Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

January 8, 2014

Wet-dry vote sought for Olive Hill

By Keith Kappes - Publisher
Journal-Times

Jan. 8, 2014 — A petition seeking a local option election in Olive Hill was submitted last Friday to Carter County Clerk Mike Johnston.

However, the petition was determined to be 13 valid signatures short of the required number of 139, representing 25 percent of the number of city voters in the 2012 general election.

Johnston said the petition was returned Nici Raybourn, who submitted it.

Raybourn said Tuesday that she is confident that other signatures will be added and the petition will be resubmitted shortly.

If the required number of valid signatures are placed on the petition from among Olive Hill’s five city precincts, a special election will be called to determine if voters favor the legal sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits.

Grayson residents voted last June 11 to legalize alcoholic beverages and the first sales began in October.

Raybourn, a property manager, says she believes legal sales will help revitalize Olive Hill’s economy.

“Tax revenue and jobs are badly needed here and our group believes this would be a good first step,” Raybourn added.

If an election is held, it will be the first time since July 2, 1971, that the legal sale of alcohol has been on the ballot in Olive Hill.

That was the day voters in Grayson and Olive Hill decided both of their cities would remain legally “dry” as they had been since 1937.

A special election in Olive Hill would mark the third time in six years that voters in Carter County have participated in a local option election.

Residents of the Iron Hill precinct near Carter City voted 78-34 in 2008 to allow Rock Springs Vineyard and Winery to sell wine on its premises. Rock Springs is licensed as a small farm winery.

Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, Carter County voters favored legal alcohol sales by a vote of 2,445 to 1,721.

That changed four years later when county voters switched the county back to “dry” on a tally of 2,581 to 2,128.

Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, statistics compiled in late 2013 listed 37 counties as “dry”, 33 as “wet” and 50 as “moist” in that they have cities or individual precincts where alcoholic beverages may be sold legally, including wineries and golf courses.

Keith Kappes can be reached at kkappes@journal-times.com or by telephone at 800-247-6142.