Viola okays liquor sales

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Viola voters overwhelmingly voted 406 to 77 to begin collecting revenue from liquor sales on Tuesday's Nov. 4, 2008 proposal. The question, "Shall the sale of alcoholic liquor ... be prohibited in this village?" read as a negative question, with a no vote meaning liquor sales would be allowed in the village.

Casey's is currently out of the village limits. "We have a pre-annexation agreement with Casey's," said Viola Village Mayor Kirk Doonan on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. "Once we allow liquor sales they agreed they will annex."

The village passed a new sewer and water ordinance about a year ago that stipulated that any new business the village serves would be asked to annex into the village. "It was pending with the new water/sewer ordinance."

The mayor said that annexation of City Limits, just outside of the village limits was not a as easy as the Casey's store and the village at this time had no plans to annex it.

He said he was at a Viola Fire District meeting and didn't keep track of how the vote was going. "I was surprised. I didn't watch it."

"Viola has been dry, as far as I know, since prohibition in 1934," said Doonan. "Some people like the idea of living in a dry town. Other people thought we ought to be going after the tax revenue."

He said the village has proposed allowing liquor sales at least twice before in its history.

He did receive some flack about how the ballot measure read. "That is a state statute for it to be worded that way," he added.

This is just another step for the village of Viola in the process. Doonan said that he needs to set up a liquor commission, provide the applications, rules and penalties for violation before things move forward, besides the actual annexation being signed.

The new Casey's store opened in Viola just last week. "We've got a lot of things to do."

Other propositions

A question on the city of Aledo's ballot asked about collecting an additional .025 percent property tax for the upkeep of the city cemetery, which lost 1,073 to 772.

In Greene Township a fire protection tax rate increase lost 811 to 398.

At the county level, in the circuit clerk race incumbent Jeff Benson won handily  with a nearly 65 percent margin over Bobbi-Sue Young-Huntoon, 5,419 to 2,975. Another county race was for the coroner slot, with incumbent Ron McNall beating opponent Lewis L. Wiley by an even larger 75 percent margin, 6,159 to 2,089. State's Attorney Gretory J. McHugh ran unopposed and took in 6,113 votes.

Candidates running for a supervisor position on the Mercer County Board in the five districts all ran unopposed. Winners for the county were District 1 Maxine Henry, District 2 Floyd Richard Utz; District 3 Milton C. Box, District 4 Terry Elliott and District 4 Tom Haines, all Democrats.

Other races included 14th judicial circuit judge retentions, with all three judges on the ballot receiving a majority of yes votes - Charles "Casey" Stengel (5,520 to 1,735); Ted Hamer (5,314 to 1,744) and Walter D. Braud (5,308 to 2,033).

A total of 9,937 ballots were cast in Mercer County, out of the 14,087 registered voters. There was a heavy early voting and absentee voting presence with just under 1,000 ballots going out, according to Mercer County Clerk Tom Hanson. "Overall I think it went very well," he said about the election. "We got done in good time and there were no glitches. That's always good."

Voting in Mercer County for the regional superintendent of schools gave Jodi L. Scott, republican and current acting superintendent for Henderson/Mercer/Warren counties, a 62 percent nod and 3,128 votes. Democrat candidate Bobby J. "Bob" Pritchett, Jr., received 1,880 votes from Mercer County voters.

Hanson said that the voting numbers seen on election day were not the final tally.

"We still have absentee ballots that we can count for 14 more days."