Pastor urges ‘no’ vote on alcohol sales

Published 10:35 am Monday, February 29, 2016

By Rex Kent

On Tuesday, March 1, we the citizens of Chilton County will go to the polls to express our preference for the next president of the United States. Voting is both a privilege as well as a responsibility. As a citizen, we owe it to our country to go to the polls to make our views known.

Living in a free nation, we are privileged to be able to go the polls and vote without fear. We should be ashamed of recent turnouts at the polls. Every registered voter should educate themselves about the candidates and then they should vote.

There is more on the ballet on March 1 than who we want for our next president. I want to speak to one of those issues. On March 1, voters in the county will be asked to vote on allowing the sale of alcohol in the county. Let me encourage everyone to vote “no” on the sale of alcohol. There are several reasons I think a “no” vote is best for our county.

Currently, Chilton County receives $320,000 from TVA for being dry. If Chilton County votes to go wet, then the county will lose part or all of that revenue. Currently, no one knows or can project what the revenue from the sale of alcohol will be. It seems to me that the loss of $320,000 is substantial and would be difficult to replace.

Another reason for voting “no” is the cost that increased alcohol sales will put on the citizens of Chilton County. A study done in 2007 found that for every $1 of revenue raised from the sale of alcohol, it costs society $18.

What are the alcohol related costs? Alcohol-related costs include things like the cost of medical care, the loss of future earnings due to early death, loss of earnings due to alcohol related illness, loss of future earnings due to fetal alcohol syndrome, loss of earnings due to crime and violence, crashes, fines, property damage, crime, social welfare costs, increase in the costs to clean up for cities and the county.

Finally, might I mention the personal costs that accompany alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol consumption is a factor in 25 percent of all hospital admissions. Alcohol use has been linked to two-thirds of all suicide attempts. Alcohol use leads to more child abuse and domestic violence. Alcohol use leads to many health problems.

There might be one up side to the county voting to go wet: for those who like to collect beer cans to sell there will probably be more cans on the sides of the roads to pick up and sell.

So on March 1, go to the polls and vote. When it comes to voting for the sale of alcohol in the county vote, “no.”

Dr. Rex Kent is pastor at First Baptist Church Jemison.