Barling City Administrator Wants Alcohol Sales On A Ballot

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BARLING (KFSM) -- Alcohol sales may happen in the future.

The city administrator of Barling is working to bring alcohol sales to the area. Residents are in favor of both sides of the wet/dry issue.

"I am very game for it," Dorothy Neighbors said. "I am so for it."

Rita Womack said she isn't sure this would be a good idea.

"Even though it would probably boost the towns, I just don't know if it would be good," she explained. "I don't know if I would want my kids raised up in that."

In 2012, residents voted in a special election to bring liquor sales to Barling, but someone filed a lawsuit saying the entire southern portion of Sebastian County would have to vote on the issue. A judge ordered the city to throw out the election results.

"Everybody was disappointed," said Ivy Owen, the executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority. "The election passed more than 2-1, so the people in Barling want it. It's a shame they haven't been able to do it because of the silly law that's on the books."

Owen added that Barling's economy has been impacted due to not being able to sell alcohol.

"We'll help them get this done if they want us to because we think it's important to the future of Barling and the future of Chaffee Crossing in Barling... to get this wet issue taken care of," he said.

On Tuesday (Oct. 24), City Administrator Michael Tanner got approval from the board of directors to meet with leaders in cities including Greenwood, Hartford, Hackett and Mansfield. He said he wants to form a coalition with them, and collect enough signatures to get the issue back on the ballot for the November 2018 election.

"There's a possibility of having a special election if we get this coalition together and get our signatures quicker than 13 months," Tanner said.

Tanner also said he hopes to have the coalition formed within a couple of weeks. Even if the issue passes in the county, individual cities may elect to stay dry.