With about a week before the deadline to submit signatures, one of the proponents seeking a wet-dry county vote say they still have work to do.
“Things have gone pretty good, but we still have some work to do,” said C.J. May. “I think we are about 75 percent there.”
May, who owns the property Josie’s of Georgetown is on, Old Friends’ Michael Blowen, Country Boy Brewing, and other business leaders have been working to get 5,528 signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. The group is seeking to make Scott County wet, which they say would level the playing field for restaurants and other businesses not in areas of the county that can currently sell alcohol. The referendum would allow package and liquor by the drink sales.
“I think it would be a terrible loss to lose good restaurants because of something like not being able to sell alcohol when surrounded by businesses that can,” May said. “We just want to make it competitive so businesses don’t have to go out of business.
“There’s also the leakage of sales tax dollars leaking into neighboring communities because they are going elsewhere to eat.”
The group went online with their message about a month go, and May says that has helped, but it got a late start. A group, Scott Countians for Economic Development, has been using Facebook posts and other advertising campaigns to promote its message.
“We didn’t know about putting the petition online until about 30 days ago, and it has helped a great deal,” he said.
Residents who still want to sign the petition can go to www.makescottcountywet.com to sign the online petition or sign a hard copy at Evan’s Orchard, Hi View Meats, Golden’s Wholesale and Produce, Georgetown/SC Tourism Commission, Country Boy Brewery (Business Park), Josie’s Restaurant, Amerson Farms and Dollar General in Stamping Ground.
“It is important everyone knows that this is not voting for it. This is just to put the issue on the ballot and let the people vote and the majority rules,” May said.
May has used the example of Josie’s as to how a business could benefit from the county going wet. Currently, the popular restaurant has opted to not be open for dinner, and May believes it is losing business because they can’t sell alcohol while other restaurants a mile or so in either direction can sell alcohol.
He also said if they aren’t successful this time getting enough signatures, they will try again.
“If we miss this time, I think we will try again and put it on the ballot in the spring for the primary. You have to have 25 percent of the voters who voted in the last general election. We think the turnout will be less this November, and we have already surpassed what we think that number will be,” May said. “But we hope we do it this time.”
Steven McClain can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.