GUYTON — The Guyton City Council has approved a resolution to initiate a voter referendum to authorize issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits.
“I personally feel that this is a good idea to put to the voters and allow them to decide,” Mayor Russ Deen said before Tuesday’s unanimous city council vote. “I see some positives. I see some negatives.
“The positives are a lot of folks are buying (alcohol). I have drank in my life — shocker — but at the end of the day my money is spent elsewhere besides Ken’s (IGA in Guyton).”
The City of Guyton would stand to benefit from tax revenue if the measure is supported by voters. Package sales aren’t currently allowed anywhere in Effingham County.
“There’s a point for that but — at the same time, if the citizens don’t want that in their city — that is absolutely up to them,” Deen said. “I like this because this puts this in their hands and they can make that decision.”
There was little discussion before the vote but Post 1 Councilman Marshall Reiser directed a question at Assistant City Attorney David Mullens.
Reiser asked, “Assuming we do this, at what point does the city decide the sort of rules, I’d guess you’d say — like what we are going to allow, where we are going to allow it?"
Mullens told Reiser that the council can set parameters for package store operations after the referendum if it receives voter approval.
Reiser also asked if the council could opt against allowing package stores despite the vote if it deemed that is in the best interest of the city.
Mullens answered, “Yes.”
Election day is Nov. 2.