By Jennifer Clampet
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS Lam-pasas residents have filed a local-option election petition with the Lampasas County clerk and are now working to collect 528 signatures from registered voters.
The petition requests an election on two alcohol measures: the legalized sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption within the entire city limits and the legalized sale of mixed drinks in restaurants that are licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Local restaurant owner Barry Linthicum said the petitions have been circulating for about a week and the committee has had a good response from voters.
Linthicum is the treasurer for the special-purpose political action committee formed in February that has taken on the task of bringing a September local-option election to Lampasas.
Members of the Committee for a Stronger Lampasas have used money raised for their efforts to hire Hard Count Inc., a consulting firm based in Austin.
According to a committee news release, Hard Count will be helping to conduct the petition drive.
Petitions are expected to be posted outside Wal-Mart from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m Saturdays.
Most sections of the city of Lampasas are already considered wet. A previous election made it legal for the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.
However, the TABC ruled that tracts of land annexed into the city from the dry county of Lampasas could not be changed to wet simply because of the annexation process.
For the recently built Wal-Mart Supercenter, whose building was partially constructed outside the city limits, the TABC ruling means it cannot legally sell beer or wine unless Lampasas residents approve.
Linthicum said election would ensure that all stores in Lampasas would be able to compete on a level playing field.
Linthicum pointed out that even if the off-premise consumption measure were to fail, the results would not affect the citys current wet boundaries.
The second measure would allow TABC-licensed restaurants to serve alcohol without having to participate in the club card program.
Linthicum, owner of Roadhouse Restaurant in Lampasas, said the issue is really sales tax revenue. PAC members are arguing that the city is losing sales tax dollars because of the alcohol sales issue.
According to state law, residents must collect signatures equal to the amount of 35 percent of the number of city voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election, about 528 signatures according to Linthicum, in order to place the issue on a citywide ballot.
Petitioners have 60 days to collect the needed signatures.
Contact Jennifer Clampet at firstname.lastname@example.org