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Kentucky Town Mulls Ending Alcohol Ban To Stave Off Collapse

REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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A small city in Kentucky will vote on whether or not to lift its ban on alcohol this October.

Residents of Barlow, Kentucky will vote in a special election this fall over lifting the ban on alcohol within the city limits in an effort to bring in more revenue amid budget shortfalls, according to local NBC affiliate WPSD.

“We could use any kind of income we can get as long as its legal,” a local restaurant owner told WPSD.

Mayor Jo Wilfong said the only “real source of income” for the city come from water and sewer bills, which, in 2015, were raised to cover a budget shortfall, according to WPSD.

“I think everybody’s known for a while that things were not good, but I’m not sure we knew how desperate the situation was,” Commissioner Peggy Meriedeth said at meeting of Barlow City Commissioners in February 2015.

Wilfong told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Barlow banned alcohol sales in the 1940s, and Kentucky towns with less than 3,000 residents had “no option” to lift the ban. Kentucky lifted that restriction for the entire state in July.

Wilfong said the revenue from alcohol sales will not be directed into the city’s budget, rather she hopes for a “trickle-down effect.”

“Immediately after hearing of the vote, Barlow was contacted by a convenience store chain interested in setting up a store here,” Wilfong told TheDCNF.

Those who oppose lifting the alcohol ban fear introducing alcohol will bring more crime. Something Wilfong addressed by saying that passage of the law would allow the creation of a “small police force.”

Interestingly, a 2003 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology said alcohol related accidents were actually higher in cities where alcohol is banned than in cities where it is not.

“[The] results provide circumstantial evidence that some dry county drivers may be driving to wet counties to consume alcohol thus increasing impaired driving exposure,” the report read.

There are a total of 39 counties in Kentucky that have bans on alcohol.

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