SEVIER COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Sevier County voters decide whether to allow the sale of alcohol in the county on November 3.
According to the county clerk, the last time this issue made the ballot was in 1946.
“It should be put to the people to vote on, just like it is. Not statewide, countywide, because the county ought to be able to decide, not the whole state,” said Sevier County Judge, Greg Ray.
A group of local business owners, including Monica Pearce, says they saw a need for development in the community and joined together to create a petition called “Vote For Growth.” They had to get 38% of registered voters signatures for the issue to be placed on the ballot.
“Our citizens came through to the drive-through tent and signed the petition and we feel like that shows the enthusiasm that our citizens have seen with this because they took the time to come to us,” said Pearce.
If passed, it will be up to the Alcohol Beverage Commission to decide exactly when alcohol sales would begin in the county.
“As far as the sale of beer, that would be like in your stores your convenience stores, but not hard liquor. That would be in your liquor stores. My understanding is there will only be three
countywide,” said Ray.
Community members say they have to drive at least 15 miles to purchase alcohol, leaving their tax dollars in neighboring counties and states. Local officials and business owners say this is an opportunity for economic growth and tourism in Sevier County.
“It’s about bringing more businesses in and it’s about attracting people from outside of our area to our area,” said business owner Sandy Huntsberger.
If the proposal fails, citizens will have to wait four years before they can revisit the issue.