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August alcohol vote set in Athens

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

ATHENS — On Monday at its regular meeting, the Athens City Council officially set a referendum on legalized alcohol sales for Aug. 14.

The fifth ever wet-dry vote will be on the same ballot as a Limestone County vote on a 1-cent sales tax. But this time, the vote will be on whether the city should go back to being dry.

Registered voters living within the Athens city limits will get to vote on both measures, while county voters will vote only on the sales tax meant to support the local school systems.

The Rev. Eddie Gooch of Isom's Chapel United Methodist Church filed a petition June 15 requesting a referendum on alcohol sales. City Clerk John Hamilton's office verified that the petition had close to 1,330 names of registered Athens voters. Gooch needed 1,242 names to get the new referendum.

In 2003 on the fourth attempt, voters finally approved alcohol sales by a margin of 231 votes, with 3,727 voting for and 3,496 voting against.

The city now splits roughly $504,000 annually from alcohol sales revenues with the Athens City Board of Education.

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