How will now wet Jemison affect Clanton?

Published 8:04 pm Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jemison joined Clanton as Chilton County’s second municipality to allow alcohol sales following Tuesday’s vote.

The vote will bring more tax dollars to Jemison by allowing residents to shop for alcohol close to home. It may even help bring new business, restaurants and other dining options to the city in the future.

One thing that’s not clear is how the change will affect the county seat.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver said Wednesday it’s hard to predict how much tax revenue his city would lose to a now wet Jemison.

The mayor said it’s impossible to estimate how many people from the northern side of the county bought alcohol in Clanton, rather than places like Calera in Shelby County.

“I don’t know what to expect, really,” said Driver.

In 2009, Clanton collected slightly more than $351,000 in sales tax from alcohol and related licenses. Not included in that figure is the $24,877 brought in into the city by Clanton’s ABC store.

The city should have a better idea in coming months what financial impact the vote will have, Driver said.

Thorsby will hold its own wet/dry referendum during June’s primary election.

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill last year allowing some cities and towns in dry counties to put alcohol sales to a vote of the people.

Under the law, any city or town with at least 1,000 residents can hold a wet/dry referendum. To do so, they must collect enough certified signatures on a petition.

The number of signatures needed must be at least 30 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the municipality’s last election. The new law excludes Maplesville — its population of 672 is below the required 1,000 residents.