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Sunday sales vote could cost Atlanta | News

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Sunday sales vote could cost Atlanta
Sunday sales vote could cost Atlanta

ATLANTA -- A debate over retail sales of alcohol on Sundays erupted during Monday's Atlanta City Council meeting.

The council voted Sept. 6 to put local-option legislation passed by the General Assembly on the November election ballot. If Atlanta residents vote yes, supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores would be allowed to sell beer, wine and liquor on Sundays.

At the time, council members believed the referendum could be put on the ballot at little or no cost to the city because there was going to be an election anyway.

But since then, the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections has informed the city that its services in conducting the referendum won't be free.

Monday's debate was the second such incident in three weeks.

The council voted 9-1 to pay the county up to $17,050 for the Sunday sales vote, but not before Councilman C.T. Martin objected to rushing forward with a referendum he said had not received enough public input.

"This has been on a fast track ever since it got to us," he said. "We are expending $17,000 in taxpayers' money for something we don't know their position on."

But Councilman Alex Wan, who sponsored the ordinance, said the speed with which the council considered Sunday sales was prompted by the deadline for getting the referendum on the ballot, not by any attempt to "railroad" it to passage.

Wan said the Nov. 8 vote will tell council members all they need to know about what the public thinks about the issue.

"This is the ultimate public input," he said.