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Social Circle approves Sunday alcohol sales

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Voters in Social Circle have voiced their approval for the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

According to the Walton County Board of Elections Office, 390 people -- or 57.44 percent -- voted to allow Sunday package sales and 289 people voted no, or 42.56 percent.

The margin was similar for selling alcohol by the drink on Sundays: 397 voted yes, which was 58.9 percent, and 277 people, or 41.1 percent, voted no.

The City Council voted in February to place a referendum on the July 31 primary ballot in response to at least one local merchant who said his business was losing money due to Sunday sales in surrounding cities.

City Manager Doug White said at the time he heard from the manager at Freshway, who said the store is losing about $4,000 in sales due to Sunday sales, which are now permitted in Covington.

"We reacted and figured other convenience stores were running into the same thing," Mayor Hal Dally said Wednesday. "We decided to put it on the ballot and let the citizens make the decision."

The mayor said that he does not believe adding Sunday sales of packaged alcohol or by the drink will necessarily result in appreciable economic development, particularly since alcohol was already available for purchase six days of the week.

"I don't necessarily believe that's a stimulus item. It was sort of a need-to action," he said. "We will now move as quickly as we can to amend our ordinances to put our local merchants on equal footing with our neighbors."