Williamsburg’s 3,143 registered voters will get to decide on June 28 whether they want to allow expanded alcohol sales in the city.
On Friday, Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz’s Office certified a 527-signature petition that Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison submitted on April 18, which contained 335 valid, verified signatures.
197 valid signatures were needed to place the measure on the ballot.
Of the remaining signatures, 89 people lived outside of the city limits and 90 were not registered to vote. Eight of the valid signatures were duplicated, four invalid signatures were duplicated and one name/signature was not legible, Schwartz said.
Harrison said that he was pleased that the petition was certified the second time around with 138 valid signatures more the required minimum.
“Let’s put it on the ballot and let everyone go out and vote. Obviously, if I go out here and get a petition then I hope it passes,” Harrison said.
Harrison’s first petition that he submitted about three weeks ago came up six valid signatures shy of the number needed to place the measure on the ballot.
A petition must contain valid signatures totaling 25 percent of the people, who voted in the last election, before a ballot measure can be placed on the ballot.
Harrison said that for him, it isn’t about being able to go down the street and buy a six-pack of beer.
He is hoping that expanded alcohol sales will lead to increased economic development in the city.
“To me it is an economic driver because it will drop the restaurant seating requirement to 50,” Harrison said.
In addition, the percentage of food sale requirement falls from 70 percent food and 30 percent alcohol to 50-50.
The measure is identical to what Corbin has had in place for several years and what voters in Barbourville and London approved a few weeks ago.
“It might stir some growth downtown. I just have a gut feeling the growth you are seeing in neighboring communities is simply because of a wet vote,” Harrison said. “The nightlife you see in our neighboring communities like Corbin, their venues are smaller. In very few buildings in an old town can you seat 100 people. This may spur some growth. It may not. If you do want to see it, then you need to get out and vote for it. No one should assume anything going into an election. We are looking to the future that is the bottom line.”
Harrison said that he thinks voters will approve the measure.
“I had a decent feeling about the moist vote and it barely passed with 14 votes,” Harrison said. “This time I have a really good feeling on it. I really feel people are kind of seeing what is going on around.”
Harrison said he hates the fact that alcohol has to be an economic drivor, but it’s a reality.
“I hate it comes down to something like that but evidently it does. Let’s just let everybody vote and go from there,” Harrison said.
Williamsburg residents in the six precincts that will decide the ballot measure.
Only a portion of the voters in three of those precincts will be able to vote in the wet/dry election.
“Savoy, Highland Park and College Hill have people registered to vote in those precincts, who don’t live in the city limits,” Schwartz said. “One way that they determine that is if you pay city taxes or not.”
Schwartz declined to offer any predictions on the outcome of the wet/dry vote.