While no vote was taken Monday night, Dawsonville’s city council doesn’t seem to be sold on the idea of Sunday alcohol sales at stores.
A bill signed recently by Gov. Nathan Deal allows communities to decide whether to put the issue before voters in a referendum.
Mayor Joe Lane Cox told the council it’s “left up to each county and city whether or not they want to vote on it ...whatever y’all’s pleasure is.”
All four councilmen said they would not be in favor of such a code change.
Mayor Pro Tem James Grogan sought clarification from the city attorney.
“So, what we’re saying is we’re not going to give the citizens a chance to decide one way or the other if they want this or not?” he asked.
Attorney Dana Miles said the mayor “didn’t want to be spending money on figuring out legally what you need to do if y’all aren’t even interested in calling a referendum.”
The Sunday sales legislation passed this spring after five years of stalling amid pressure from religious groups and the threat of veto from then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Many restaurants and bars in Georgia already sell alcohol by the drink on Sunday.
The new law would let voters decide whether to allow package sales at grocery and convenience stores.
However, local governments must first agree to put the measure on the ballot.
Just two states, Connecticut and Indiana, still have statewide bans on Sunday alcohol sales.
Dawson County Commissioner Gary Pichon said this week that from the county’s standpoint, there is “a business case to be made for Sunday alcohol sales.”
“If neighboring counties decide to do it and we don’t, all people have to do is go down the road [to buy alcohol],” Pichon said.
The Dawson County commission has not formally discussed the possibility of holding a referendum on Sunday alcohol sales, but Pichon said he would likely support it.
“If somebody were to bring it to the board and say what are we going to do about it ... I would probably vote for it,” Pichon said.
“But there’s nothing hot on my plate. Nobody’s been calling me about it. I suppose every county in the state will be looking at it soon.”
Neighboring Forsyth County and the city of Cumming have both indicated that they may hold a referendum on the matter in November.
The city of Gainesville in Hall County has done the same.
Carolyn Crist of the DCN regional staff contributed to this report.