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Still dry

Hartselle has affirmed its status as the largest dry city in Alabama.

For the third time in 10 years, Hartselle voters said “no” to alcohol sales. This time, the vote was ever so slightly closer than it was in 2010.

“No” votes registered an unofficial total of 3,478 while “yes” votes finished with 3,066.

City Clerk/Controller Rita Lee said there were a few provisional ballots, but those are unlikely to sway the vote either way.

“It’s been a hard and tough campaign but it was worth it all,” said Jeff Johnson, a leader with Families for a Safe Hartselle. “But we didn’t do what we did to win something. We did it to make a statement about what’s right for our community.”

A group of supporters with Families for a Safe Hartselle surround Kay Mosteller, left, Cathy Statham and Ruth Marie Johnson, who are holding a “Thank You Hartselle!” sign. | Clif Knight

The vote differential was almost identical to what it was in 2010, when the “no” votes won 3,159-2,699.

Despite those numbers, Bob Francis with Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development said they are already looking to begin the referendum process again.

“At our last meeting, we decided that we were going to celebrate tonight,” Francis said. “We were expecting to celebrate a victory tonight, but at our last meeting, we decided that if it didn’t pass, we were going to use this as a kickoff for the 2014 event.”

Council President Bill Smelser said the city must continue to be diligent to seek out additional forms of revenue, since the city will not be receiving any revenue from alcohol sales.

“There’s no business to big or too small for us,” Smelser said. “We’re going to move forward and try to bring the city back together.”

Newly elected Mayor Don Hall said the city didn’t budget for additional revenue from alcohol in the 2012-2013 budget, but he sees a bigger issue facing the city.

“We need to come back together after such a long and tough campaign and move forward,” Hall said.

Lee said a wet-dry referendum costs the city about $15,000.

Clif Knight contributed to this report.

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