Thursday, July 12, 2012

Signatures filed on Walton-financed drive for Benton County alcohol sales

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

The Sam Walton grandsons-backed drive to allow retail alcohol sales in Benton County is making progress.

The ad hoc group, Keep Dollars in Benton County, has announced its paid canvassing campaign has gathered 56,000 signatures on petitions to put the proposal on the ballot. Under the law, they needed 38 percent of registered voters, or 41,171. The county clerk now must certify that sufficient registered voters signed up.

Steuart and Tom Walton, sons of Jim Walton, have so far reported spending $330,000 on the effort. E-Z Mart and Kum and Go have also contributed $20,000 each. Casey General Store has kicked in $10,000.

Benton County is one of the dampest dry counties in Arkansas, with dozens of restaurants selling drinks under private club permits. The Walton brothers grew up there and still spend time in Bentonville, but Steuart Walton lives in London and Tom Walton in Austin, Texas. A number of local business people are on the committee working for alcohol sales.

NEWS RELEASE


Members of the Keep Dollars in Benton County group turned in more than 56,000 signatures to the Benton County County Clerk’s office today. The group has worked over the past five months to secure enough signatures from Benton County voters to put up for vote Nov. 6, 2012, whether or not retail alcohol sales should be legal in Benton County. The County Clerk’s office will now go through a process of validating the signatures to determine if 38 percent of registered voters in Benton County have signed a legal petition confirming their desire to bring the matter to a vote.

According to the Benton County County Clerk’s office, 38 percent of registered voters as of June 1, 2012, is 41,171 — the number of valid signatures needed to put the wet/dry issue on the ballot.

Voters in Benton County haven’t had the opportunity to vote on whether or not the county should be "wet" or "dry" since the mid 1940s when voters were last heard on this issue, said group spokesman Marshall Ney, an attorney with the Mitchell Williams Law Firm in Rogers. Since that time, when the population of Benton County was approximately 38,000, much has changed in the county with today’s population at 220,000 and growing, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

"We have worked hard through the use of a professional firm, National Ballot Access (NBA), and our many volunteers to gather enough signatures to get this issue on the ballot," Ney said. "Based on our own internal review, we are confident that we have the necessary signatures, but, ultimately, it’s up to the County Clerk to determine if we have the necessary signatures to place this on the November ballot."

Over the past five months, Keep Dollars in Benton County petitioners and volunteers have gathered signatures at community events, Drive Up Sign Up special signing events and door-to-door.

"We can’t thank our petitioners and our volunteers enough," Ney said. They have worked tirelessly, especially in these last couple of months, to ensure that we have enough signatures to get this important issue on the ballot. We are hopeful that Benton County residents will finally have the opportunity to have their say on an issue that affects the economic growth of our community."

Keep Dollars in Benton County is committed to moving the county to a "wet" county because of the many economic advantages, Ney said. According to an economic impact study from the University of Arkansas’ Center for Business and Economic Research, converting Benton County from dry to wet would be an approximately $33 million total annual economic impact.

"Based on the study, there is no question that there are real and significant economic benefits that would accrue to Benton County if retail alcohol sales were legal," said Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research. "This potential economic impact would include additional sales and property taxes for the county and its individual cities, the creation of new jobs and businesses, and indirect economic benefits resulting from all this new activity as well."

The full study is available on the Center’s website: http://cber.uark.edu/

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • After the storm open line

    Flooding remains after a deadly storm that left damage over much of Arkansas. An open line for Sunday evening.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • LR City Board talks about crime and gang violence

    Police Chief Kenton Buckner talked to the Little Rock City Board this afternoon at a special meeting about violent crime and the role being played by gang activities. The police can do more — and will, he said. But police alone are not the solution for problems besetting the most crime-prone neighborhoods.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • Opponents of Little Rock school tax say construction possible without new taxes

    Opponents of an extension of 12.4 millions in Little Rock School District property taxes at a cost of $600 million or more say critical construction needs in the district can be made without a bond issue that lines the pockets of bond firms and lawyers.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 2nd guilty plea in bribery case over state mental health services

    Arkansas Business reports here on a federal court filing Wednesday that shows a second person has pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme to help a major contractor of the state Department of Human Services.
    • Sep 17, 2015
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Democrats name new House minority leader

    Rep. Michael John Gray of Augusta has been elected leader of the House Democratic Caucus, the minority party. He succeeds Rep. Eddie Armstrong of North Little Rock. He's a farmer and small business owner.
    • Sep 25, 2015

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Viewed

  • UPDATE: Fourth death confirmed in Polk County; suspect identified

    UPDATE: The body of Reilly Scarborough has been found, bringing to four the number of family homicides in Polk County. The nine-year-old was found in woods west of Hatfield. A suspect is in custody.
  • After the storm open line

    Flooding remains after a deadly storm that left damage over much of Arkansas. An open line for Sunday evening.
  • Three in family dead, child missing in Polk County

    A child is missing and his mother, sister and a relative have been found dead this week in Polk County, local authorities say.
  • LR City Board talks about crime and gang violence

    Police Chief Kenton Buckner talked to the Little Rock City Board this afternoon at a special meeting about violent crime and the role being played by gang activities. The police can do more — and will, he said. But police alone are not the solution for problems besetting the most crime-prone neighborhoods.
  • Baker Kurrus: Opposes Little Rock School District tax proposal

    Baker Kurrus has written a monumental essay explaining why he opposes the proposal in the May 9 special , the Little Rock lawyer and businessman who long served on the Little Rock School Board and spent a year as its superintendent after the state takeover before being fired by Education Commissioner

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: After the storm open line

    • I'm pretty sure this will go viral so I'm giving you medical phillistines here on…

    • on April 30, 2017
  • Re: After the storm open line

    • Trump is a public figure and the rules for them makes libel much harder under…

    • on April 30, 2017
  • Re: After the storm open line

    • Drumpf is another in a tediously long line of petty-minded tyrants who can brook no…

    • on April 30, 2017

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation