Commonwealth Journal

Local News

August 8, 2007

Burnside council: A dry vote would be catastrophic

The City of Burnside has spent much of its time over the last year desperately making contingency plans to deal with the economic ramifications of a drier Lake Cumberland.

Based on the discussion at Monday’s city council meeting, the potential reality of dry restaurants would be even more catastrophic to Burnside’s budget.

With a local option election coming up August 28 which will give the citizens of Burnside a chance to decide whether the last two years of alcoholic beverage service in this otherwise “dry” county has been beneficial, Mayor Chuck Fourman brought sobering news before the council — that many of the gains the city infrastructure has made thanks to the restaurant and drink sale revenue will have to be eliminated, and citizens may see a tremendous hike in tax rates — from Pulaski’s most affordable to its most expensive.

“As a council, we have to make a decision,” said Fourman. “We’re going to have to start thinking how we’re going to treat this issue the next day after the election (if the city were to lose alcohol sales).”

In May, David Carr and Billy Miller, two local clergymen noted for their anti-alcohol beliefs, attempted a petition calling for the reversal of Burnside’s “moist” status, allowing the sale of alcohol by the drink in restaurants. Neither man is a resident of Burnside, though Miller’s church, Jordan Baptist, is located there. After a couple of failed attempts to get the issue on the ballot, Miller and Carr finally succeeded in setting up a date later this month for Burnside citizens to vote on the issue.

At first glance, trends indicate Burnside voters may opt to keep the status quo. In the 2004 option election, the “moist” side won 219-172. Since that time, the city has gone from zero restaurants to five currently, and other businesses have moved in around those; two Pulaski precincts have allowed wineries to sell their product; and the council’s one staunch alcohol opponent, Don Coggins, lost his seat on the six-person city council in last November’s election.

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