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Sunday sales a possibility
Vote could be in November
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It appears Dawsonville residents will get to decide in November whether to allow package sales of alcohol at stores in the city on Sundays.

In a rare 3-2 decision, two Dawsonville city councilmen and Mayor Joe Lane Cox voted Monday night to hold the referendum.

Cox, who only votes in case of a tie, said he was in favor of the matter "because I think the citizens have a right to vote on this."

A bill signed last month by Gov. Nathan Deal allows communities to decide whether to put the issue before voters.

At a May 2 city council meeting, all four councilmen said they would not be in favor of such a code change.

Two councilmen later changed their stance at a special called May 24 meeting.

Councilman James Grogan said the council should "give residents the opportunity to decide for themselves."

Councilman Mike Sosebee felt the same way.

"It should be up to them. If they want it, that's fine, or if they don't, that's fine," Sosebee said.

Councilmen Calvin Byrd and Mike Wilson still weren't sold on Sunday sales.

"I'm still going to hold my ground on this," Wilson said.

Byrd echoed the remark.

"I understand both sides, but I'm going to stay where I was with the first [discussion]," he said.

Prior to the vote, Cox addressed his fellow officials.

"I haven't seen anybody anywhere that's not going to allow people to vote on this," Cox said. "In my opinion - and I don't get a vote unless there's a tie - we ought to let the people decide.

"Myself, I don't drink, and I'll vote against it [on the referendum]. But I think we ought to give people the right to make that choice."

Officials with Dawson County government have voiced general support of holding a referendum, but may not put it on a ballot until 2012.

Mike Berg, chairman of the county commission, said holding a special election in 2011 to vote for Sunday alcohol sales could cost the government $15,000.

Putting it on the ballot during the regular primary election in August 2012 would save money, Berg said.

Unlike the county, the city has a scheduled election this year.

On Nov. 8, two city council seats and the mayor's post are up. All incumbents have said they will seek re-election.

Officials in many neighboring counties and cities have indicated they may soon hold a referendum on the Sunday sales matter.