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Voters will decide package sales in Bulloch
Bulloch County seal

It will be up to voters if package sales of liquor will be allowed in unincorporated Bulloch County.

Bulloch County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to request that a referendum on the issue be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 8 General Election. 

On the heels of voters in the city of Statesboro passing an ordinance that allows package sales, Bulloch Commissioners decided to forego a public hearing about a proposed referendum. Instead, Tuesday’s vote places the decision directly into the hands of the county residents, said Bulloch County Commission Chairman Roy Thompson. 

“We voted to let the citizens decide,” he said. “We felt that was the best way to do it.” 

After the vote, during part of the meeting allowing public comment, Thompson made it clear that the action was not a decision to allow liquor sales but a choice to place the matter directly into the hands of voters.  

“The laws have changed,” he told the Statesboro Herald during a conversation after the meeting. In the past, “you had to have 35 percent of registered voters sign a petition to have a referendum placed on the ballot.”

The state changed that requirement two years ago and the Commission’s vote is sufficient to request the referendum be added to the ballot, he said. 

Placing the power in the hands of county residents “is the best way to handle it,” he said. 

Until Statesboro liquor stores actually open, however, Bulloch County residents wanting a bottle of distilled spirits still must travel to neighboring counties such as Candler and Bryan, where package sales of liquor are legal. Should package liquor sales be approved in Bulloch County, tax revenue from those sales would remain in Bulloch. 

Regardless of the outcome of the vote, package sales inside the city of Statesboro will remain legal. 

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 243-7815 
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