Customers wanting to buy mixed drinks on Sundays in Dawsonville will have to wait at least until March. The Dawsonville City Council voted Monday to postpone placing an alcohol referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The action came after members of the Dawson County Board of Elections shared concerns that having two separate elections on the same day would create confusion and long lines for voters.
If voters have to stand in one line to vote in the presidential election, then go stand in another line to vote on Sunday sales of alcohol, some voters will just leave, said Glenda Ferguson, chairperson of the board.
Also addressing the council was Charlie Vincent, secretary of the Board of Elections, who said the council did not meet a federal law that requires the Department of Justine receive a 60-day preclearance notice prior to place a new item on any election ballot.
This election board wants to do whats right, and I couldnt personally certify this election if you decide to allow it, he said.
Vincent and Ferguson also cited concerns about how their small staff would handle two separate elections, plus issues of space and equipment that would need to be shared. In March, well only have one issue on the ballot and it will be easier for people, Ferguson said.
The next available date for a special election is Tuesday, March 19, according the City Attorney Dana Miles.
After hearing arguments from the board for postponing the referendum, Council member Jason Power made a motion to postpone. Angie Smith seconded the motion, and the postponement was approved. Council member Chris Gaines was not present for the vote.
Two businesses in downtown Dawsonville will be impacted: El Rio Mexican Restaurant on Hwy. 9 and Fajita Grill on Hwy. 53.
El Rio Restaurant Owner, Homero Sanchez, isnt sure yet what impact the decision has on his restaurant.
On Sundays, we only sell beer and wine. Some customers are unaware of the current (alcohol) ordinance and will come and ask for mixed drinks, but we have to turn them down, and they leave upset, Sanchez said. We wont know the impact the ordinance will have on local businesses until it is put into place. We may or may not get more business on Sundays. We wont know until then.
Arthur Macias, Jr. owner of the Fajita Grill could not be reached for comment.
Neither business owner attended Mondays council meeting. Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan believes postponing was a good decision.
I think well have a better turn-out of voters in March, and theyll be less confusion with only one item on the ballot, he said. Ferguson agreed.
On behalf of the Board of Elections, we are very pleased with the decision that the city council has made. The citizens of Dawsonville, as well as Dawson County, will be better served by this vote, she said.
Other city council items that were approved: Council member Chris Gaines will be the citys new Mayor Pro Tem Payment for a three year drinking water contract City millage rate was rolled back to zero from 11.773 Taxation training class for Mayor Grogan, Sept. 21 Training course in Writing Financial Policies for Bonnie Warne, Sept. 18 Georgia Rural Water Annual Conference for Mayor Grogan, Gary Barr, Russ Chambers, Oct. 28-30