City of Center local option liquor issue could be on November ballot

Petitions to be circulated to put issue before city's voters

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, with support of the City of Center, is applying for a petition to gather signatures for a local option liquor election to make legal the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only.

If the petition drive is successful, the issue could be placed on the November general election ballot to allow registered voters inside Center to cast ballots on the issue.

What this means is that only full service restaurants will have the option to serve mixed beverages without a membership fee should the option pass the election, according to a press release from the chamber. This will apply to residents and restaurants within Center city limits only.

In Texas, there are more than 1,000 private clubs in operation today. These are actually bars and restaurants that operate as private clubs in order to serve alcohol. These clubs require customers to purchase a membership in order to buy alcoholic beverages. The clubs pay additional fees to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).

The Chamber of Commerce will apply for a petition to make it easier for restaurants with a food and beverage certificate to sell alcohol.

The Business Development Committee of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce initiated the conversation regarding this election with the hopes of encouraging our local restaurants to offer more beverage options to customers thus improving revenue as well as resulting in added sales tax revenue to the City.

The Committee feels the addition of mixed beverage service to restaurants will result in a changed economic development perception of Center and an ability to recruit talented individuals who value modern amenities like alcohol purchases. The addition of mixed beverage service to restaurants should also encourage new restaurants to open.

When we go out of town to have a meal with drinks that is substantial revenue that could go to our local businesses and tax revenue that would stay at home.

This is a small step in helping existing businesses grow and attracting new businesses. If business can’t prosper and grow, the city can’t prosper and grow. We will be investing in ourselves. Vote growth, according to the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.