Chapin voters to decide on form of government in referendum

CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - Voters in Chapin have a big decision to make in the coming months: should the town strip its mayor of certain powers and move to a council-strong form of government?

The decision comes after months of tension in Chapin between Mayor Skip Wilson and members of his council.

Essentially, supporters say the change in government would strip Wilson of certain abilities that he currently has. One is overseeing certain personnel matters in the town.

This comes weeks after Wilson's controversial decision to suspend and then fire the town clerk amid arguments that she had been misappropriating town funds.

That, and other actions by the mayor, have ignited many passions with members of the council and town residents. After county officials looked at the petition, they found it was signed by about 190 registered voters in Chapin, which is more than enough to clear a 15 percent threshold to have this question go to the polls.

"It was handed back to them yesterday morning at the meeting and said 'The petition has passed,'" Lexington County Director of Elections Dean Crepes said. "Therefore, let's start planning for an election this year."

Now amid the squabbling, voters in Chapin must determine what form of government they want.

Should the referendum pass, supporters say Wilson will still be mayor. However, he will no longer be able to make certain personnel decisions. Wilson would still run town meetings.

A date has yet to be set for the referendum. Election officials in Lexington County say they would like to have it in late September before more added work will come from the November election.

Mayor Wilson has denied our requests for comment on the petition.

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