Council to Hold New Vote on Liquor by the Drink Referendum
Legal technicality results in voiding of original vote.
A matter that officials thought had been decided in June is once again on the Dacula City Council agenda due to a legal technicality.
On June 2, the Dacula City Council authorized two referendums to be held during the November 8, 2011 general municipal elections.
The first referendum, which will place Sunday package sales on the November ballot, was approved by a 2-1 margin. Council members Gregory Reeves and Sue Robinson voted in favor of holding the referendum and councilman Wendell Holcombe voted against. Councilman Tim Montgomery was absent.
The second referendum, a measure to allow voters to decide if Sunday sales of liquor by the drink will be permitted in restaurants within the city limits, was also approved by a 2-1 margin with Reeves and Robinson voting in favor and Holcombe voting in opposition.
While the vote on the Sunday package sales referendum met all legal requirements, the liquor by the drink referendum was held prematurely according to City of Dacula Elections Superintendent Kay Partain.
Partain explained that state law specifies the liquor by the drink vote be held no sooner than 120 days prior to the election. For that reason, the June 2 vote is not valid.
If council approves the referendum during the Aug. 4 council meeting, voters will decide in November if sales of distilled spirits by the drink will be allowed between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Though the measure passed last time, there is no guarantee it will pass the second time around.
Councilman Tim Montgomery, who was absent during the June 2 vote, has previously voiced opposition to both the liquor by the drink and Sunday package sales measures.
During the April Dacula City Council meeting, Montgomery said that while he believes letting the voters decide is the right thing to do, he cannot vote in favor of allowing the referendum to appear on the ballot.
“As a Baptist deacon, I don’t think I can cast a positive vote for a referendum for alcohol sales on Sunday,” he said during the April 28 meeting.
Montgomery explained his decision was not a political stance, but instead a matter of faith.
Should Montgomery vote against the measure and the other council members vote as they did in June, Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks will be called upon to settle the tie vote. Wilbanks has said he believes letting the voters decide is “probably the best thing we can do.”
The city council will meet Thursday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. The council meets at Dacula City Hall, located at 442 Harbins Road in Dacula.