JUNCTION CITY — After decades of prohibition, the second Boyle County city in less than two years will vote whether to go wet this October.
Boyle Judge-Executive Harold McKinney has signed an order certifying that the petition seeking alcohol sales was valid and setting Tuesday, Oct. 4, as the election date.
The petition apparently began circulating at a number of local gas stations last month. The document said those who signed it support holding “a local option election to permit the lawful sale of alcohol beverages and the consumption of alcohol beverages by the drink within the incorporated city limits.”
County Clerk Trille Bottom, who received the forms last week, said it is not clear who is behind the effort. She said there did not appear to be an organization like the Committee for Expanded Sales that gathered signatures and ran the successful campaign in Danville.
Whoever is backing the wet effort in Junction City wasted no time taking advantage of the city's long sought change in classification. Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 82 in May, which reclassified Junction City and three other small towns from fifth to fourth class after many failed attempts at similar legislation.
A fifth-class city can vote to allow alcohol sales by the drink in restaurants that maintain 70 percent food sales and have 100 or 50 seats at tables, depending on the type of local option election that is called for. Fourth-class cities can vote to become fully wet, with package liquor stores and other retail sales, but would have to have another election to allow bar licenses.
Bottom previously expressed some concern about the timing of the referendum in relation to the November general election because of laws that require voting equipment to be under lock and key for a period of time before elections. However, she said the petition was turned in just in time to fall within the 60-90 day window for holding the special election and to allow for 30 days before the regular election.
Bottom said there are only three precincts that serve voters living in Junction City.