Business Report Puts Heat on the Andrews Alcohol Debate

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - It's dividing the City of Andrews: the decision to bring in booze or keep the town dry. The numbers have rolled in on a new study that became fodder to heat up the debate.

"Hard numbers," Amanda Villalobos, Promote Andrews said. "Hard statistics over how much we're losing."

A hot controversy is heating up in Andrews after the city hired a Houston-area firm to figure out where the town loses money each year. Here's what they found: Andrews loses $70 million total each time people travel to the surrounding areas for retail or restaurants. Part of that report shows the cash drained by alcohol sales, something that the group "Promote Andrews" says will help them in their push to legalize beer and wine.

"We were very confident it was going to show what we suspected, and actually those numbers were greater than what we were suspecting them to be," Villalobos said.

Group organizers tell NewsWest 9, they believe by making their town "wet" the city of Andrews will gain bigger businesses and in turn keep those profits within the Andrews community.

"That's really going to help us prove our point, just the business aspect we had brought to everyone's attention," Villalobos said.

But others disagree. They say legalizing beer and wine may bring in business, but it will also diminish their safety.

"I don't think turning a big profit is worth the health and safety of a community," Mary Hammack with Keep Andrews Dry, said.

"Keep Andrews Dry" tells NewsWest 9 those statistical arguments don't match up to saving lives.

"The people don't want this to be a convenience issue or a money-making issue - it's not going to change their beliefs," Hammack said. "They want Andrews dry because they want Andrews safe. And for me, that's more of a promote Andrews than to promote profits or convenience."

Promote Andrews said they've got about half of the signatures they need to put the measure on the November ballot. They have until May 5th to collect the rest of those signatures.