Petitions Circulating Jeff Davis County to Legalize Sale of Alcohol County-wide

Petitions Circulating Jeff Davis County to Legalize Sale of Alcohol County-wide

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY - Petitions are circulating around Jeff Davis County. Their goal is to unite all four precincts to either go wet or dry.

That's because each precinct has a different rule when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

"People come in from all over the state, all over the country where they're used to a lot more concise liquor laws," said, Phil Martini, Treasurer of the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce.

Each of the four precincts in Jeff Davis County has different rules for the sale of alcohol.

In Precinct 1, alcohol can be sold with food if it doesn't exceed 50% of the restaurant's sales. Precinct 2 sells alcohol in stores for off premises consumption only. Precinct 3 does not allow alcohol sales. Precinct 4 in Valentine is a wet precinct.

The petitions circulating aim to legalize the sale of alcohol including mixed beverages county-wide.

"We just think it would be easier to make those uniform and make them whole, so people, not only the people who live here but the people who come here, it's not so confusing," said President of the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce, Bob Dillard.

There is only one restaurant in the county that can serve alcohol while you eat.

"That's a different precinct over there because the line runs down through he middle of the court house. I'm in a precinct and that's a different precinct. I can do some things here that I can't do over there," Dillard said.

A prime example of the way things are working right now is if you're eating at Cueva de Leon restaurant, you're not allowed to have a drink while you eat because it's not allowed in that precinct. However, if you walk just feet away across the street to Uncle Buck's, in a different precinct, they allow the sale of alcohol. So if you want a drink while you eat, you have to go across the street, buy your alcoholic beverage, then take it back to the restaurant.

Nancy Turner owns Come and Take It BBQ in Precinct 3.

"If we can sell beer and wine with our caterings. We had one right before Spring Break and the first guy in the door said, "Where's the beer? I want a beer with my bar-b-que," said Turner, who also helped launch the petitions.

Business owners and city leaders believe with this change, the economy will prosper.

"When we can sell [alcohol], we can cover the cost of our events that we bring people to, which is what fills our hotels and keeps Fort Davis and Jeff Davis County viable," said Martini.

"If you increase that tax revenue and you have a better school, you bring in more families which deepens our work force here in Fort Davis," said Turner.

The petitions need 363 signatures total and they're a third of the way there.

If they get signatures by their goal in June, they'll be turned into the county where commissioners will decide whether or not to add the item to the ballot in November.