Locals preparing to file third petition for liquor
Fri, 2016-02-26 05:00 News Staff
February 28, 1933 ~ February 9, 2016
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A group of local voters who would like to put the sale of liquor option on the November ballot, is preparing to file a petition again.
This time, the group is hoping the third time will be the charm for a petition that would put the decision to Copperas Cove voters to allow the sale of liquor and mixed drinks within the city of Copperas Cove.
At a volunteer meeting on Tuesday evening, group leader Mitch Lofton said he thought long and hard before deciding to try again in 2016 with another petition.
Lofton said their plan for the month of March will have two phases, first of which is to raise awareness by securing signing locations and pushing voter registration for city residents.
“They have to get registered now if they want to sign the petition,” Lofton said. He told the group on Tuesday that it might already be too late for someone to sign the petition if they’re not registered now, but they would be able to vote on the option in November.
“Right now we want to push the word out to get registered to vote,” Lofton added. “We’ll be going to some organizations that said they will help us get the word out to get registered.”
This time around, the group needs to gather 1,467 certified signatures, the same as with the 2015 permit. Although last year’s petition came closer to the number of eligible signatures, it fell short by 300 eligible signatures, with about 166 of those ineligible due to not being registered to vote in Copperas Cove.
“That killed us; that sunk us. That’s how important it is to make sure somebody signs, that they are a registered voter (in the city of Copperas Cove),” Lofton said.
Lofton told the group they will have 60 days from the filing and acceptance for a petition to gather the required signatures. He called the meeting for Tuesday to ensure that all media outlets and those interested would receive the same information at the same time.
The group believes that allowing liquor sales in Copperas Cove would provide more sales tax revenue for the city to help improve the parks and provide more funding for essential services.
Right now, “dry” cities like Copperas Cove rely on the club system to sell alcoholic beverages that contain hard liquor at restaurants. This time-consuming and costly system, the group contends, keeps away many restaurant chains that sell hard liquor to customers.
“I can tell you this much, the (petition) failure rate is going down faster and faster,” Lofton said about other communities statewide with voters who filed petitions and gathered signatures for a similar ballot option. He also cited the trend of more Texas counties “going wet.”
“About 15 years ago, it used to be 53 counties were dry, and maybe 30-some counties were wet. Now it’s upside down. There are more counties going wet than there are dry,” Lofton said.
This is the third application for a liquor petition with the city in as many years, with a petition application being approved in 2014 and in 2015.
For more information about the petition or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheNetworkCove.