Alcohol petition circulating in Phil Campbell

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
PHIL CAMPBELL- The wet/dry debate continues to become a prime issue for residents in Franklin County.
Russellville officials and city residents have recently been debating over whether or not the legalization of alcohol sales should come in to the city.
This time some Phil Campbell residents have voiced their opinions on alcohol sales coming into their town.
A petition is currently circling the town, gathering names with the mindset that taxes from these types of sales will help out the kids and schools who have found the struggle for funds to be overwhelming.
Phil Campbell city clerk Ann Bragwell said less than 100 votes were cast in Phil Campbell’s last held election so not many signatures are needed for the issue to get on the docket.
A recent state law that allows cities to vote on alcohol sales states that “any municipality having a population of 1,000 or more, excluding Clay, Randolph and Blount counties, may change its classification from dry to wet or wet to dry by a municipal option election.”
Bragwell said around 30 certifiable signatures must be placed on a petition and town officials must certify that each name on the list is legitimate and is a registered voter in the town of Phil Campbell.
The 30 names represents 30 percent of the votes cast in the last municipal election.
According to state law, an election shall not be held within less than 30 days from the date of the filing, the municipal option must be given by the mayor and city council at least three weeks prior to the election, every person on the petition must also be on the voters list and 30 percent of those must have voted in the last election. If the number of names collected on the petition is found to be certifiable, then the issue will automatically be put on the ballot. The city council would have to approve the date on which the election is held, but will be unable to stop it from coming to a vote of the people.
Petitions were stationed at the Chevron gas station in town and Shell gas station inside The Bobcat Den.
The petition located at the Chevron in downtown Phil Campbell had two signatures on it and was pulled because of customer complaints.
Chevron manager Doris Kimbrough said she had spoken to the owners of the gas station and they have decided to stay neutral throughout the process.
Owner of the Bobcat Den Janice Franks said the petition sitting on her counter is harmless.
Franks said she doesn’t really have a say one-way or the other because she doesn’t live in Phil Campbell, she just runs her business there.
Franks said people have came in and voiced their opinion one way or the other and “they can either sign the petition or not sign it, it doesn’t matter” and it will continue to sit on the counter until they come to turn it in.
Pratt believes the school needs money bad and these sales will bring in a little more to aid in this struggling economy.
James Rupley also signed the petition and said if he could he would sign the one circling in Russellville.
Rupley lives just inside the Phil Campbell city limits and has lived in Franklin County since 1980. He believes, not just Phil Campbell, but also the county as a whole should consider going wet and bring in the extra funds this county desperately needs.
First Baptist Church in Phil Campbell pastor Tim Haney said the only thing alcohol is going to bring to this town is evil.
First Baptist Phil Campbell youth minister Cayce Harrison agrees that this could hurt children more than help them.
There have been 65 signatures placed on the petition at The Bobcat Den and two were reportedly taken at the local Chevron. The legitimacy of those names is still yet to be determined and the petition has not been turned in to city hall.