VALDOSTA — After a public plea, Valdosta City Council is expected to vote on putting the so-called Sunday "Brunch Bill" on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The law would allow alcohol sales at restaurants and bars to begin 11 a.m. Sundays, instead of the current time of 12:30 p.m. Any municipality that already has Sunday alcohol sales must have a ballot referendum to make the change.
City Manager Mark Barber said council will vote on the issue Aug. 22, and if the council approves the item, the referendum will be included on the ballot for voter approval this November.
Deidra White-Powell, former city council member and restaurant and bar owner, asked council to consider adding the referendum to the ballot Thursday during a City Council meeting.
"What the restaurant owners and hotel owners are asking is for the citizens of the community to decide for ourselves whether or not we want to roll back to an earlier Sunday sales," White-Powell said. "That's all we're asking for."
She said the change could bring in an extra $25,000 per year to establishments that already sell alcohol on Sundays. Eighty-two Georgia communities have approved the bill with 11 more deciding this year, she said.
White-Powell said more food and beverage sales equals more tax revenue and more jobs to support the local economy.
Multiple council members, including Tim Carroll, Joseph “Sonny” Vickers and Andy Gibbs, spoke in favor of putting the referendum on the ballot for the community to make the ultimate decision.
Vickers said it is a no-brainer.
"Anytime you can put something before the voters for a decision, like SPLOST, that's a no-brainer to me," Vickers said.
Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256