LINDALE (KYTX) - A group calling for the legal sale of beer and wine in the city of Lindale has collected enough signatures to be placed on a ballot, pending verification by Smith County officials.
The Committee for Economic Growth Friday turned in signed petitions calling for a local option election this November to allow limited alcohol sales.
In order to call an election, state law required the group to collect approximately 2,574 signatures of registered voters in Justice Precinct 5, which includes northwestern Smith County and the cities of Hideaway Lake and Lindale.
The petitions were circulated beginning June 12. Smith County Elections officials now have 30 days to verify the signatures. If enough signatures are gathered calling for the election, the Smith County Commissioners Court must order the election for November 2014.
The group asked voters to sign petitions calling for an election to allow:
"the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only." By state law this will only allow beer and wine sold in places like grocery and convenience stores. This law will not allow packaged liquor sales.
"the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only." By state law, stand alone bars, nightclubs or topless clubs cannot open under this law.
Studies show the potential economic impact on Smith County JP 5 could be approximately $13.2 million in annual sales, nearly 130 new jobs, and over $300,000 in new sales tax revenues. This would represent a 14.2% increase from 2013 sales tax revenues for the City of Lindale.
Voters in Smith County's largest city approved alcohol sales for off-premise consumption in November 2012. In that time, alcohol-related crashes have gone down and Tyler's city sales tax revenues have increased significantly.
According to data from the Tyler Police Department, there were 141 alcohol-related crashes in 2012. In 2013, after alcohol was for sale in Tyler stores, there were 113. DUIs have also dropped. The Tyler economy is also booming with a double-digit increase in sales tax revenues and millions of dollars in new construction since 2012.
Whitehouse voters approved alcohol sales in May 2013. Smith County Justice of the Peace Precincts 1, 2, and 4 have all approved alcohol sales for off-premise consumption.