The City of Dahlonega will see a new face during its city council meetings at the start of the new year after Johnny Ariemma tallied enough votes in a tight race against opponent Tony Owens for the Post 4 seat during Tuesday’s general/special municipal election.
Incumbents Ron Larson and JoAnne Taylor both retained their seats on the council during the election.
The city will also see the hours for on-premise alcohol sales on Sundays moved up to 11 a.m. after local voters overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill (SB) 17, also known as the Sunday Brunch Bill.
About 30 percent of registered city voters cast ballots in this election.
In the race for Post 4, Ariemma won the seat vacated by councilman Bruce Hoffman, who opted not to run for reelection. Ariemma received 50.85 percent of the vote, earning 387 votes out of the 761 ballots cast.
Ariemma beat his opponent Owens by the slimmest of margins, taking the seat by 16 votes.
Owens earned 48.75 percent of the votes, receiving 371 votes.
The race for Post 6 saw incumbent Larson retain his seat on the city council. Larson held onto his council seat by garnering 60.21 percent of the vote, receiving 457 of the 759 votes for the position.
Larson’s opponent Dewey Moye finished with 39.53 percent of the vote, landing 300 votes.
Larson will now start his second term on the council.
Running unopposed, Post 5 incumbent JoAnne Taylor won a second term with 628 votes out of the 652 ballots cast for the seat.
SB 17, more commonly known as the Sunday Brunch Bill, was passed by the Georgia Senate on February 13, 2018 and allows for communities that already have Sunday sales to vote on whether to roll back the on-premise consumption sales hours from the current designated time of 12:30 p.m. to an earlier time of 11 a.m.
The residents of Dahlonega overwhelmingly voted to enact the Sunday Brunch Bill, as they voted in favor by a whopping 74.49 percent. The bill garnered 584 favorable votes out of the 784 ballots tallied.
The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), who helped push the Brunch Bill over the past four years, estimates the change has the potential to bring in an additional $25,000 per year.
The roll back from the Sunday Brunch Bill is set to take affect immediately.