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Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 9:01am

Sunday Sales' Election Cost Vs. Return

Some cities and counties around the state are wrangling over putting the issue of Sunday alcohol sales in front of their voters. The main reason they may hold back this fall—is all about budget.

Athens-Clarke County councilman Doug Lowry says he wants to present voters the question this fall, but footing the bill for a special election is getting lukewarm response from his colleagues.

“We haven’t discussed it formally, but it just doesn’t seem likely that we would be willing to spend $52,000 on something like this.”

Lowry says the city’s already absorbing budget pain in the amount of more than $1.5 million in cuts for its new fiscal year.

In the metro Atlanta city of Sandy Springs, councilman Gabe Sterling says they’re trying to figure the revenue return if Sunday sales was approved by voters.

“If it’s a positive cash flow thing then let’s look at it. But I haven’t seen anything that shows us that we would actually (get a positive return on) the cost of the election vs. the amount you get in for however many Sundays you’re going to be selling.”

And there’s a time crunch for these municipalities to decide. State law dictates a special election to be held this November must be approved by 90 days prior--early August. For others that already have regular elections scheduled this November, there’s no extra cost.