Hartselle leaders hear Walmart could leave if city stays dry

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HARTSELLE, Ala. - The wet-dry argument in Hartselle is nothing new.

City Council President Kenny Thompson says it has come up four or five times in the last fifteen years, and that the vote continues to get closer.

But now, talk around town is that not selling alcohol could make them lose one of their biggest retailers: Walmart.

"We have not heard that from Walmart," said Thompson. "But we have heard that rumor. I heard that three times just yesterday. I don't think they would do that, I would hope they wouldn't do that. If they did, we couldn't operate. Almost half our revenue comes from Walmart. If they did close, we'd be in serious trouble."

Thompson says the store supports the town going wet.

Calls to Walmart leaders went unanswered. Meanwhile, a group, Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development, is working to get a petition to the council to get a possible wet vote on the ballot.

That petition would have to be signed by 30% of the population, that's 812 registered voters. If done in time, it could put it on the ballot during a very important election.

"In November, during the presidential election, which would be a great turnout, you'd get a lot better sampling of the voters," said Thompson.

And once again, the longtime issue would once again be decided in voting booths. Thompson explains the council would have the complete ordinance dictating the limitations of liquor sales in place before the election.