Group Organizes to Get “Wet” Vote on Monticello Area BallotSeptember 29th, 2011 by Joe Burgess
A group of approximately 15 interested individuals met on the last Tuesday night in September at the Monticello County Club to to begin the process of placing a “wet / dry” vote, to allow beer, wine, and liquor sales in Marion Township, which include Monticello, and it’s immediately surrounding area.
Calling their effort “Vote for Growth in Drew County,” they plan collect signatures to get the wet-dry issue on the November 2012 election ballot.
At the meeting, Ron Echols explained the economic benefits of the change, including increased economic activity, jobs, tourism, as well as more restaurants and retail businesses. Also tax revenue would increase.
Echols told the group that many people in surrounding counties come to Monticello to shop. Then have to turn around and go the other way to purchase their alcohol.
Tom Wingard reported that Drew County spends approximately $1.4 million on alcoholic beverages in a year. $700,000 of that is spent at the nearby stores, already open; and the rest leaves the area. “That’s Drew County money being spent somewhere else.”
Echols told those present that reports from 3 cities that recently changed to “wet”, that their DUI’s and traffic fatalities decreased. One of those 3 cities was Arkadelphia.
Monticello surgeon Dr. John Tedesco said that our area is a perfect location, being an hour and a half from other similar ciites. Adding that this is one reason he started his business here. It’s a great place for restaurants, convenience stores, and hotels.
Nathan Chaney, an attorney from Arkadelphia, who led Clark and Boone Counties’ campaigns to allow sale of alcohol, was introduced, and covered some of the specifics from those elections.
Echols said that he expects the cost of the campaign to be around $25,000, with help from volunteers.
Over 2,000 signatures will be needed on the petition to get the proposed change on the ballot, which is expected to be for the November 2012 general election.
If it passes, this will allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores. It will also add one liquor store.
There are two existing liquor permits in Drew County, both located inside Live Oak Township..
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