Wet/dry vote set for November

The Russellville City Council voted Monday to place a wet/dry referendum on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

The council was required by law to place the item on the ballot after city officials received a petition signed and verified by 727 city voters.

A state law put into place last year allows municipalities with a population of 1,000 or more to vote on allowing alcohol sales if a petition signed by at least 30 percent of that town’s registered voters from the previous municipal election is verified by city officials.

Russellville City Councilman Lanny Hubbard said that Monday night’s action was no representation of how the council felt about allowing alcohol sales.

“We are bound by law to put this on the ballot,” Hubbard said.

“We are just doing our jobs. Residents from each district in the city signed this petition and it was validated. We have no choice but to do this.”

Petitioners did not ask for a special election to be held, so officials chose to put it on the Nov.2 general election ballot.

Russellville zoning board member and local pastor Johnny Richardson told the council that he was concerned many people signed the petition out of intimidation.

Petitioners sat up tables near the city’s voting places in June and collected names from registered voters.

“I don’t think they meant to be intimidating to people, but they were,” Richardson said. “I hope the people of Russellville realize how aggressive this committee was in getting the signatures they needed.”

Richardson asked the council members to develop guidelines and requirements for areas where alcohol could be sold prior to the election.

“It will be a tough ordinance,” Councilman William Nale said.

Other north Alabama cities that have passed alcohol sales measures this year include Haleyville, Moulton and Town Creek.

Phil Campbell voters rejected the measure in June.

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