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Noah Williams cast his ballot in the Grovetown municipal election at Grovetown Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011.

Grovetown voters approve Sunday sale of alcohol

Posted: November 5, 2011 - 11:01pm  |  Updated: November 9, 2011 - 2:45am

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Grovetown voters elected Tuesday to make the city the only local place to buy packaged alcohol on Sundays.

The referendum, which passed with 59.91 percent of the votes, allows package, grocery and convenience stores to sell packaged malted liquor and distilled liquor to include beer, wine and liquor on Sunday.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation in April allowing local governments to make the decision about Sunday sales in stores from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

But merchants can’t immediately take advantage of Sunday alcohol sales.

“It means that we’ll have to now do an ordinance,” said Mayor George James, who ran unopposed on the ballot for his second four-year term.

James expects the ordinance and the required two public readings to conclude by early 2012.

The mayor said he doesn’t expect Sunday sales to be a big revenue-maker for the city, but it might draw a few extra customers from surrounding areas, where packaged alcohol sales isn’t allowed on Sundays.

Harlem officials opted not to put the referendum on their municipal ballot. The issue has not been presented to voters in Augusta and Columbia County as neither held elections Tuesday.

“There’s nowhere else that sells it,” Councilwoman Jennifer Jones, said. “People might come out here on Sunday to buy (alcohol) if they just really want it.”

Jones, who retained her position on the Grovetown City Council with 352 votes, was one of three people vying for the two available seats. She served one year after filling the unexpired term when former city councilmen Barry Davis and Robert Newman resigned in January. Jones will begin her first four-year term in January.

Dale Stoddard, brother of current City Council member Bruce Stoddard, won the second seat with 168 votes.

In Harlem, incumbent City Councilman Tom Blalock, who has served nearly eight years on the council, earned another term with 163 votes. Assistant Fire Chief Gregg Stokes was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Robin Root with 186 votes.

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