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CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER

BURNET —  A county-wide alcohol option will be placed on the November ballot to let voters decide if businesses should have the ability to sell and serve liquor-by-the-drink in unincorporated areas of Burnet County.

Burnet County elections officials on Aug. 19 released that they counted 4,504 valid registered voter signatures collected by Burnet County Committee for Economic Growth.

The group gathered 290 more than required for the election.

The alcohol option petitioners approached a Buda-based consulting firm, Texas Petitions Strategies, which specializes in passing alcohol option ordinances across the state, to advocate for the proposition and assist with the petition process.

The group solicited support from county officials as well as businesses, touting the potential benefits of the alcohol option.

“This offers an opportunity to have uniformity across the county for one rule that applies. As it is now, there are different scenarios for different pockets of the county,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley. “This cleans the slate and makes it such that it’s easier for someone to apply with the (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) to put in that process to have an establishment that offers alcohol by the drink.”

If passed by voters, stores and restaurants in unincorporated areas such as Spicewood and Kingsland (in Burnet County) as well as cities such as Bertram would have the chance to apply for licenses with the TABC to serve liquor for on-premises consumption and, in other cases, expand the types of alcohol allowed in their geographic areas.

“Currently in the Burnet County area, some (justice of the peace) districts are ‘dry.’ Some are ‘wet.’ Some have full alcohol privileges. Some only have beer and wine,” Oakley said.

“Wet” and “dry” refer to the extent an area can serve and sell alcohol for on- and/or off-premises consumption.

Texas Petitions Strategies reported that Burnet County and its cities could see a potential economic impact of about $34.1 million in annual sales, more than 330 area jobs and nearly $771,000 in sales-tax revenues by approving the option.

“I think it’s going to have a positive economic impact,” Oakley said. “It offers an even playing field to enter into that competitive environment.”

Among concerns about the option’s passage is the potential for an increase of alcohol-related issues.

“Within the positive aspects of this, we must all remember the responsibility that comes along with the opportunity to consume alcoholic beverages as it relates to operating motor vehicles,” Oakley said.

Voters will decide during the election Nov. 3.

connie@thepicayune.com

6 thoughts on “Alcohol option makes November ballot in Burnet County

  1. I think this is great! People that are prone to alcohol abuse and making the bad decision to drive after consumption will do so no matter where they choose to drink. Now the distance will just be shorter. Responsible social drinkers however will now also be closer to home. The wonderful thing is the economic opportunity that it brings to the area not to mention a huge increase in tax revenue which benefits everyone including those who choose not to drink.

  2. I know of places sitting to be sold and places that went out of business because of the inequity of the present situation. I believe this will open up business opportunities and the hope of new jobs. As for the increase in alcoholism, if someone is going to drink to excess, they will go and the trip is not that far. I do not believe that this will change anything there.

  3. “Texas Petitions Strategies reported that Burnet County and its cities could see a potential economic impact of about $34.1 million in annual sales, more than 330 area jobs and nearly $771,000 in sales-tax revenues by approving the option.”

    Talk about your pie in the sky projections. I wonder how the county has survived and grown as much as it has without booze sales everywhere. And of course your loyal Chamber (anything for money) folks will support it and downplay any concerns….

  4. Next we’ll start seeing stripper bars in town and on the highways since alcohol sales will be available. Just can’t see the positive impact other than like everything else, all about the money.. with that comes more bad. Just what our hill country needs.. bars, drunken bar fights.. drunk drivers.. look at 6th street in Austin.. coming to a neighborhood near you. Been fine all these years without this option.. hope it doesn’t pass

    1. Comparing the hill country to 6th street is absurd. 6th st is in the middle of a booming metro area with over a million people only blocks away from a huge University. That doesn’t describe the hill country in any way. If you don’t like drinking that freedom is afforded to you in this great country but comparing this area to sixth street is like comparing apples and kiwis.

  5. That’s what we need, more places for drunks to fill up in. All that economic surplus can be put to use paying for the the victims of the drunk drivers. I am sure the money will take the place of their loved ones.

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