Will Tifton residents get liquor vote? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Will Tifton residents get liquor vote?

August 9, 2004

Tifton-- It's pitted Tift County churches and business owners against each other. Pastors say keeping Tifton and Tift County dry is the moral thing to do, but hotels and restaurants say its hurting their profits.

Will the voters get to decide?

The new Fairfield Inn isn't open yet, but the owner says he's worried about how it will do. "We turn people away everyday, who come up and down the Interstate, who want to stop and have a meal, and a mixed drink," said Greg Jacobs. "That's the way it is right, now, and from a business standpoint, we feel it's economics."

Marriott Manager Lynda Washington says she's tired of visitors going to other cities. "It's pure economics. We could do more if we had the tax from that drink, from those alcohol sales, that's going to other counties."

Nearly 2,400 people have signed petitions against putting a referendum on the November ballot allowing alcohol. But hotel owners say it's wrong to prevent voters from deciding. "I belive God was with our founding fathers when the wrote the Declaration of Independence, and Constitution setting the framework of the country, and I believe the people should have the right to vote," said Jacobs.

Mayor Paul Johnson wouldn't say how he'd vote, but believes in letting voters have their say. "That's what Democracy is all about, and I am mayor for all the people," said Johnson. "I'd hate to be in a situation where the people can't be heard. We've got young people in Iraq right now, fighting for one of the very basic freedoms."

Tift County voters will have an answer tonight. A smoking ordinance is also on the table, but it has taken a back seat to the liquor issue.

We'll have more from tonight's meeting and tell at 11:00 you how city and county leaders voted.

posted at 6:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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