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Thorsby close to wet/dry measure

At last count, the Town of Thorsby had collected 145 signatures needed for a wet/dry referendum.

A recent bill passed by the Alabama Legislature allows cities and towns with a population of 1,000 or more to file a petition for a vote on the legalized sale of alcoholic beverages.

Thorsby needs at least 159 signatures from registered voters in the town to warrant a referendum. The number equals 30 percent of the number of voters who participated in the 2008 municipal election.

“I think probably we’ll go over this time,” said Council member Neil Benson, who expects to have a new count by the next Town Council meeting on Monday.

Supporters of a referendum have had some difficulty collecting names for the petition, which began circulating around July. Many signatures were not from registered voters, while others were duplicate signatures, Benson said.

“We’ve had a lot harder time getting our numbers together than we would have thought,” he said.

Supporters may opt to wait until next year’s elections to hold a vote rather than holding a special election. Benson indicated waiting until next year could yield better results.

“We just need the tax base,” he said. “We’re running out of tax money to run things in Thorsby.”

Benson also said revenue from alcohol sales could help the school.

The petitions are available at Mizzell’s, Service Mart and City Hall.