Moist means that restaurants in Pineville meeting certain criteria can sell alcoholic beverages. Currently, however, there are none with alcoholic beverages on their menus.
If the voters decided to make the city wet, then grocery and convenience stores will be able to sell alcoholic beverages.
The reasoning given by those starting the petition is Pineville’s poor economy.
“The economy is down in small towns all across southeast Kentucky,” said Billy Taylor, the attorney helping to file the petition. “Pineville needs a boost to help generate revenue.”
He also stated that the moist election did not generate the revenue that Pineville needed.
“Hopefully this will help the economy,” said Taylor. “We are anticipating a lot of support.”
For the petition to be valid, it must be signed by registered voters and equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the city in the last preceding general election.
After the number of voters is reached, which is somewhere between 70 and 75 according to Taylor, then the petition has to be submitted to the Bell County Clerk Becky Blevins.
The clerk’s job is to make sure that the petition consists of signatures of registered voters only. Any one who is not a registered voter will be eliminated from the petition.
The clerk will then pass the petition on to the county attorney, who will then proceed to check the “verbiage” of the petition to make sure that it is a legal petition.
If the petition is legal, it will be passed on to Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock. He will then set the date for the special election.
“The only thing I can do is set the date,” said Brock. “I can’t kill the petition or the vote.”
Brock stated that he believed the vote is for only one of the three individual precinct in Pineville because of the projected number of names that have to be on the petition.
Taylor, howver, stated that the petition is city-wide and includes all the precincts. He added that the number of signatures needed to get the vote on the ballot is low because the turnout for the last
general election in Pineville was low.
Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader stated the she and the city council would remain neutral throughout the process. She aded that it would be up to the citizens to make that decision.
Arguments have been heard from both sides. Some believe that creating a wet city could help with the economy. Others argue that making the city wet could increase dangerous conditions for drivers and increase alcohol related accidents.
Taylor said that he has not received any negative feedback directly.
“It’s just a petition to put it (making Pineville a wet city) on the table. It is entirely up to the citizens,” he said.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org