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Will alcohol sales benefit the city?

By By J.W. Greenhill, Hartselle Enquirer
While alcohol sales seems a viable solution of the city's economic problems in the short run, the long-term effects on Hartselle are another thing altogether.
While I wrote two weeks ago that looking solely at the finances of the city I would have to give the nod to legalizing alcohol sales, the issue does not rest just on economics.
Some will vote for it because they don't want to have to drive to another city to buy their refreshment of choice. Others will vote against it because they believe alcohol sales is a moral issue or because they don't want to put a "stumbling block" in the path of another person.
Still others will vote against it because they like "Hartselle the way it is" and they don't want to see it change.
Without a doubt, legalizing alcohol will change Hartselle forever. But change is inevitable. All you have to do is dredge your memory for that to be clear. Hartselle has been changing all along.
I remember when the Dairy Queen was a teen hangout from way back. That's not true anymore. I remember when we didn't have a McDonalds or a Burger King. I remember when Hartselle had two bowling alleys and two hospitals.
Change will come. But do we want the change alcohol sales will bring? Although the ministerial association and the city council are looking into drafting the ordinances necessary to control alcohol sales, councils change and the laws can be changed with the swiftness of a vote. A future council for economic reasons well might approve what this council would never approve.
The question Hartselle residents have to ask themselves is, "How are we going to reasonably pay for the necessities, foster positive growth and retain the character of Hartselle that we have grown to hold dear."
Three sources have been put forth. Alcohol sales, more property taxes or more sales tax. These are natural answers.
Ultimately I believe our true answer is to seek Christian spiritual revival for our community.
The time has come for congregations who believe God wants to be involves with our affairs, to call on Him to become involved in this one.
We need to call out to God for his wisdom in how to meet this challenge. Natural thinking has brought us to the answers of "alcohol sales or taxes." But how earnestly have the Christians of our community cried out for revival and God's solution to our problems?
I think the "separation of church and state" folks have fooled the Church into thinking God doesn't get involved in politics. If I read the Bible correctly, God seemed to be in the middle of Israel's politics when He started that nation. He didn't call on them to try to solve their own problems. He simply required them to listen to what he said and do it.
God tells us through the book of Proverbs that we should not rely on our own understanding.
Hartselle has already become known as an antique hotspot in North Alabama. Surely God can show us another way or ways to prosper our town rather than the natural answers.
The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
We need to get a clue as to where our true answer lies.
We recently saw what one neighboring community thought of raising property taxes. Athens voters overwhelmingly denied an increase that was supposed to maintain or improve the quality of education for their own children. Can we reasonably expect Hartselle voters to do any different?
Sooner or later Hartselle will have to pay one way or the other and we need to make the hard decisions now before the opportunity is taken from us.

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