Sale by drink referendum on Nashville ballot - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sale by drink referendum on Nashville ballot

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

NASHVILLE, GA (WALB) - Restaurants in Nashville will know by November 3rd if they'll be allowed to sell mixed drinks to customers.  A sale by drink referendum is on the ballot.

On a $20 bottle of liquor, $1.31 in sales tax is collected by the city according to one bar and restaurant owner.

"On that same bottle of alcohol if we mix it by the drink, that'll collect $20.94 in tax," said Cindy Watson, owner of Cadillac Ranch. "That's 1,500 percent, so for every dollar of liquor sales that's $1500 of sales tax now."

If voters approve the referendum, restaurants will be allowed to sell mixed drinks.  Watson says it would help her and other establishments stay in business, as well as benefit the whole community.

"I think it'll make our community more appealing to smaller casual dining restaurant franchises that would be interested in having a pouring license a lot of times our franchise requirements it's a pre-requisite," said Crissy Staley, Executive Director of the Berrien County Chamber of Commerce.

Nashville has a brown bag ordinance that allows people to bring their own liquor to establishments that will allow it.

"It's very difficult to control customer consumption when a customer can bring in as much alcohol as they would like," said Staley.

Staley says if establishments sell liquor drinks rather than people bringing in their own liquor, it would be easier for servers to cut them off if they've had too much to drink.

Anthony Barber visits Nashville frequently. He's against the referendum.

"It costs the county more money, children dying and people getting killed in wrecks and insurance than taxes we'll get off of it," said Anthony Barber, against the referendum.

He would like to see Berrien County as a completely dry county.

"I'd like to see everyone one in Berrien County, especially the church, get in behind it, and put a stop to all liquor in Berrien County and make it a dry county," said Barber.

Johnny Young says alcohol belongs in one place.

"If you're going to drink, stay at home," said Johnny Young whose against the referendum.

City Clerk Johnny Hall says this referendum has never been on the ballot.

Restaurants in Nashville are currently allowed to serve beer and wine. The Berrien County Board of Elections says only four voters have cast a ballot during early voting.

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