Petition circulating Middlesboro to upgrade alcohol status

Published 12:36 pm Monday, January 13, 2020

A petition is currently being circulated throughout Middlesboro to upgrade the city’s alcohol ordinance from “moist” to “wet.”

The petition that is being circulated has a deadline to be submitted of Tuesday, Jan. 28 by 4 p.m.

It was only a few years ago in an election that voters passed to make the city “moist.” The vote came after a petition was created to place alcohol on the ballot to make the city “moist” and that vote passed. This vote allowed alcohol to be sold in restaurants that met the eligibility requirements.

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The group petitioning to make the city “wet” submitted a letter on Jan. 8 with the intent of distributing the petition to upgrade the ordinance. Upgrading the status would allow alcoholic beverages to be sold inside grocery stores, standalone stores and convenience stores inside the city limits of Middlesboro, but there is a limit on how many licenses can be issues per KRS.

According to Bell County Clerk Debbie Gambrel, the petition must have the names of 25% of registered voters in the city limits of Middlesboro. That number is 487.

Each name that is on the petition will be verified that they are in fact registered voters in the city of Middlesboro. The names will be checked by the County Clerk’s Office before they are then sent to County Attorney Neil Ward. If approved, it will go to Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock.

The group, “Citizens for a Progressive Middlesboro” wants to have the vote on the May 19 primary election ballot.

There are mixed emotions about the upgrade of the status that range from citizens say the city needs the added revenue from the tax to others saying that they do not want to see alcohol on grocery store shelves.

According to group organizers with Citizens for a Progressive Middlesboro, the tax revenue from the sale of alcohol will go to the Middlesboro Police Department.

The petition can be found at Middlesboro Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce located inside the Alexander Arthur Museum on Cumberland Avenue or at the customer service desk inside Middlesboro Food City.