Voters to Decide Sunday Package Alcohol Sales
Snellville City Council passed a resolution allowing the referendum on the November ballot.
Snellville voters will now have the chance to decide whether grocery and similar stores within city limits can sell alcohol on Sunday.
In a unanimous 5-0 vote, Snellville City Council passed a resolution to add the referendum to the November 8 ballot. During the election, citizens will decide whether they want Sunday retail sales of malt beverages and wine, and they will also vote on a new mayor and two council seats, Post 1 and 2.
Because the referendum vote is taking place during an election year, there is no additional cost for taxpayers to hold a special election for alcohol sales.
If more than half of voters decide for the alcohol referendum, then Sunday sales in grocery stores and the like could begin as early as November 12. Sales would be from 12:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Council members emphasized that their vote was not an indication of how they feel about Sunday package alcohol sales, but their duty to give voters a chance to decide for themselves. Councilman Tom Witts made the motion for the referendum, and councilwoman Kelly Kautz seconded.
"Whether I'm for or against the actual thing is inmaterial," Witts said. "This is a freedom issue. This is the right of the people on what they want."
Kautz added that she also was for the referendum because of its ability to give citizens decision power.
"I've always kept my personal views on whether you should drink or purchase alcohol on Sunday to myself," she said. "I feel like as an official, I try not to put those out there in the public, but I do believe in the freedom of choice and freedom to vote and citizens having a voice."
Several council members, however, have indicated what their opinion is on the idea. Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer has said that he is for the referendum, in part so Snellville businesses can continue to compete with the county and surrounding areas.
At Monday evening's meeting, councilman Mike Sabbagh, who agreed that the referendum is for the public to be heard, re-iterated that he is personally against the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
"But, if it happen(ed) to be a vote by council, I definitely would have said no to that," he said.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 10 earlier this year allowing municipalities to decide. Already Lilburn, Loganville and Duluth, among others, have decided to take the measure to the voters.
The actual ordinance regarding Sunday package sales will have its first reading on August 8, and then its second reading on August 22, according to the mayor. The ordinance will only go into effect if a majority of voters choose "yes" for the referendum in November.