Petiions supporting local option elections calling for the “legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only” and one calling for “the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only” have been verified by Sulphur Springs City Secretary Gale Roberts.
“Each petition had a little over 1,300 names, signatures, and 1,176 were needed,” the city secretary said. “That will mean that (the City Council) will call for two elections on the Aug. 7 agenda, but the elections won't be held until November in the general election.”
In the November election, registered Sulphur Springs voters will be able to cast ballots for or against each ballot item.
The verification process, according to state law, involved checking each signature on the petitions to make sure those people live inside the city limits and are registered to vote.
The petition drive was originated by Sulphur Springs Committee for Economic Growth and conducted by Texas Petition Strategies of Arlington.
According to John Reed, spokesman for Sulphur Springs Economic Growth Committee, as many as 1,500 registered voters in Sulphur Springs signed the petitions in less than 15 days. The committee had a 60-day time frame in which to complete the petitions according to state law.
Reed said those signing the petitions ignored printed and mailed “threats” to call for the elections in record time.
Reed, one of the owners of Lou Viney's Restaurant and Pub and treasurer of Sulphur Springs Committee for Economic Growth, said the group consists of local residents, business and community leaders and many local businesses.
According to a release from the committee, the petition calling for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption will only allow beer and wine sales in businesses such as grocery and convenience stores but will not allow package liquor sales or liquor stores.
The petition calling for the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants will only allow state-recognized restaurants to serve alcohol without requiring the “private club” membership as currently required by a number of Sulphur Springs restaurants. This would, according to Reed, not allow stand-alone bars or nightclubs.
Group member Travis Crump, owner of Crump Valley Winery, said that Sulphur Springs is losing valuable tax revenue when people drive out of town to buy beer and wine.
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