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Early voting underway for liquor by the drink

Early voting is now underway for a referendum that will allow Holmes County residents to vote on whether to approve the sale of liquor by the drink.

The Holmes County Development Commission is spearheading the effort to change the current ordinance, which allows sales of alcohol over 6.243 percent alcohol by volume by the package only.

If passed, the measure will allow restaurants that derive more than 51 percent of revenue from food sales and have available seating for 150 or more in at least 2,500 square ft. may obtain a special license to sell beer, wine, and liquor for consumption on premise. HCDC officials emphasize that a vote for liquor by the drink is not a vote for allowing more bars in the county.

“Other factors, such as zoning requirements and setbacks from schools and churches will still apply,” said HCDC Executive Director Joe Rone. “This is simply an effort to attract more restaurants and other businesses.”

Eber Overly, Pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church, says while he know the goal of passing the measure is economic development, he is worried it may come at too high a price.

“I understand the referendum is to bring revenue into our county because we can get more restaurants, but when is the cost too high to bring in revenue in such a way?” asked Overly. “When someone’s mother, father or child gets hit and killed by someone who has had too much to drink – when we voted for it and didn’t vote to stop it – I feel the cost is too high to even take that risk.”

Election Day is Thursday, April 28.

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