Alcohol sales impact on Clark County

Clark County (KATV) - When Clark County voted to legalize alcohol during the 2010 election, it changed the county in many ways, this November, Arkansans could vote to legalize alcohol sales statewide. From sales tax revenue, to DWIs, to infrastructure, alcohol sales impacts so much more than just money inside a cash register. At Lucky Liquor, the first liquor store open after Clark County became wet, Friday night is normally busy, but nowhere near as busy as what it was like when they first opened in August of 2011. "We had employees stock the shelves at the same time they were trying to check employees out," said General Manger of Lucky Liquor Nicholas Brown. Brown says the money being spent on alcohol is staying in the county to be used on improvements to the counties infrastructure and economy. Sales tax revenue decreased in Clark County from 2009-2010 by over $28,000. When the county went wet in 2011 the sales tax increased to over $123,000. Since then, the novelty of buying alcohol has subsided after 2011 but according to Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson, so has drinking driving. Before Clark became a wet county, highway 7 used to be one of the closest ways to get outside the county line and legally purchase alcohol, but since Clark County has become wet, the Sheriff says he has seen a decline in DWIs and alcohol related fatalities. "We don't have to worry about traffic infraction coming in and out of the county, it's a lot safer on the roads and surrounding areas," said Brown. The proposal to allow alcohol sales in every county in Arkansas has less than 30 days to get more than 17,000 verified signatures in order to be placed on the November general election ballot.