LINDALE — Petitions for the sale of beer and wine are officially circulating in Smith County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5.
The move by the Committee for Economic Growth was kicked off in a press conference Thursday at The Fatt Apple Catering, 104 N. Main St. in Lindale, where the city’s former mayor and committee member Jim Mallory ceremoniously signed the two petitions.
Precinct 5 is the northwestern portion of the county including the cities of Lindale and Hideaway Lake as well as the communities of Mount Sylvan, Swan and Garden Valley.
The committee is following precincts 1, 2 and 4 to pass two alcohol options. One is for the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption, and the other is the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants using a food and beverage certificate.
The petition needs 2,574 signatures within 30 days to put the options on the November ballot, and the committee faces a July 11 deadline to allow time to have the signatures verified and the election called by the Smith County Commissioners Court.
Jim Mallory, former mayor of Lindale and committee member, said the move is purely a business decision.
“We have lost a lot of sales that are not related directly to alcohol because people can go to Mineola, they go to Van or Tyler, and they buy other things while they are buying their bottle of wine,” Mallory said. “In my opinion, every business in this area, in our precinct, will have some positive impact directly or indirectly, and that’s why, if you really look at this from a business standpoint, it’s very important.”
The precinct could stand to lose $132 million in annual sales, 130 new jobs and more than $300,000 in sales tax revenues if residents continue to go elsewhere for beer and wine, according to a study conducted by Texas Petition Strategies, which specializes in alcohol elections and laws. The company estimates a 14.2 percent revenue increase if the measures are passed.
Proponents said drinking and driving accidents would decrease with the increased availability of alcohol.
In Tyler, before beer and wine hit shelves, there were 141 alcohol-related crashed in 2012, according to Tyler Police Department records. That number dropped to 113 in 2013 after voters approved the measures.
Darla Sanders, owner of the Fatt Apple and committee member, said she supports the options for economic reasons. Lindale residents voted down similar measures in 2005, but she said she thinks the town is ready.
“I think the failure in the past was because it was citywide, it wasn’t precinctwide,” she said. “In the city we have about 5,000 people, and in the precinct we have 17,000 registered voters. … I think once all stats are out, which they are, I think the people will get educated about this and it will make a big difference.”
PLACES TO SIGN
Locations will rotate throughout the 30-day signature collection time. Petition officials in yellow shirts will be at participating businesses and going door to door to gather signatures.
Oasis Valero, 14773 Texas 110 North
Exxon, 21126 Interstate 20 West
Shamrock – Tyler Fuel Plaza, 3512 S. Main St., Lindale
Shell Station, 12108 Interstate 20 West
Bo’s Steak & Grill, 3405 S. Main St, Lindale
The Fatt Apple Catering, 104 N. Main St., Lindale
I-20 Team Real Estate, 17056 Interstate 20, Lindale
Chili’s Bar and Grill, 3201 S. Main St., Lindale