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Harlem voters to decide on Sunday packaged alcohol sales on July 31

Monday, March 19, 2012 9:35 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:18 AM
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Harlem officials agreed Monday to let residents decide whether to sell packaged alcohol inside the city on Sundays.

At its monthly meeting, the City Council approved placing a Sunday sales referendum on the July 31 primary election ballot. In January, the council asked City Attorney Barry Fleming to draw up the necessary resolutions to place the referendum on the primary ballot.

The referendum would allow the sale of packaged alcohol at convenience, grocery and package stores from 12:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

The Rev. Rudolph Dixon, a city councilman, said he voted against the referendum because he doesn’t agree with buying alcohol on Sunday.

City Councilman Gregg Stokes, one of the two approving votes, said he doesn’t have strong feelings about the referendum, but said it is fair “to let the voters decide.”

If approved, alcohol sales could begin as early as Aug. 26, the Sunday after the council’s Aug. 20 meeting, where officials would approve the implementing ordinances, Fleming said. But Sunday sales could begin earlier if the council decides to hold a called meeting before Aug. 20.

Columbia County residents also will get to vote on the referendum in the primary election. If approved, county officials have said sales would begin Sept. 2.

Grovetown voters approved the same referendum in November. Sunday sales began in Grovetown in December.

Augusta voters recently approved a similar resolution. The Augusta Commission is expected to approve the associated implementation resolutions today. That would allow establishments to extend their alcohol licenses to sell packaged alcohol on Sundays beginning April 1.

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