Work to be done before Sunday sales start
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Voters approved Sunday alcohol sales in Coweta County and the City of Grantville July 31, but don’t expect to be raising a glass or grabbing a six pack on Sunday just yet — there’s still a little more work to do.
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners and the Grantville City Council now have to make changes to their existing ordinances to provide for Sunday sales.
The election is set to be certified on Friday. Once that is done, the commissioners can take action on ordinance changes, according to Patricia Palmer, Coweta’s public affairs director.
The commissioners will have to come to an agreement on the details of the ordinance changes, including determining the hours of by-the-drink sales on Sundays.
If all goes well, restaurants and stores in unincorporated Coweta could start selling as soon as Sunday, Aug. 12.
Two separate votes were held for unincorporated Coweta — Sunday by-the-drink sales in restaurants and Sunday package sales of beer and wine in stores.
In Grantville, there were three questions: adding “distilled spirits” to the beer and wine that Grantville restaurants already can serve; allowing Sunday sales of drinks in restaurants; and allowing Sunday package sales of beer, wine and liquor.
Restaurant sales can take effect as soon as the Grantville City Council takes action on an ordinance amendment. The next council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Package sales could be delayed because of problems with the ballot language.
The Grantville package referendum was supposed to be for Sunday sales of malt beverages (beer), wine, and distilled spirits (liquor). Although the ballot’s preamble indicated that was the vote, actual ballot language listed only malt beverages and wine, not distilled spirits.
The omission could cause a problem because ballot preambles have no force of law, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
“The preambles are usually prepared as a way of explaining ballot language. However, they are only for the purposes of explanation,” said Jared Thomas, press secretary for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Thomas said determining how the ballot problems affect package sales in Grantville will be made by the Georgia Department of Revenue, which has jurisdiction over alcohol sales.
The state law that allowed Sunday package sales, Senate Bill 10, contains specific language which should go on the ballot.
There are separate sections and ballot language for jurisdictions that sell liquor, and for those that sell beer and wine only.
Grantville’s ballot language is the same as that for jurisdictions that only sell beer and wine. State law further states that any governing authority that currently allows sales of liquor and wants Sunday sales must seek authorization for “all alcoholic beverages, including malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits, and not of only one type of alcoholic beverage.”