Hayden nixes liquor

By a vote of 139 against to 135 in favor, the town of Hayden on Jan. 20 voted down sale of alcoholic beverages within its jurisdiction, according to Hayden Mayor Larry Armstrong. Since the town’s legal boundaries include a sizable area of west Blount County, much of that part of the county will not see sale of alcoholic beverages any time in the near future. According to state law, two years must pass before another referendum could be scheduled in the Hayden jurisdiction.

Armstrong said the issue was not hotly debated in the period leading up to the election.

“A few signs against going wet popped up the last weekend before the election, but that was about it,” he said. “The town itself stayed neutral on it. We didn’t even advertise the election on the marquee at town hall at first, trying not to take sides, you know. Then a few days before the election, we got a couple of calls from people wanting to know if we were against alcohol and trying to keep the election secret. So then we posted the date outside city hall,” Armstrong said.

Asked if he had been looking forward to additional tax proceeds the town would have received had alcohol sales been approved, Armstrong said,“No, I definitely wasn’t counting on it. That’s one thing I try not to ever do in an election – that’s to count the chickens before they’re hatched.”

There are no other municipal option (wet/dry) elections pending in Blount County. The wet/dry box score for municipal option elections is: wet – 3 (Oneonta, Blountsville, Cleveland); dry – 2 (Locust Fork, Hayden). Of the remaining Blount County municipalities, only Snead, with a 2013 population estimated at 845, approaches the population criterion of 1000 required to call for a wet/dry referendum under the state municipal option law.