County officials approved motions on referendums allowing three separate liquor issues to be placed on the No-vember ballot.
All commissioners present stressed several times that they were not condoning the use or sale of alcohol by their actions in the meeting, but allowing local control of the issues.
“I know alcohol can be a very sensitive issue,” commissioner Jim Cutler said, “so I just want to reiterate that the four of us do not condone the use or sale of alcohol on Sunday. All we are doing is allowing the citizens of Catoosa County to make that decision on whether or not they want it. I think that's the democratic way to handle it.”
Citizens will be allowed to vote on the sales of distilled spirits for on-premise consumption, which is considered “liquor by the drink.” This would be much like the ordinance already in place for cities of Ringgold and Fort Ogle-thorpe, but not in the unincorporated areas of the county.
This vote would be in regard to establishments that gain at least 50 percent of sales from food sales, namely res-taurants, and has nothing to do with package sales.
Another resolution is two-fold and also involves the sales of distilled spirits for on-premise consumption, but the key focus will be whether liquor by the drink will be allowed on a Sunday. Sales presently are limited from 12:30 p.m. until midnight, but if approved by voters, an ordinance could change those guidelines. The second part involves package sales on Sunday, such as beer and wine by retailers and convenience stores.
Chad Young, county attorney, clarified that if any of the issues were approved by voters, there would still be work to do.
“Even if commissioners pass these today and voters allow liquor by the drink to come into the county, that's not the final step,” Young said. “The board would still have to adopt comprehensive ordinances to regulate that type of activity through licenses of beer and wine, such as we have now in Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe, and none of the changes would go into effect until Jan. 1, 2013.”