ONEONTA, Ala. (WIAT) — A Tuesday vote in Oneonta could make county history. Residents are divided on whether or not to allow sales within city limits. For some people, the vote is a moral issue and a matter of right and wrong.
Robert Cozad was born and raised in Blount County. He wants to “keep Blount County special.” To him, that means keeping alcohol out, and he wants everyone to know it.
“It’s people moving into this county right here that are wanting it wet,” Cozad said. “If they want it to be a wet county, they should have stayed where they were at.”
Cozad says he used to drink when he was in the Navy, but that changed when he had a son. “I woke up one morning and my kid was squalling and all that, and I had a hangover, and I said, ‘You can’t be a dad and be drunk at the same time.’ And I gave it up,” Cozad said.
However, Cozad’s view on the matter isn’t the only opinion in the city. For other residents, selling alcohol isn’t a matter of right and wrong. It’s a matter of simple economics.
Dale Sharp is a retired Oneonta police officer. She is in support of alcohol sales within city limits.
“This town is dying. It’s withering away on the vine, and it’s because there’s not enough revenue,” said Sharp. “And not that alcohol is going to solve all of our problems, but it is a start.”
She says the idea of increased alcohol-related crimes doesn’t concern her.
“Everybody that we have problems with with alcohol, they’re gonna get it,” Sharp said. “Whether they have to drive 15, 20 miles away.”
Sharp says that money might as well be going to the city. “There’s no business. There’s nowhere to shop. You have to drive 50-60 miles to go anywhere to shop, to get to your finer restaurants,” Sharp said.
Cozad doesn’t think alcohol in Oneonta is the solution.
“They’re gonna buy alcohol anyhow, let them go to Birmingham and buy it, I don’t care,” Cozad said. “I just don’t want it here.”
WIAT 42 News talked with the city manager, and he says he has talked with several businesses recently who were considering setting up shop in Oneonta, but decided on going somewhere else because the city is currently dry.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News