UPDATE: Varnell meeting cancelled after councilwoman no-shows - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Varnell meeting cancelled after councilwoman no-shows

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Varnell, GA (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Tuesday night, Varnell council members were supposed to vote on whether to include a referendum on the November ballot, allowing voters to decide on the police department's status. 

According to Councilman Jan Pourquoi, that meeting was cancelled because only two of the four council members were present. At least three council members are needed for the vote to happen. 

Earlier in the day, Channel 3 learned that Andrea Gordy resigned from the council.

READ MORE | Former Varnell city manager files lawsuit against some council members

The proposed referendum comes after city council members voted 3 to 1 to eliminate the police department. 

The vote was later vetoed by Mayor Anthony Hulsey, putting cops back on the streets.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Varnell mayor vetoes city council, reinstates police department 

There will be another meeting next month; however, the date has not been set.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


ORIGINAL STORY: Voters may end up deciding the fate of the Varnell Police Department.

Last week, city council members voted 3 to 1 to eliminate the police force. That was later vetoed by Mayor Anthony Hulsey, putting cops back on the streets. 

At next Tuesday's meeting, city council members plan to push for a referendum on whether the police department should stick around.

If the idea receives enough support from the council, voters will give their local police a thumbs up or thumbs down in November.

Varnell's police department on patrol for now, but their future could soon be left up to voters.

City Councilwoman Andrea Gordy believes that will help put the issue to rest after hearing concerns from residents.

"It would be best to just put it back in the voter's hands and let the voters decide if they really want the police department or not," Gordy said.

Varnell's mayor thought council members might override his veto, but it appears they're sticking behind this new idea. 

Three out of the four city council members we were able to reach told Channel 3 they agreed with the proposal. Varnell residents appreciate having a voice in the matter.

"Because everybody has a say so about it instead of just 2 or 3 people," Beverly Bates, a Varnell resident said.

"I think come election time, it's going to be interesting to see how things turn out after all this," Susan Pineda, a Varnell resident said.

Council members are expected to approve the motion, which would then go to the county registrar, for placement on the November ballot as a referendum.

Councilwoman Gordy said the upcoming election should have a good turnout, because the mayor and some city council seats are up for grabs.

"People are already coming out to support their candidates, so it's going to bring out more people to support this vote and to vote on this issue," Gordy said.

The proposed referendum is not legally binding. However, city council members said they've agreed to follow through with what voters decide.

It's uncertain what would happen if Varnell residents vote down the police department.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Varnell mayor vetoes city council, reinstates police department 

Last week, when Varnell officers were off the streets for two days, the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office and Cohutta Police Department stepped in to provide support.

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