HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) - “We believe that funding our government through the legal sale of alcohol is not a wise choice,” says Jeff Johnson of Families for a Safe Hartselle. Johnson was one of three keynote speakers at a news conference in Hartselle this morning.
Johnson says Hartselle has not only enjoyed financial growth over the years but has also managed to maintain a safe, home-town atmosphere, all without the legal sales of alcoholic beverages. Johnson pointed out it was 10 years ago today that the organization leading the effort against alcohol sales in Hartselle was formed. Ten years later, Johnson says, they’re fighting the same fight but with renewed meaning.
“I think people this time, more than ever, are realizing the seriousness of the situation, that one vote can change the future of Hartselle forever, and they’re ready to take a stand, as you noticed today,” Johnson said.
“We are Hartselle, this is a great place to live, and we are dry!” Mark Coleman, also of Families for a Safe Hartselle said. Coleman encouraged the crowd to consider the City of Hartselle as a brand name. Hartselle is Alabama’s largest city without legal alcohol sales, and Coleman says changing that would alter the image, the atmosphere and the future of their city.
“I view this issue as a vote of logic versus emotion,” says Bob Francis of Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development, the organization pushing for the referendum’s passage. Francis says while there has been some growth in Hartselle over the past decade, he says legal alcohol sales will bring additional growth, plus tax revenue.
However, those opposed to the measure say the costs of dealing with the problems of alcohol abuse will outweigh any financial gain. The referendum will appear, for the third time in ten years, on Hartselle ballots November 6th.