County calls for brunch bill on ballot

  • Lumpkin County calls for brunch bill on ballot
    Lumpkin County calls for brunch bill on ballot

Those who like a little champagne in their OJ to sip along with their late Sunday morning eggs Benedict will have the opportunity to vote for just that. Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously, without comment, to place the Sunday Brunch Bill referendum on the March 24 Presidential Primary ballot.
“I think the voters should have a say whether they want it or not,” said BOC Chairman Chris Dockery.
In 2018 the Georgia General Assembly passed and the governor signed legislation making it possible for cities and counties to place the question on the ballot, as long as the local municipality or county already had Sunday sales. Both Lumpkin and Dahlonega qualify.
Lumpkin’s current serving time on Sunday is 12:30 p.m. If passed, the ballot question would allow qualifying restaurants and farm wineries to begin serving at 11 a.m.
The city of Dahlonega’s voters passed the same referendum during its city council elections Nov. 5 by nearly 75 percent of the voters. The new hours took effect on Sunday, Nov. 24 after the council approved the results of the election at a recent meeting.
Dockery said passage by the county is “…almost a given. We already have Sunday Sales. It’s just a time adjustment.”
The hope is that the time adjustment could be a boon for the county when it comes to tax revenue.
“Our Board believes this will have a positive impact on the wine, beer and spirits industry, restaurants, and tourism as a whole, generating increased sales for businesses and subsequent increased tax revenue,” Chamber of Commerce President Robb Nichols told commissioners prior to the vote.
The change would also “have the positive effect of encouraging visitors—who might otherwise check out and depart the area before noon on Sundays—to stay for brunch or lunch and spend more during their stay,” he said.
The Georgia Restaurant Association projects an estimated $25,000 additional income per restaurant per year, Nichols said.
The question on the ballot will read: “Shall the governing authority of Lumpkin County be authorized to permit and regulate the sale of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.?” Voters can check Yes or No.