Breckenridge Texan

Petition for wine sales election in Breckenridge submitted to city

Petition for wine sales election in Breckenridge submitted to city
January 16
09:25 2018

Wines sales in Breckenridge moved one step closer to becoming reality last week when local business owner Monty Cleveland turned in a completed petition to request an election to allow the sale of wine and craft beer within the Breckenridge city limits.

According to Breckenridge Assistant City Secretary Diane Latham, Cleveland turned in the petition on Thursday evening with the required 260 signatures. Latham said the signatures still have to be verified by City Secretary Heather Robertson-Caraway, a process which could be completed as earlier as today.

Cleveland, who was able to get all 260 signatures needed in about five weeks, well before the Jan. 31 deadline, said most of the reaction he received from people when circulating the petition was positive.

“There were so many people that wanted to sign it but lived in the county and not the city and various other reasons they couldn’t sign it,” he said. “Because of that, only about two out of every 10 people that wanted to sign it would be eligible.”

Cleveland said that when he was circulating the petition, he carried a copy of the list of eligible voters that had been provided to him so he could verify every signature he received.

“It’s already been confirmed once, and it’ll be done again by the city secretary,” he said.

Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion said once the city secretary certifies that the petition has the right number of signatures, it will be presented at the next city commission meeting on Feb. 6, where it will then have to be approved by commissioners to go to election. He said action on the petition is already listed on that meeting’s agenda.

Cleveland, who is president of Floodwater Capital Inc. and owner of the Breckenridge Beverage Barn, 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. So he circulated the 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.

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, and up to 95 percent for grain alcohol such as Everclear.

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.

Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: A sign in front of The Beverage Barn in Breckenridge announces completion of the petition calling for an election allowing wine sales in the city. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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