Group gathers signatures in support of liquor proposition

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A local option election may be on the November ballot in Denton, a ballot growing heavy with local issues.

This week, a political consulting group began collecting about 6,500 signatures that would be needed to place a proposition on the ballot that would allow the sale of mixed drinks and liquor store sales.

John Hatch of Texas Petition Strategies said his firm was working with Denton First, a group of local bar owners who would like to see the private club restriction that currently governs local alcohol sales removed.

The group has 60 days to collect the required number of signatures, which is 35 percent of the total who voted in the last gubernatorial election. However, Hatch said they plan on finishing before July 11 so the local option election could be considered for the Nov. 4 election.

Texas Petition Strategies has helped hundreds of jurisdictions in Texas with local option elections, including recent elections in Plano and Arlington, Hatch said. Denton loses some business, and the associated sales tax revenue, to Corral City, Cross Roads, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm and other nearby cities that allow liquor sales.

Using census data, Texas Petition Strategies estimated that Denton could see another $33 million in local spending, with $685,000 in local sales tax revenue, if voters approve the new local option.

Denton City Council members have already signaled their intention to call a bond election in November. The council is expected to hear a report from a citizen bond advisory committee June 3 with priorities for capital projects.

A grassroots effort to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city limits may also be on the November ballot. The city secretary’s office is currently verifying signatures for the petition that brought the ordinance initiative forward. Under the charter, the City Council must either accept the ordinance banning fracking as written in the petition or put it before the voters.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.


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