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Harlem puts Sunday sales on ballot

Posted: March 20, 2012 - 9:00am  |  Updated: March 21, 2012 - 12:09am

Harlem officials agreed Monday to let residents decide whether to sell packaged alcohol inside the city on Sunday.

At the monthly city council meeting, they approved placing a Sunday sales referendum on the ballot in the July 31 primary election. In January, they asked City Attorney Barry Fleming to draw up the necessary resolutions to place the referendum on the primary ballot.

The referendum would allow the sale of packaged alcohol at convenience, grocery and package stores from 12:30-11z;30 p.m. on Sunday.

The Rev. Rudolph Dixon, a city councilman, said he voted against the referendum not for religious reasons, but that he doesn’t agree with buying alcohol on Sunday.

City Councilman Gregg Stokes, one of the two approving votes, said he doesn’t have strong feelings about the referendum, but said it is fair “to let the voters decide.”

If approved, alcohol sales could begin as early as Aug. 26, the Sunday after the council’s Aug. 20 monthly meeting, where officials are expected to approve the implementing ordinances, Fleming said. Sunday sales could begin earlier if the council holds a called meeting before the scheduled Aug. 20 meeting.

Columbia County residents also will get to vote on the referendum in the primary election. If approved, county officials have said sales would begin Sept. 2.

Grovetown voters approved the same referendum in November. Sunday sales began in Grovetown on Christmas day.

Augusta voters recently approved a similar resolution. City officials were expected to approve the associated implementation resolutions today. That would allow establishments to extend their alcohol licenses to sell it on Sunday.

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