New Albany voters have ended the decades old issue about whether the city should allow the sale of alcoholic beverages, first by approving beer three years ago and then wine and spirits this week.
Tuesday’s vote was overwhelming in favor, 57.2 percent to 42.8 percent. In political circles, a margin of 55 percent or higher is termed a “landslide.” And the final official results show it carried in all of the city’s four voting wards.
We were not surprised that it passed, but the margin – three percentage points higher than beer three years ago – shows that voters realized that the arrival of legal beer changed little in New Albany, except a significant increase in city tax revenue.
The core group that ran the petition gathering effort and the election campaign is to be congratulated for a masterful effort. The group included Mary Jennifer Russell of Sugaree’s Bakery; John Young, real estate developer and businessman; Suzann Watts, manager of Park Place Apartments, and Britt Smith of Easton, Babb and Smith, certified public accountants. Logan Rutledge also helped during the election campaign.
Their campaign, focused heavily on advertising in the Gazette and Gazette Guide as well as use of databases and social media, was very effective.
Now it is up to the New Albany Board of Aldermen to approve the enacting ordinance. To avoid confusion, we think that ordinance, which we expect will be approved quickly, should follow the same general standards the city has in place for the sale of beer.
The voters have spoken. It’s time for city leaders and development groups to get about the business of encouraging the wider-choice of restaurants, both local and chain-owned, that New Albany deserves.