier this month, members of the village council in Tobaccoville voted to adopt a resolution to call for the recall election that would oust Mayor Billy McHone.
A bill that allows Tobaccoville to hold recall elections became law in early August.
The process outlined in the law requires a petition with the signatures of at least 20 percent of the registered voters in Tobaccoville in order to recall a public servant. Tobaccoville has 1,715 registered voters as of April 1, according to the Forsyth County Board of Elections municipality data. The petition would have to have 343 signatures.
Several residents circulated the petition and collected 441 signatures. On Aug. 18, the Forsyth County Board of Elections certified 369 of the signatures.
Members, including McHone, unanimously passed the resolution at a specially called meeting Sept. 7 that will put the recall of the mayor on November’s ballot.
“I work at the pleasure of the taxpayers,” McHone said. “They got the signatures. I made the motion to put the recall on the ballot. We’ll let the voters vote on it in November.”
The law to allow for recall elections in the village was spurred by the decision of McHone to resign in January and his change of heart within 24 hours.
In January, Tobaccoville residents and the village council debated two proposed ordinances that would restrict discharging firearms within 1,000 feet of an occupied building and ban the use of “exploding targets” set off by high-velocity bullets.
The ordinances were proposed after property owners near Griffin Road filed a petition asking the council to do something about explosions near their homes on property owned by James and Janice Catlett. One ordinance was withdrawn from consideration, and the other was tabled.
In the midst of the debate, McHone resigned as mayor on Jan. 7 but rescinded his resignation before the council could meet again or accept his resignation.
McHone, however, said he believes the recall election was prompted by how he’s handled the budget.
“I’ve wanted to cut some hours for employees, and I don’t think people were to happy about that,” he said. “This all got blown out of proportion real quick.”
McHone, 69, has served as mayor of Tobaccoville for six years. Prior to that, he was on the village council.
“I’ve served here for 11 years and I’ve always served at the taxpayers’ pleasure,” he said. “I stand behind my record in Tobaccoville.”
James Catlett, who is heading up the drive against the mayor, said he doesn’t believe that McHone is a leader and called for voters to vote for the removal of McHone.
Last November, McHone ran unopposed and received a total of 75 votes, according to the Forsyth County Board of Elections.
“If 75 unopposed votes put you in office and in a week and a half a total of (441) signatures want you out, that shows that the people want you out of office,” Catlett said. “You have let them down.”