Town discusses wet/dry vote

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, September 10, 2009

As of Thursday night, the town of Thorsby had collected about 117 certified signatures toward a wet/dry referendum.

The issue was discussed during the Town Council’s regular meeting, which was postponed from Monday due to Labor Day. The petition comes in response to new legislation that allows towns in dry counties with 1,000 or more residents to organize a referendum for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“I think that the town and the council members are not eager for a wet city,” council member Willis Britt said. “I think we’re eager for the revenue.”

“I don’t know about that,” added council member Neal Benson.

While, according to Benson, Thorsby cannot hold a special election for the vote, a petition can be filed and a vote held during the next regular election. But before a signature can count, it must be from someone who is a registered voter.

“We’ve probably got 1,000 signatures, but only 117 of them are qualified, registered voters,” Benson explained.

The number of signatures needed for a wet/dry referendum must equal at least 30 percent of the number of voters who participated in the town’s last election. According to numbers from the 2008 municipal election, Thorsby voters cast 528 ballots, meaning that 159 signatures would be needed.

But Benson indicated he doesn’t think it will take long to get the needed signatures.

In other business, the council:

voted to vacate an alleyway and divide the property between the Grassee and Johnson families

put a gold Ford Ranger up for surplus

changed the format of its next regular meeting to a work session.