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Athens clerk verifies enough names on petition for alcohol sales election

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

ATHENS — A petition to hold an alcohol sales referendum passed the first step toward approval this week.

City Clerk John Hamilton said Tuesday that his staff verified between 1,324 and 1,330 names as registered voters living within the Athens city limits.

The Rev. Eddie Gooch of Isom's Chapel United Methodist Church filed a petition of 1,555 names Friday requesting a referendum on alcohol sales. He needs 1,242 names to qualify.

Hamilton said the Athens City Council would now consider a resolution at its June 25 meeting to set a municipal option election on Aug. 14. Limestone County voters will also be considering a 1-cent sales tax increase for school. Athens will get to vote on both, while those living in the county will vote only on the tax.

This will be the fifth time Athens voters consider alcohol sales. Voters kept the city dry in the first three referendums but, by a margin of 231 votes, turned the city wet in September 2003.

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