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Liquor-by-drink will be on ballot in two districts

It’ll be at least another year before voters in the Ingles District will get to vote on liquor-by-the-drink.
Efforts to collect enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot this November were not successful in that district, but they were in Massie and Robinson districts.
The liquor-by-the-drink law allows restaurants and other approved businesses to sell mixed alcoholic beverages. A referendum allows the registered voters to decide whether they want the law passed in their districts.
Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce started a drive to get liquor-by-the-drink referendums on the ballot in those three districts in an effort to “put the whole county on equal footing.” The measure passed in the other two county districts, Draper and Cloyd, in prior years.
Chamber President Ken Bowling said only about half of the required 380 signatures needed for a referendum in Ingles District were collected by the Sept. 1 deadline. He said the biggest obstacle the chamber faced in that district was trying to get people to collect signatures on the petitions.
“We just couldn’t get enough support in that area,” Bowling said. “We even offered to pay people (to collect signatures) and couldn’t get help.”
He pointed out that regulations require persons collecting signatures for a referendum live and be registered to vote in the district in which they are carrying petitions. Therefore, those petitioners had to live and vote in Ingles District.
Ingles was felt to be a crucial district since it encompasses the Claytor Lake area and its Interstate 81 exit (101), which have good potential for development.
Asked whether the chamber will try again next year in Ingles, Bowling said “I feel like we need to try, if that is the desire of the chamber’s board of directors.”
However, if a referendum is sought in 2009, he said he thinks it is important for the chamber to “get people involved a lot earlier than we did this year. I think we need to make it a yearlong effort, especially if” the referendums are passed in Massie and Robinson.
Bowling said he was “kind of surprised, at least in Massie District,” by the number of voters who said they don’t drink, but signed the petitions anyway because they knew it would” lead to additional restaurants.
Liquor-by-the-drink referendums were passed in Cloyd District in 2005 and Draper District in 2007. In both cases, the referendums were passed by more than 70 percent of voters in each district.
Portions of Massie and Robinson districts already have liquor-by-the-drink by virtue of the fact each of those districts include portions of the Town of Pulaski. The town has had liquor-by-the-drink options since the early- to mid-1980s.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com

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Liquor-by-drink will be on ballot in two districts

It’ll be at least another year before voters in the Ingles District will get to vote on liquor-by-the-drink.
Efforts to collect enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot this November were not successful in that district, but they were in Massie and Robinson districts.
The liquor-by-the-drink law allows restaurants and other approved businesses to sell mixed alcoholic beverages. A referendum allows the registered voters to decide whether they want the law passed in their districts.
Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce started a drive to get liquor-by-the-drink referendums on the ballot in those three districts in an effort to “put the whole county on equal footing.” The measure passed in the other two county districts, Draper and Cloyd, in prior years.
Chamber President Ken Bowling said only about half of the required 380 signatures needed for a referendum in Ingles District were collected by the Sept. 1 deadline. He said the biggest obstacle the chamber faced in that district was trying to get people to collect signatures on the petitions.
“We just couldn’t get enough support in that area,” Bowling said. “We even offered to pay people (to collect signatures) and couldn’t get help.”
He pointed out that regulations require persons collecting signatures for a referendum live and be registered to vote in the district in which they are carrying petitions. Therefore, those petitioners had to live and vote in Ingles District.
Ingles was felt to be a crucial district since it encompasses the Claytor Lake area and its Interstate 81 exit (101), which have good potential for development.
Asked whether the chamber will try again next year in Ingles, Bowling said “I feel like we need to try, if that is the desire of the chamber’s board of directors.”
However, if a referendum is sought in 2009, he said he thinks it is important for the chamber to “get people involved a lot earlier than we did this year. I think we need to make it a yearlong effort, especially if” the referendums are passed in Massie and Robinson.
Bowling said he was “kind of surprised, at least in Massie District,” by the number of voters who said they don’t drink, but signed the petitions anyway because they knew it would” lead to additional restaurants.
Liquor-by-the-drink referendums were passed in Cloyd District in 2005 and Draper District in 2007. In both cases, the referendums were passed by more than 70 percent of voters in each district.
Portions of Massie and Robinson districts already have liquor-by-the-drink by virtue of the fact each of those districts include portions of the Town of Pulaski. The town has had liquor-by-the-drink options since the early- to mid-1980s.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com

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