Sunday morning alcohol to be on ballot

  • Brunch Bill touted as downtown revenue generator
    Brunch Bill touted as downtown revenue generator

If you would like to enjoy a mimosa, Bloody Mary or any other type of alcoholic beverage before 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, you’ll want to pay close attention to a question that will be on the ballot during Dahlonega’s special election this November.
Senate Bill 17, otherwise 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 or not to roll back on-premise consumption sales hours from the current designated time of 12:30 p.m. to an earlier time of 11 a.m.
The Dahlonega city council recently passed Resolution 2019-10, a Brunch Bill Certified Resolution, which will allow the city to add the question of whether Dahlonega residents would like to see Sunday alcohol sales moved up to 11 a.m. on this year’s special election ballot in a unanimous vote during a special called meeting after its regularly scheduled work session at City Hall on Thursday, July 18.
The resolution was a necessary step in moving the Brunch Bill forward.
According to the legislation passed by the Georgia Senate, any municipality that already has Sunday sales would need to have a ballot referendum in order to make the change.
City councilman Bruce Hoffman was concerned that the wording of the ballot referendum question might confuse some voters.
“Is this the standard and required language for this question? I think that some people may not understand it as written or might not know what the Brunch Bill is,” said Hoffman during the meeting.
City attorney Doug Parks confirmed that the wording of the question has to conform with the State mandated language.
“If we are already approved for Sunday sales, then the only question we can present to the voters is the State mandated one,” said Parks.
The question will appear as such on the special election ballot:
"Shall the governing authority of Dahlonega be authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.?"
Hoffman also clarified for the audience that the times given in the question are worded as such due to Dahlonega already having alcohol ordinances in place for the rest of the week and that the question pertains to Sunday sales only.
Parks also informed the council that the change would take place immediately if Dahlonega voters decide to approve the change during the special election.
“One thing we’ve added to the ordinance is that we’ve added an effective date that the ordinance itself will be effective on the approval of the election results,” Parks said. “The hours will be triggered automatically after the election results come in.”
The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), which 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.
Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber president Robb Nichols agreed with the GRA that the Brunch Bill will be beneficial to local restaurants and told the council that the Chamber board was in full support of the council’s resolution.
“The board believes this will have a positive impact on wine, beer and spirits industry in restaurants,” Nichols said. “And, many surrounding communities have already voted this in, so it would help to keep our restaurants competitive.”