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Many leaders in no rush to hold vote on Sunday alcohol sales

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In a small town with convenience stores and churches on the street corners, there’s little talk buzzing in Grovetown about the upcoming vote to permit alcohol sales in retail stores on Sundays.

It’s the people’s choice, but the people aren’t voicing strong opinions one way or another, Grovetown Mayor George James said earlier this fall. He thinks Tuesday’s vote will pass, making Grovetown the first town in the area to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Several communities across the state moved to put the vote on a ballot after Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation in April allowing local governments to make the decision about Sunday sales in stores from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Most area towns, including Harlem, Thom­son and Augusta, said they will wait until next year instead of calling a special election.

“We just happen to have an election coming up,” James said.

If the vote passes, sales from one day of the week won’t be a huge moneymaker. Though Grove­town isn’t projecting extra tax revenue, James said, it could attract a few more sales from nearby areas that won’t vote as soon.

“If you live next door to a county that doesn’t get on a ballot, that could give you more sales,” he said.

Augusta is waiting until 2012, said Augusta Com­missioner Joe Bowles. Spending upwards of $70,000 on a special election isn’t worth any missed tax revenue, he said.

In Columbia County, the vote will also wait, said county Commission Chairman Ron Cross. Grovetown and Harlem need their own vote because they are incorporated areas of the county, he said.

“We’re not going to call a special election just for this issue,” Cross said.

Columbia County is in no hurry to collect what would probably be a insignificant amount of tax revenue, he said. Few people have brought forth discussion to the commission so far, but Cross said the county has an influx of new residents who bring new ideas.

“It’s a toss-up to me,” he said. “You have six days to buy, but why shouldn’t alcohol be sold just like everything else?”

The revenue impact could fall closer to the businesses, which predict more customers will stay close to home rather than head to South Carolina, where Aiken County has a special permit for Sunday sales.

“If it does pass, I’m sure our business will skyrocket. People will come here instead of going to Aiken,” said Penny Walker, the manager of the Circle K store on Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown.

Less enthusiasm is rising from church leaders.

“I’m all for the people choo­sing,” said Pastor Ste­ven Adams, of Grove First Bap­tist Church in Grove­town. “There’s a big bother in my own heart and mind. There’s just a loss of reverence and fear for God.”

Harlem Mayor Bobby Cul­pepper said the city council will put the issue on the ballot eventually, though the town only has two convenience stores and one grocery store that stand to benefit from sales.

“I don’t think there would be a whole lot of people rushing over to Grovetown to buy alcohol. That’s the reason we didn’t feel the urgency,” he said.

Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry said neither the city nor McDuffie County were eagerly pursuing the vote. Grocery stores aren’t asking for it, and Thomson plans to wait until requests are made.

“We just didn’t feel like it was the time to put it out there for the voters,” Usry said.

Thomson is always looking for added revenue, he said, but Usry isn’t afraid of losing that money to Sunday sales elsewhere.

“There’s always that possibility people will skip over lines, but the loss is negligible,” he said.

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Taylor B
Taylor B 11/06/11 - 12:33 am
This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with money or religion. This is freedom, baby.

Riverman1 11/06/11 - 06:28 am
Blue Laws are a way of

Blue Laws are a way of showing our respect for Christianity. Theaters shouldn't be showing R rated movies on Sunday either....or should they even be allowed to open on Sunday? TV is another matter that should be looked into with all matter of nonsense being shown on the Sabbath. Why not just mandate TV stays black on the Holy day?

Libraries should also put plastic curtains in front of the shelves of books that contain shady material. Cover them and turn out the lights in that area on Sundays. A committee can determine which books are appropriate on Sundays.

Pro sports on Sunday are obviously breaking all the tenets. If colleges don't play football on Sunday why should the Atlanta Falcons?

It's a day of rest, no alcohol, no fun. Stay quiet and contemplate your relationship with the Almighty while respecting that's the day when the big man also rested.

bjphysics 11/06/11 - 06:45 am
Marty McFly: “Doc, Doc, they

Marty McFly: “Doc, Doc, they don’t sell beer on Sunday!"

Dr. Emmett Brown: “Marty, we must have accidentally set the Flux Capacitor to 1923.”

Oh, this is heavy.

TrukinRanger 11/06/11 - 01:42 pm
LOL... 2nd post is funny.

LOL... 2nd post is funny. Why don't we just turn off the electricity for the day and REQUIRE everyone to stay home entirely on Sundays too.

GaStang22 11/06/11 - 02:16 pm
I tell ya, I'd much rather

I tell ya, I'd much rather people buy alcohol on Sunday and take it home, than go to a bar/restaurant get smashed then drive home because they cant buy it in a store. It is plain BS for them to have allowed restaurants to if it if they weren't going to let stores to start with, made no sense. Instead of bitching about it they should have just let Sunday sales be passed everywhere looooong ago!!!! And whats the hold up now, why even any question about it anymore? No urgency? Any bit of revenue for the county is good especially when you have lost probably millions on this backwards hypocritical idea to start with!!!! Get smashed on Sunday as long as food is served where you are, don't have to buy any, just has to be served, but don't get smashed at home. BS!!

Vito45 11/06/11 - 05:18 pm
It never has been about

It never has been about common sense, we are in the bible belt....

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