Issue: Legalizing the sale of mixed drinks at retail establishments in Ballinger.
Local impact: The legalization of the sale of mixed drinks would allow local restaurants to serve alcohol.

BALLINGER – Petitions were officially turned in Friday that call for a local option election allowing the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks in establishments in Ballinger.

In early June, 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.

What does this do for the community? Smith and other supporters say this will open up the opportunities for new businesses to come to Ballinger, and it will also create tax revenue to help the city with infrastructure.

Smith reported Monday that well over the required number of 205 signatures were turned in to City Secretary Bonita Shields by the deadline, which was Friday at 4:30 p.m.

According to the Texas Secretary of State, the city secretary is responsible for verifying the signatures and making sure they are registered voters in the City of Ballinger.

“The city secretary is responsible for verifying the signatures in all city local option liquor elections,” according to Section 501.031 of the Secretary of State’s Local Option Liquor Election articles.

The verified petitions will be presented at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 7.

The election must be ordered 78 days before Nov. 7, so in this case, by Aug. 25.

The petitions were placed at local businesses right after July 4 and 205 signatures had to be turned in by Friday, July 21 for the election to be called. The signatures had to be turned in by Friday so that the issue can be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot, according to Runnels County Clerk Julia Miller.

Smith said the rush was on late last week to get the number of signatures on the petition. He and Brian Hallmark gathered signatures from folks in front of the Shoppin’ Baskit and Amanda Collum, owner of Brady Bunch Boutique, went out and gathered signatures.

“We are feeling good about it, we got well over the required number just to be safe,” Smith said.

Smith said he has heard little opposition to the proposal.

“Everyone is excited about this,” Smith said. “It gives business owners the option to do new things and it will bring business in to town if it gets passed.”

According to Texas Election Code, in order to call the election, a total of 205 signatures of registered voters in Ballinger must be obtained and verified, which according to the code, is 35 percent of the registered voters in Ballinger who voted in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

The petitions were placed in several retail outlets including Brady Bunch Boutique, Cason’s Mercantile, Texas Venue, Main Street Soda Fountain, Gonzales Restaurant, Alejandra’s and Acapulco.

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 alcohol or mixed drinks except the Ballinger Country Club where a membership is required.

Smith said approving the measure will bring in more tax revenue to city coffers.

“Ten percent of the mixed drink sales will go to the city and could help with infrastructure like repairing the streets,” Smith said.