Tift Countians prepare for liquor vote - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tift Countians prepare for liquor vote

November 1, 2004

Tifton- In battleground states the question may be Bush or Kerry, but here in Tift County its yes or no on whether city and county governments should issue licenses to sell liquor by the drink. Proponents say a yes vote means more jobs and new businesses.

"We have talked to any number of nationally franchised restaurants all of whom have said without an option of mixed drinks we're not on their checklist," says Greg Brosius.

Brosius heads the Tift Area Hospitality Association. He says by voting yes Tifton and Tift County will be able to recover taxes and revenue lost by those who pass up area hotels, conference centers, and restaurants.

"You can buy liquor from any place fairly close to here and for years many establishments poured liquor, so we believe that we should bring this above board, have the ability to tax it, have the ability to get what benefits we can from it," says Brosius.

"I think it needs to be verified who are these people that are passing up Tifton. Is there someone somewhere taking a poll on the interstate with a little clipboard that says ah, that person would have stopped if we had liquor. I think once again that's just sort of an empty kind of statement," says Pastor Fred Evers.

Evers is just one of more than two dozen pastors spearheading the vote no campaign. he says voting no could actually help local governments save money.

"If you look at it on a national and state level the taxes that are raised from alcohol sales they look huge but when you begin to see all the money that it costs to take care of the alcohol related problems, it's just not worth it," Evers says.

But it will up to the rest of Tift County voters to decide if they agree.

Because the city and county have separate referenda, it's possible one could pass and not the other. Residents living outside of the city limits will vote on just the one designated for Tift County, while those who live in the city of Tifton will vote on both.

Posted at 5:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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