Eunice Voters to Decide on Beer and Wine Sales

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's an issue that's sparked quite a bit of controversy in Eunice, it's a dry community, but several restaurants are hoping to begin selling beer and wine. And in Tuesday's special election, people in Eunice will make that decision.

"I did want everybody in our community to understand that this is not a citizen-driven request," Rev. Glenn Pipes of First Baptist Church in Eunice, said. "This is a request from our city council and our mayor."

A couple years ago this same proposal was brought before Eunice residents, but it was voted down.

"At that point and time, I thought the issue was probably a mute issue because the citizens had failed to get behind that issue," Rev. Pipes said.

But for city leaders, this is an economic development opportunity.

"We've talked to developers that represent chain hotels and restaurants, and they have expressed the desire to sell beer and wine, because alot of their clients are business travelers," Eunice City Manager Curtis Schrader, said.

With the oil and gas industry booming the city hopes to bring in new places for visitors and residents to go.

"I'm all for economic development, I'm just not sure that beer and wine is best way to stimulate economic development," Rev. Pipes said. 

Officials say there have been rumors saying this license will allow the sale of any type of alcohol.

"We've tried to dispell those rumors," Schrader said. "This is strictly for beer and wine sales in restaurants. It doesn't include package stores, drive in liquor stores, bars."

But some believe allowing a little, will create problems.

"It's obvious New Mexican's have difficulty handling liquor and alcohol," Rev. Pipes said.

"The city council decided to schedule this for an election, let the voters decide if they want to allow beer and wine sales in restaurants," Schrader said.

Neighbors will make their decision on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008. The community center will be open for voters from 7am - 7pm.