Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge business owner seeks election for wine sales

December 19
21:59 2017

Wine could soon be for sale in Breckenridge businesses, if a local business owner is successful in the endeavor he has embarked on recently.

Monty Cleveland, president of Floodwater Capital Inc. and owner of the Breckenridge Beverage Barn, has filed an application and is circulating a petition to request an election to allow the sale of wine and craft beer within the Breckenridge City limits.

Specifically, the petition is seeking a local option liquor election that, if passed, will make legal the sale of beer and wine up to 17 percent alcohol. The current law in Breckenridge allows for the sale of drinks with up to only 5 percent alcohol, which prohibits most wine, as well as beer with higher alcohol content, including premium and some craft beer.

Cleveland said he realized how much tax revenue the City of Breckenridge was losing when customers kept coming in asking for wine. When he explained that he couldn’t sell wine in Breckenridge, the shoppers opted to drive to Graham, Eastland, Abilene or beyond.

By allowing the sale of wine and craft beer, the tax revenue stays in Breckenridge, he said.

Cleveland emphasized that the petition does not include any hard liquor at all. Most standard beers fall under the 5 percent threshold, while most wine is in the 7 to 14 percent range. Liquor ranges from about 21 percent alcohol for some rums and schnapps to 40 percent for vodka, tequila and whiskey, up to 95 percent for grain alcohol such as Everclear.

In order to bring the issue before the citizens of Breckenridge for a vote, Cleveland has to follow an exact set of rules. The biggest task he faces now is collecting enough signatures from registered voters to request that the issue be listed on the upcoming ballot.

Breckenridge City Secretary Heather Robertson-Caraway said that Cleveland has to get 260 signatures on the petition, based on the number of voters in the most recent governor race, which was in 2014.

Once Cleveland submitted his original application for a petition last week, Robertson-Caraway issued him the petition, including the pages for the signatures. She said she could only issue the exact number of pages needed for the petition. “So, he has zero margin for error,” she said. “Every signature that he gets on all 26 pages has to verify, meaning that they have to be on the voter list.”

Qualified signatures must come from registered voters who live within the city limits of Breckenridge. Cleveland obtained a list of registered voters from Christie Latham, the Stephens County Tax Assessor-Collector so that he can verify that a person is qualified to sign the petition.

Because the date that Robertson-Caraway must publicly call for the election is so close, Cleveland does not have enough time to re-submit the petition if there is even one wrong name.

“I will call the city election at the February 6 commission meeting,” she said, explaining that by that date, she must verify all of the names on the petition and give appropriate legal notice about what will be on the City Commission’s meeting agenda. “He said he would do his very best to get (the petition) to me by January 31.”

If Cleveland gets 260 signatures on his petition and all of them are verified as qualified voters, the issue will be placed on the ballot for the City of Breckenridge election on May 5.

Robertson-Caraway said that if the issue gets put on the ballot and fails to be passed, it will not affect the current law that allows the sale of beer.

Qualified citizens may sign the petition at the Breckenridge Beverage Barn, located at 3206 W. Walker St.

Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan




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