Cost of Benton County "Wet" Petition RisesBy: KNWA, Fayetteville, ARUpdated: April 18, 2012(Bentonville, AR)--The campaign to bring legal retail alcohol sales to Benton County is gettingexpensive, and two of Sam Waltons grandsons are footing most of the bill.The effort to gather 40,000 signatures to put the wet dry issue before Benton County voters isgoing strong, according to "Keep Dollars in Benton County" spokesperson Marshall Ney."I think theres still a lot of willing signatories out there that want to sign the petition," Ney says."People were enthusiastic about it before, but there just wasnt the people power out there to getthe petitions signed and gather the signatures."The group hired National Ballot Access to collect the signatures, and the firm doesnt comecheap. According to a financial report filed on April 13, "Keep Dollars in Benton County" haspaid $219,513.11 to the firm so far. The report also shows Tom and Stueart Walton each donated$80,000 to the group in March. The brothers already put in $30,000 each to kick off the petitiondrive."It would be a lot harder to gain the financial support without someone stepping up and writingchecks of this size," Ney says. "Its a lot of money, and sure could we go out and raise themoney, yes, but it would be a longer and more difficult process."Dave Marrs lives near the Bentonville square, and he hopes the brothers support will influencevoters if the issue makes it to the ballot."i know that they want nothing but the best for downtown Bentonville, look what theyve donefor our city," he says. "Were growing like nowhere else in large part because of the Waltons, andso I sure hope people will look at that and say if theyre supporting it I will as well."Brittany Lee disagrees and thinks the men are making a mistake."I think its the opposite of what Sam would have wanted, he was a very big family person andhe would not have been for it at all," Lee says. "Were booming as it is. Bentonville has grown somuch in six years and if you look at the last twenty years its grown and its been without havingalcohol in the county."But Ney says Benton County residents already have plenty of access to alcohol at private clubsnot to mention the short drive across county lines."Youre not going to change the behaviors of all of those who are consuming alcohol in Bentoncounty already,youre just going to export all of their dollars to other counties," he says. "Wheredo you want your tax revenue, where do you want your jobs? Where do you want your economicimpact, if you want it here, then you want this county to be wet."