No date for alcohol sales

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010

By Scott Mims

Now that the city of Jemison will go wet, both city leaders and local business owners are preparing for the coming change.
To recap, the results of Tuesday’s special election were as follows: 466 “yes” votes in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages, and 213 “no” votes.
“The people have spoken. They sent a strong message,” Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed said Wednesday.
Reed said the city would work with its attorney and the ABC Board to complete needed paperwork. The mayor didn’t want to put a timeline on how long that process would take.
“We will not estimate (when alcohol will be sold in Jemison),” Reed said.
Kenny Davis of the State ABC Board said when a municipality goes wet, the council must pass ordinances establishing rules and regulations, and determining what type of licenses will be issued.
In the meantime, business owners will have to decide whether they will sell alcohol in their stores or restaurants. Some say the sale of alcoholic beverages will increase their business.
“I think it’s going to be great for Jemison,” said Sue Bolton, owner of Sue’s Mart on Highway 191.
Bolton indicated that several customers had inquired whether or not the store would apply for a license.
Still, others do not plan to take advantage of the change, such as LaMerle Hamm, owner of Piggly Wiggly on Highway 31.
“I will not sell alcohol in my store. I know what it will do for you. It’s against my Christian beliefs,” Hamm said.
North Chilton County’s other municipality, 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  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.