Keene group supports alcohol sales
A group of citizens and property owners announced the formation of the Economic Growth Committee to ask voters to support limited alcohol sales in the city limits of Keene.
The group consists of residents, business and community leaders, read a the press release from the group, which is asking registered voters to sign a petition calling for an election in May 2018.
The petition, read the release, will allow a vote for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only – limiting sales of beer and wine to places like grocery stores and convenience stores, the release read.
By Texas law, this will not allow sales in bars, nightclubs or package liquor stores, read the release.
“Since the last election nearly 10 years ago, Keene citizens have witnessed Burleson, Cleburne, Alvarado, Grandview, Joshua, and Godley approve the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores – virtually making Keene the ‘dry’ doughnut hole surrounded by ‘wet’ communities,” noted business owner and supporter, James Wright. “If this passes, we may finally be able to recruit a grocery store to Keene. After all, why would a store come where it is ‘dry,’ when they can go down the road in any direction, build a store and sell beer and wine?”
Local realtor and committee leader Samantha Gillin agrees.
“For me, this is an economic and tax revenue issue,” noted Gillin. “Keene is not ‘dry’ for consumption of beer and wine—only the local sale. Keene citizens are driving to Cleburne, Alvarado or Burleson every day to buy beer and wine and when that happens, Keene citizens lose. Based on our surrounding population, Keene could gain more than $3.2 million in additional retail sales. Why shouldn’t we keep that money and tax revenues in Keene to pay for our roads, our law enforcement, and our parks?"
Since the law regarding local control of alcohol sales was passed in 2003, over 500 cities and communities in Texas have changed their laws to “balance the playing field” and keep tax money supporting their local businesses, read the release.
In 2008, Texas economist Ray Perryman issued a report documenting the impact legalization of alcohol sales have on a community, according to the release.
“The alcoholic beverage industry is an important contributor to the state economy, supporting some $36.6 billion in total annual spending and more than 300,000 jobs,” noted Perryman in his report, read the release.
Based on the study, a community the size of Keene could realize $3.2 million in annual sales, create more than 30 new jobs and more than $75,000 a year in additional local sales tax revenue, according to the release.
“Citizens of Keene are being asked to sign the petition so they can have an election in May of next year,” noted business leader Dan Griffin, who also worked bring an HEB to Granbury. “State law allows 60 days to gather nearly 300 signatures and we are confident the people of Keene will support this effort.”
The group has until December 26 to obtain those signatures. Only those who live inside the city limits are eligible to sign the petition. If enough signatures are gathered, the city council will be required to order the election for May 2018, read the release.
The group has hired Texas Petition Strategies of Austin to conduct the petition drive and election campaign. TPS employees, identified by yellow shirts, will be canvassing neighborhoods going door to door to gather signatures, read the release.