Wet/Dry Vote Coming in Geneva County

By: Ryan Rodig Email
By: Ryan Rodig Email

All of you have to do is drive in Geneva County and the signs next to the streets tell you an important vote is coming.

A wet/dry referendum will be decided on election night.

Last week Alabama Beverage Control met with elected officials in Geneva County, but still left a lot of unanswered questions.

"They said that every county is different," Geneva County Probate Judge and Commission Chairman Fred Hamic said Thursday. "By us being surrounded by wet counties in Florida and to the south that makes it different than if we were a wet county surrounded by dry counties."

But Judge Hamic says the county would receive $120,000 in beer tax if the vote turns out to be "yes."

It has been 18 years since the last wet/dry referendum was held in Geneva County. In 1990 the vote was no by 8%.

Thursday a public information forum was to be held, but there was a minor problem. Almost nobody showed up.

Fewer than 10 people came to Geneva County Courthouse for the meeting, all supporters of a no vote.

Dicky McAllister is Director of Missions for Geneva Baptist Association, and attended Thursday to show his moral and religious opposition to becoming a wet county.

"But also we know the sale of alcohol will not be an economic benefit to the county, it would be a deterrent. We also do not want to contend with beer joints and liquor lounges. We don't want to lose local control like what happens when a county votes wet," McAllister said.

About $275,000 in current funding could be lost from the Tennessee Valley Authority if the county decides to sell alcohol. But Judge Hamic says it looks like a distinct possibility that funding could be cut soon regardless.

Judge Hamic is not taking a public stance on the wet/dry issue and says right now it is a hard race to call.

"It is pretty well split right now. I would call it a toss up."

Speculation is that trick-or-treating in Geneva County and a rivalry high school football game could have had an impact on the very low attendance for the public information meeting.

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