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Sunday alcohol outside cities not on ballot
by Savannah Weeks
sweeks@neighbornewspapers.com
September 20, 2012 10:28 AM | 747 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
County Administrator Mike Jones told Paulding commissioners Sept. 13 they would not be able to place a Sunday alcohol sales referendum on the November ballot because he and election board members were “unaware” a new state law required action to take action earlier than before.

“Several of you talked about placing an item on the November ballot for consideration by the public for Sunday alcohol sales,” Jones said.

“I know it was your intention today to consider this. Unfortunately, as we [Jones and the Board of Elections] prepared that ballot and submitted it to the state department of justice, we found a new law.”

Jones said the former version of the law stated that counties had to submit the item to the state 60 days prior to an election, but the new law states it must be submitted 90 days before an election.

“I was unaware of that,” said Jones. “I apologize for that. It will prohibit us from putting it on the ballot, because we are within the 90 days now.”

Commissioner Todd Pownall said he felt the county let its business owners and merchants down by “dropping the ball” on the Sunday alcohol sales ballot question.

“I think we should have put it on the ballot earlier,” Pownall said. “I’m disappointed, because the merchants don’t have that option. I’ve had calls from citizens who feel like we’re losing sales to other counties.”

According to Jones, the state offered a way to put it on the ballot this year but it is “very complicated and expensive.”

“We would have to hold two separate elections,” Jones said of the provision. “During a very busy presidential election, that’s just not feasible.”

Jones said the next possible elections to place the item on a ballot would be for a special called election in March or next November’s general election. Either option would come at an additional expense for the county.

“The next opportunity to do it where there would be the least expense would be July 2014, which would be the normal primary election cycle,” Jones said.
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