City sets alcohol sales vote for 2022

The move will save the city about $10,000 versus holding a separate referendum

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RED BAY | City residents will have their say next year on whether to allow alcohol sales within the city limits of Red Bay.

One of the first actions of the new year by the Council was to set a date of May 24, 2022 for city residents to vote in a special election on alcohol sales. The city was required by state law to set an election once Mayor Charlene Fancher validated petition signatures provided to the city by resident Matt Brazil. Brazil submitted the petition on November 18, 2020 and was required to have at least 226 signatures of registered voters in the city in order to request the vote.

The signature threshold was determined by the number of voters in the city’s municipal elections held last August.

State law allows any municipality with a population of more than 1,000 residents to hold a referendum on alcohol sales. Brazil had previously told The News he was looking at the matter from a standpoint of keeping lost revenue in Red Bay as residents now either travel over to Belmont or Russellville to purchase beer.

With the cost to the City of Red Bay for holding an election being around $10,000, Fancher and the Council determined that holding the alcohol referendum at the same time as the next scheduled election in the city would be the most fiscally economical way to do it. The next scheduled election in the city is the 2022 Primary, which is set for May 24, 2022.

If the matter is approved by voters, the Council will then be charged with establishing the rules and ordinances surrounding the sale of alcohol, such as when, where and what types can be purchased in the city.

The agenda for the first was short, but the action was significant for Red Bay’s first City Council meeting of the new year. The Council, on a motion by Mike Kennedy, voted to decline the request to give Tier II employees Tier I benefits, as defined by the Retirement Systems of Alabama. The matter had been before the Council for several months, with the Mayor, Council members and City Attorney Roger Bedford each expressing concerns that a total amount due as well as reassurances and a firm figure on what could come due down the road could not be satisfactorily provided to the city.

Council members also approved Fancher’s hiring of Justin Comi to the Street Department.