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Hall may fit Sunday sales question onto 2012 ballot
Board says question will go before voters at some point
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Hall County will see a vote on Sunday alcohol sales, but the Board of Commissioners wants it to coincide with an already-scheduled election.

This means the referendum question likely won’t come before voters until 2012.

“I don’t want to pay for a special election, but I want to put it on the ballot,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

At the May 12 commission meeting, Commissioner Ashley Bell asked fellow commissioners to consider holding a vote in conjunction with municipal elections on Nov. 8, but the group decided Monday to postpone the vote so it won’t be an additional cost to the county.

“If we held the vote in November, that would be a special election that wouldn’t be in conjunction with the cities,” said Susan Rector, the county’s business license director. “That would be about $45,000.”

The next possible election is the presidential preference primary. The date hasn’t yet been set but could fall in February.
Interim Elections Director Charlotte

Sosebee will learn additional information about Sunday sales votes and the 2012 election cycle during a conference this week, Rector added.

“If you want to do this, the information would need to be in to her by September to be on the presidential preference ballot,” Rector said.

On May 12, Bell told fellow commissioners he would like to talk about the question at a future work session so “anyone who wants to give comment on the issue can come to the commission meeting and speak on it.”

No residents showed up Monday to comment.

The board agreed to move forward with the idea once the election date is determined. Commissioner Craig Lutz noted he still isn’t sure whether he supports the referendum question.

“If Flowery Branch and Gainesville are going to have it, we might as well,” Chairman Tom Oliver said.

Last week, the Gainesville and Flowery Branch city councils approved the referendum question, which will go on the Nov. 8 ballot, setting the hours of sale for 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Oakwood City Council will consider a resolution at its next council meeting on June 13.

City and county governments statewide have wrestled with the issue since April 28, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed the measure into law in a private ceremony with a handful of state legislators.

The law, which gives governments the option of putting the issue before voters, passed this year after five years of stalling amid pressure from religious groups and a veto threat from former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Many restaurants and bars in Georgia already sell alcohol on Sunday. The new law would let voters approve the sales by grocery and convenience stores.

Customers can buy alcohol in Hall County restaurants and businesses, such as grocery and convenience stores, every day except Sunday.

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