Decision 2012: Will Sunday alcohol sales be on the Ft. Oglethorpe ballot?
FORT OGLETHORPE, GA. (WRCB) - Another north Georgia town is about to decide whether to give voters a choice on Sunday alcohol sales. The Fort Oglethorpe City Council decides Monday whether it will follow Catoosa County's lead in letting voters make the call.
At this point it's not will Sunday alcohol sales be allowed in Fort Oglethorpe, it's will voters get to make the choice in November.
"If we didn't follow suit and give the citizens an opportunity to vote on it, we would be isolated," Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Ron Goulart says.
Goulart says the resolutions going before council Monday mirror those Catoosa County voted to include on the ballot for voters in the county's unincorporated areas.
One lets you buy it by the drink. Another lets you buy it by the bottle in a package store. Both between 12:30 p.m. and midnight.
"With recent legislation by the legislatures it authorizes local jurisdictions to consider that matter," Goulart says.
He says he already knows some council members don't want this decision left up to voters.
"Certainly I understand their personal feelings, but I think you've got to look at this from a community-wide stand point," Goulart says.
Residents are split on the overall issue of Sunday alcohol sales.
"I don't believe in it," Fort Oglethorpe resident Mikel Stone says.
"I would vote for alcohol to be sold on Sundays," Fort Oglethorpe resident Jessica Holland says.
But many on both sides think voters should decide.
"I think it should be put on the ballot and then the people can speak for themselves," Fort Oglethorpe resident Chris Clanton says.
"I think they should put it on the ballot and give the people a chance to vote," Fort Oglethorpe resident Susan Hazzard says.
Goulart knows his stance. He says it comes down to money the city could use to avoid increasing other taxes.
"For every can of beer that's sold at a packaged store, the city receives cents per can plus the sales tax, so that's a lot of money," Goulart says.
He says developers have approached the city on the matter, too.
"They have interest from restaurants that would like to come to the city but they insisted that they wanted the Sunday sales," Goulart said.
City Councilman Louis Hamm wouldn't do an interview, because it's Sunday. He's a pastor at a local church. He says he plans to vote against putting the issue on the ballot.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates on Decision 2012 as they become available.