LOGANVILLE - The city council voted 4-1 Monday night to let residents decide in November whether they want liquor by the drink sold in Loganville.
Prompted by a motion put forth by councilmen Wendell Geiger, Ray Nunley and Chuck Bagley, Mayor Tim Barron decided to hold the public hearing to let the people speak. The last time residents had a chance to vote on the issue was nearly seven years ago.
"This is a serious and sometimes emotional subject. We heard strong arguments on both sides of the issue," Barron said.
Nearly 100 people showed up at City Hall, with about a third of them addressing the mayor and council. Rudy Wardell, a city resident, was the first to speak.
"You have to consider both the economic aspect and the moral one here. I'm against it because I think we have enough alcohol in Loganville as it is," Wardell said.
Loganville allows the sale of beer and wine in retail stores and restaurants.
Bobby Boss, who years ago made the motion to allow beer and wine sales in the city as a councilman, spoke in favor of holding a referendum in November.
"Once we allowed the sale of beer and wine, the city was able to go out and buy another police car and pay the bills," Boss said. "I never thought Snellville would sell liquor by the drink before Loganville."
Prospective business owner Mike Jones, not a resident of Loganville but wanting to open a bowling center in the city, spoke in favor of letting residents vote on the issue in November.
"If it passes, I'm happy and if it doesn't, then so be it. But I think citizens should be able to decide," Jones said.
For nearly an hour, residents continued to speak both in favor of and against allowing the vote. Those in favor of allowing the vote said the demographics in Loganville have changed dramatically in seven years. Those opposed to the November vote cited moral reasons and a probable rise in the incidence of DUI that would result from allowing liquor by the drink sales.
In the end, after recessing for about 15 minutes, the council voted to hold the referendum in two months. Bagley said, "I take the right to vote very seriously. The people who have that freedom should exercise it."
Councilman Jerry Price cast the only "no" vote on the panel.