Allen County voters prepare for a wet/dry decision in May

Allen County voters are divided on the wet/dry decision on the May ballot.
Allen County voters are divided on the wet/dry decision on the May ballot.(WBKO)
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 7:08 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Red and green signs have begun appearing all over Allen County as voters advocate for and against the sale of alcohol in the county, which will be decided during the May 16 election.

Voters for the sale of alcohol say that the potential payoff from taxes and tariffs on the sale outweighs any potential negative effects in the community. Data on the positive effects of alcohol sales in a community can be found on the “Vote Yes” website.

Voters on the opposite end of the spectrum disagree, saying that those that wish to buy alcohol in the county would be doing a disservice to their neighbors.

“I don’t feel that alcohol sales is going to be any kind of benefit to Allen County, or to the citizens of Allen County. You know, it’s more of a convenience thing for that select few, and it’s an inconvenience for those that don’t want it here,” said Jeremy Carter, an Allen County resident.

Those from the “Vote Yes” group believe that the sale of alcohol could spark a positive change in the town while maintaining the area’s small-town charm, retaining profits that would otherwise be spent in neighboring wet counties.

“We want to just get some of that benefit and keep it here in Allen County, where we can make it more like it used to be, and have more mom-and-pop restaurants that can stay in business during the slow times based on the margins of their alcohol sales,” said Rob Herrington, another Allen County resident on the side of alcohol sales.

Voters on both sides of the issue refute the claims of the other. Residents against the sale of alcohol believe that improvement through alcohol sales is impossible.

“I think this is the part that is a little frustrating is… they’re being told that all the funds and revenue is going to be used to build parks and roads and all these different things. And in reality, those things aren’t going to happen,” said Carter.

While Carter and other members of the “Vote No” group believe that there would be no widespread positive impact, Herrington says that data supports the conversion to a wet county, citing a decrease in drunk driving as well as drug-related incidents.

“The conversation isn’t even about drinking, it’s about money,” said Herrington. “We hope to take a lot of that money and combat the drug epidemic that’s in this county, and a lot of counties around here.”

While both sides of the issue push for their cause, they agree that respecting one another regardless of the outcome is the key to keeping the community together.

“We’re all neighbors, and whether this vote goes yes or no, we need to still love and care about one another and treat each other with respect,” said Carter.