Sunday alcohol sales OK'd

Sunday alcohol sales OK'd

November 7th, 2012 by Tim Omarzu in News

In Ringgold, Ga., and the unincorporated areas of Catoosa County, voters approved by-the-glass Sunday sales of beer, wine and distilled spirits and package sales of beer and wine -- but no hard liquor.

That means Fort Oglethorpe is now the county's only "dry" city on Sunday.

"I felt really confident it would pass," Catoosa County Commission Chairman Keith Greene said. "People of this county want a change."

Greene predicts voters' approval of Sunday sales will help attract restaurants that will generate revenue for the county.

"That's one thing that's kept a lot of upscale restaurants from coming to Catoosa County," Greene said. "We've had restaurants saying that they are willing to come, and what was holding them back was alcohol sales."

The Rev. Neal Brown of Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Fort Oglethorpe helped defeat a Sunday sales referendum in Fort Oglethorpe last year -- but churches weren't successful this time around in Ringgold and the unincorporated county.

"We did not have a large budget to operate on," Brown said Monday.

The churches' campaign leading up to Tuesday's election included such things as bulletins inside church newsletters and use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

"A handful of us decided we were going to take a stand," Brown said. "We want to do what the Ten Commandments say. One of them is to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."

Catoosa County doesn't have any bars now, and the new ordinances won't allow them, said County Attorney C. Chad Young.

"A significant amount of the business has to be from food sales; it can't be a bar," Young said.

Sunday sales probably will be permitted after 12:30 p.m. The new law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, in Catoosa County.

In Pikeville, Tenn., voters approved package sales of liquor and liquor by the drink. In Graysville, Tenn., voters defeated a liquor-by-the-drink referendum.

In Etowah, Tenn., voters approved liquor by the drink and package sales in the city.

Vote totals do not include federally mandated provisional ballots and are unofficial until certified by the secretary of state's office.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.