But it will not be the last time council members vote to put Sunday alcohol sales back on the ballot.
Following the special election, when the Fort Oglethorpe council grows to four members, mayor Lynn Long said he plans to have the council vote again on the issue.
“Ya'll probibly know I put that (the motion) on the agenda,” council member Earl Gray said during the council’s Monday, Jan. 28, meeting. “A lot has happened since the last time (the city voted on Sunday beer sales).”
“(We need Sunday beer sales) in order to be competitive with the city of Ringgold,” Gray said “I wish we could outlaw all of it (alcohol) but we can't.”
Gray pointed out that major restaurants and hotels would be more likely to locate in Fort Oglethorpe if the city allowed beer to be sold on Sunday.
But the real push for alcohol sales on Sunday came a few days later when Long discovered a property owner with 42 acres of commercial property along Batllefield Parkway requesting to be de-annexed from the city.
When Gray’s motion for Sunday package sales and for alcohol consumption on Sunday died at the last council meeting, a huge controversy began to stir within the city, according to Long
Almost a week after the Jan. 28 council meeting Long reconsidered his stance on Sunday alcohol sales.
“I think it needs to be on the ballot in November,” Long said. “It’s really that simple — give the citizens the chance to vote and find out for sure what the people want.”
The city’s last election to allow Sunday beer sales was held in November 2011. Voters turned it down by a slim margin. At the time citizens were only voting for package sales. The recent referendum for electors was for package sales and for consumption. Ringgold and unincorporated Catoosa County both allow alcohol sales on Sunday.
Mitul Patel, owner of Beverage World in Fort Oglethorpe, pleaded with the council to allow another election, saying the city is missing out on revenue and allowing Ringold and Catoosa County to reap the profits.
“My store is across from a store in the county,” Patel told the council. “Our sales went down 50 percent and I had to let someone go. We have to change — or do something else, like move out of the city. It's in your hands.”
The comments from business owners and citizens, saying they want to leave, will be the driving force for council members to vote again to put Sunday alcohol sales on the ballot.
“I don’t want businesses in the city saying they don’t want to be here,” Long said. “I want happy businesses and citizens who say they want to be here. The council has to make an effort. I have heard the pros and cons. The best way is to let them (the voters) go to the polls.”
A larger-than-usual crowd attended the Jan. 28 meeting, apparently to make known their desire for another vote on Sunday beer sales.