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Jonesboro leaders weighing Sunday alcohol sales

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Jonesboro City Council is scheduled to vote next week on whether a referendum on Sunday alcohol sales should be placed on the city's Nov. 8 municipal elections ballot, city leaders have said.

Gov. Nathan Deal, last week, signed into law a bill that allows counties and cities to hold referendums on whether alcohol can be sold within their city or county limits, between 12:30 p.m., and 11:30 p.m., on Sundays.

Up until now, the sale of alcohol on Sundays -- except in licensed eating establishments -- has not been legal.

Jonesboro is joining other cities across the state, who are moving quickly to decide whether a referendum should take place in their communities.

"I think it's an opportunity for the citizens to give their opinion on how they feel about this issue, rather than having elected officials decide for them," said Councilmember Pat Sebo, in an interview on Tuesday. Sebo is pushing for the referendum to be placed on the ballot in November.

At a work session on Monday, the City Council discussed the matter, but Sebo said members will vote on placing the issue on the city's municipal elections ballot, at the council's next business meeting. That next meeting will be held Monday, at 7 p.m., at the Jonesboro Police Station, at 170 South Main Street, in Jonesboro.

"We don't vote on anything at a work session," said Mayor Luther Maddox. "We just discuss the items at the work session, and then, we do all of our voting the next week, at the business meetings, and that gives the public a week to contact their city councilmen and voice their opinions on any particular issue."

If the city council votes to place the referendum on the city ballot, in November, it will join the elections of the city's mayor and three city council seats.

Maddox said placing the referendum on the ballot in November will save the city the cost of calling for, and holding, a separate, special election.

Unlike Sebo, the mayor said he is not taking sides in the fight over whether Sunday alcohol sales are allowed in Jonesboro.

"I'm completely neutral on it," he said. "Whatever the citizens decide they want me to do, I'll go out and do. I think the people ought to decide this, not us [elected officials]."

Sebo said the cities of Woodstock and Loganville have already decided to hold referendums on Sunday alcohol sales. The Dalton Citizen has reported that the Dalton City Council voted Monday night to hold a referendum on the issue as well.