LAFAYETTE, Ga. — Wine and beer sales in Walker County begin in two weeks.
Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield held a public hearing on an amendment to the county's alcohol ordinance Thursday, the first of two he will hold before changing the law. He expects to pass the amendment, approved by voters on a November referendum, on Dec. 27. The first Sunday the law will take effect will be Dec. 30.
As part of the "Brunch Bill" passed through the state Legislature this year, the county will allow restaurants to sell glasses of wine, beer or liquor beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Voters approved the change on a referendum in a 12,876-8,220 vote.
Stores also will be able to sell wine or beer on Sundays beginning at 12:30 p.m. Voters approved that item on a referendum, 13,036-7,878.
The restaurant owners of Phibbs Bar & Grill and Pie Slingers Pizzeria, both in Rock Spring, have previously told the Times Free Press they plan to open for brunch with the new law in effect. So did the owner of the Pigeon Mountain Grill, located in Kensington.
"We've really been wanting to be open on Sunday, for no other reason than to be able to provide more for the county," said Jason Phibbs, owner of Phibbs Bar & Grill. "Everyone has to go a far distance just to get brunch and Bloody Marys, a place to kick back on Sunday before Monday starts."
The change in Walker County follows in step with that in the LaFayette city limits, where the council unanimously approved Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants and stores Monday. Voters approved the changes on referendums in November, and the change takes effect there today.
Whitfield also accepted $78,000 from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in reimbursement for expenses on the county's landfill.
The expenses go back to 2010, landfill manager Paine Gilley said. The county first applied for the funding in 2009. The county is eligible to receive reimbursements for landfill work from the state's hazardous waste trust fund. But county workers haven't applied for the money in about eight years.
"After 2010, the applications just stopped," Gilley said.
Whitfield said county employees went through past expenses, finding evidence they could provide to the EPD for reimbursement.
"Any of these type things, where we can get grants like we've been doing recently, getting these reimbursements and things, helps us down the road," he said.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.