With only about a week to go before Burnside voters choose whether or not to expand alcohol sales in their community, the town’s mayor made one last push at Monday’s city council meet-ing to get citizens to vote “yes.”
Burnside May-or Ron Jones made an unequiv-ocal statement in support of going fully “wet” next Tuesday, a move which has been rare for Pulaski County politicians over the year.
“Ask your neighbors to come out and vote for this thing,” said Jones. “We need to get this passed for the financial health of this town.”
Unlike last year’s option election in Somerset, which featured lots of advertising and sign-positing as the anti-alcohol forces held a very public ongoing debate with those seeking alcohol sales in the formerly “dry” community, the lead-up to Burnside’s election has been relatively quiet. (No one has even publicly come forward to claim that they originated the petition so far.)
Jones broke the silence Monday in a public forum, however, by making the case that Burnside needs the ability to sell alcohol to keep up with Somerset.
“(Tourists) are here, with their vacation in mind, and either or Somerset is going to sell this, or Somerset and Burnside are going to sell (alcohol),” said Jones. “... You do not come to Pulaski County to go inside somewhere and look at four walls and have a drink. You come to get out here on the lake. Burnside is the only place on the lake.
“We have got a gold mine here if we use it properly,” he added. “We can turn this into a very nice tourist area. Right now, you either sell gas or you sell hamburgers. That’s it.”
Since 2004, Burnside has had the ability to sell alcohol by the drink, thanks to an option election at that time that made the self-proclaimed “only town on Lake Cumberland” also the only town in Pulaski to have legal alcohol sales. (The decision was reaffirmed by an even wider margin in 2007.)