By Jacqueline Brown
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE After a nine-month campaign, proponents of legal beer and wine sales in Copperas Cove are celebrating their victory in Saturdays local option election.
Proponent Diane Steele said she spent three months conducting a study to assess the opinions of voters in Copperas Cove, two months gathering signatures to force the issue on the ballot and four months collecting receipts to estimate how much revenue legalization could bring into the city.
Nine months. Its time to have the baby, she said.
Steele asked supporters of the legalization to wear a white feather when they went to vote so she could keep track of their turnout.
It was our little secret, she explained.
The feathers might not have been from a stork, but the voters delivered a victory with two-thirds of the ballots checked in favor of legalization. The results were announced at 12:45 p.m. Sunday.
Steele said the victory indicated that residents of Copperas Cove are ready to grow the local economy and channel the money back into the community.
Opponents fear that the effects of legalization will have a negative impact on the quality of life in the community.
Members of Keep Copperas Cove Family Friendly warned that the problems created by increased alcohol density could outweigh the revenue it generates.
I fervently dont feel like it will change the quality of life, said Dan Yancey, chairman of the board of directors for the Economic Development Corp. Somebodys not going to start drinking just because they can buy beer here.
He added that legalization may not bring in new businesses, but it will benefit existing businesses in Copperas Cove.
I know all the convenience stores are extremely happy, he said. He explained that beer and wine sales generate a great deal of revenue for convenience stores in wet communities.
However, he said businesses look at location, incentives, labor pool and available infrastructure to determine whether or not to come into a city. The ability to sell beer and wine would only be a minor detail in the process, he said.
The legalization will go into effect when elections are canvassed at the Sept. 20 city council meeting, along with the results of seven proposed amendments to the city charter.
Voters rejected increasing the terms for the mayor and City Council members from two three-year terms to two four-year terms.
Council Member Ray Gatewood said the increase would satisfy the learning curve for incoming council members, but former Council Member Bud Owsley was never sold on the four-year term.
In other initiatives voted on Saturday, voters:
n Rejected an increase in pay for the mayor and city council members.
n Rejected a change in the number of City Council members required to constitute a quorum. The quorum will remain at five voting members rather than the proposed four.
Contact Jacqueline Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org