Bethel voters to decide whether or not to keep legal alcohol sales

Bethel residents will be asked to vote again this October on whether to have legal sales of alcohol in town. A petition submitted by Evon Waska Sr. has gathered enough signatures to put the local option issue back on the city’s October ballot.

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Waska’s petition turned in 297 qualifying signatures, more than enough to meet the bar of 248 signatures needed to put the alcohol local option on the ballot. That represents 35 percent of last year’s election turnout of 710 voters.

According to City Clerk Lori Strickler, the Bethel City Council is now required to put the alcohol issue on the ballot come October under Alaska state law.

Stickler anticipates the item will appear before the Council at the May 22 meeting for introduction, with a public hearing to follow on June 12.

If the local option proposition passes in October, Strickler says Bethel liquor stores would have 90 days to close after the Council certifies the election.