Arp residents soon could buy alcohol in the city limits after voters approved two propositions, including one that would allow the sale of alcohol and mixed beverages.
Out of 140 total voters, 79, or 56 percent, voted for Proposition A, to allow the sale of alcohol and mixed beverages, while 61, or 44 percent, voted against it, according to complete but unofficial election returns Tuesday.
With Proposition B, which will increase the city's general sales tax rate by .50 percent, 77 people, or 55 percent, voted for it, while 63 people, or 45 percent, voted against it.
There are 500 registered voters in Arp.
Mayor Terry Lowry said if passed the revenue from the sales will go toward replacing water lines and meters in the town that are contaminated with asbestos.
Lowry said by legalizing the sale of alcohol the town could generate revenue without it affecting the entire community.
“It doesn’t affect everyone monthly by passing the alcohol proposition,” he said. “It only affects you if you go buy it.”
The passage of Proposition A means convenience and grocery stores will be able to sell beer, malt liquor and wine. Liquor stores, restaurants and bars also will be allowed to sell beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits.
Lowry said that legalizing the sale of alcohol won’t make the city rich but would help gain the revenue to make the changes necessary to the water systems.
“It’s not making us wealthy buy passing it, but why give revenue to other towns when it can benefit our town,” he said. “We are facing such an uphill battle to comply with the state. We had to step up and make the decision that this is the way things had to be done.”
Lowry said trying to appease the community over the years has put the town in the bind it is in. But, he is doing everything he can to keep the town informed about the decisions being made.
“We are trying our best to take care of infrastructure needs and are trying to do it the least painful way to not affect every citizen in town,” said Lowry.
The town already has taken a loan from the state and still needs at least $4.5 to 5 million for improvements.
Lowry hopes that since the propositions passed it will help the town to continue to grow and possibly bring new business in town.
“That’s what we needed, this gives us the opportunity to come in and see the potential of the town and getting new businesses,” said Lowry. “You have to find every possible way you can to get revenue when your infrastructure is as old as we are.”
Lowry says now that the propositions passed they would contact the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to see what steps need to be taken next.
“We are not sure of the time frame,” said Lowry. “We haven’t bothered looking into that until we knew when and if it was passed. We are going to try to do it in the timeliest fashion as possible.”