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Online Beer and Wine – Group circulating petition to expand beer, wine sales in Belton
BELTON — A group of residents is circulating a petition calling for an election in November to change the city’s alcohol ordinances.
The group, Brewing Belton, and business owner Ginger Metcalf want all of Belton to be a wet city. Currently, the city is a patchwork of wet and dry areas because of the county seat’s annexation of land, Belton spokesman Paul Romer said.
“We’re trying to work together to get the signatures we need, and unfortunately it’s really not happening very fast,” Metcalf said.
So far Metcalf has collected about 400 signatures.
On May 2, City Clerk Amy Casey received two applications for a petition for a local option election to legalize the sale of beer and wine and the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants, according to a city memo sent to City Manager Sam Listi from Casey.
The petition will not allow for liquor stores or full bars, according to the Brewing Belton’s Facebook page.
Belton informed the Texas Secretary of State’s office and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission of the petition, Casey said.
For the city to call an election in November, the petition organizers are required to obtain signatures from 35 percent of the number of registered voters in Belton who voted for governor in the 2014 gubernatorial election. In 2014, 2,593 Beltonians voted for governor, meaning the petition organizers need 908 valid signatures to successfully call for an election.
The petitions are required to be filed with Casey within 60 days of being issued. However, because the 60th day is on July 4, which is a city holiday, the deadline for the completed petitions is July 5.
Should the petitioners be successful, the city clerk will have 30 days to validate the petition and present it to the Belton City Council.
State law outlines that a petition is valid only if it includes the signer’s printed name; the signer’s date of birth or voter registration number; the signer’s home address; and the date of signing. The signer’s signature is the only requirement that must be in the signer’s handwriting.
If it’s valid, the Council will call for an election for Nov. 7, which will be the date state constitutional amendments will be voted on. The election will be handled by Bell County.
All Metcalf wants is to be able to sell beer for off-premises consumption at her business, the Coffee Cup Café, she said. The Coffee Cup Café is located at 2785 Simmons Road.
“I just want to be pulled into the rest of the city,” she said. “I’m right on the edge of the city limits, right inside it. When they annexed this area from here to about FM 1670, they left it in the dry area so I just want to be pulled in with the rest of the convenience stores and be able to help Belton out, too.”
While Metcalf does not expect to collect enough signatures, she plans to redo the petition and attempt to call for an election in May.
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