BALLINGER - A Ballinger businessman has submitted a request for a petition for the sale of alcohol and mixed drinks for businesses inside the city limits.

BALLINGER - A Ballinger businessman has submitted a request for a petition for the sale of alcohol and mixed drinks for businesses inside the city limits.

This week, Tyler Smith, applied for a petition to gather signatures for a local option election for the sale of alcohol at local establishments to include, mixed drinks.

The off premise sale of alcohol was approved by voters inside the city limits of Ballinger in 1985. However, there are currently no outlets that are allowed to serve mixed drinks.

Smith said he made the application to get the ball rolling on the local option election

Smith said this measure is long overdue in Ballinger and would help attract visitors to the community, which features as thriving downtown retail environment. A recent survey indicated that 70,000 vehicles drive through Ballinger every day.

“I think it will help the local economy,” Smith said. “We’ve got some great little shops and restaurants here – this is the first step in bringing more businesses here.”

According to Texas Election Code, in order to call the election, a total of 836 signatures of registered voters in the Ballinger must be obtained and verified, which according to the code, is 35 percent of the registered voters in Runnels County who voted in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

According to Jared May of the Texas Legislative Council, the number of registered voters in the City of Ballinger in the 2014 gubernatorial election was 2,388 voters.

“We can only produce an estimate of registered voters for a city,” May said. “The council's estimate of total registered voters within the city of Ballinger for the 2014 general election is: 2,388.”

The supporters of the election will be required to obtain the signatures, then, the names on the petition must be verified. The results must be presented to the commissioner’s court to call the election, according to state law.

The petition will be filed through the office of the City Manager of the City of Ballinger.

Throughout Runnels County, the legal sale of alcohol and mixed drinks varies. The community of Rowena, or JP District 7 passed the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages in 1959. In 1974, the sale of beer was legalized in Miles. Winters, which is in JP District 2, legalized the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption in 2012.

From November to May several nearby municipalities and precincts passed local option elections for the sale of mixed beverages including Baird, Comanche, Ranger and Hamlin. Other local option elections pass for off premise sale of beer and wine in the cities of Blanket, Cross Plains and Graham.

As of August 2016, there were 53 completely wet counties in the State of Texas and seven completely dry counties.

Some supporters of the measure said it could eventually bring a much-needed new hotel chain to the area, since the hotel could include a bar.

In addition, if passed, local restaurants could offer beer, wine and mixed drinks on premise.

“This is the first step in bringing in more local businesses,” Smith said.