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Liquor store could benefit Town of Jonesborough

Voters in the November General Election will be asked to approve the establishment of a liquor store in Jonesborough. Some 153 residents, representing 10 per cent of the votes cast in the last governor’s election, have already indicated they want the issue of the ballot.
Will an affirmative vote for the store indicate that the Old Town has reached a level of sophistication tolerating liquor sales by the bottle in the community? Would a “no” vote on the issue indicate that citizens recognize the harmful effects of alcohol and do not want it sold in a liquor store situated in Jonesborough?
Currently, liquor by-the-drink is permitted in the town. It was approved after several referendum votes on the issue. Recently the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) approved an ordinance permitting Main Street businesses to use part of the town’s right-of-way for outdoor seating areas. A town policy would also allow any restaurant or establishment holding an ABC (Alcohol Beverage Commission) license to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption in the outdoor area.
The town now contains a number of bed and breakfast establishments and hotels. There are also two campgrounds with Jonesborough addresses listed on the official Town website. Certainly a number of tourists and visitors would appreciate the convenience of a community package liquor store.
Likewise, a number of residents would be spared the trouble of traveling to Johnson City or elsewhere to obtain whiskey, wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Each year a number of celebrations and weddings take place in the community where liquor is served. A local supplier would make it easier to gather the beverages required at these events. A package store would hire employees, and pay business and sales taxes.
The liquor store would sell products that are implicated in the deaths of thousands of Americans on the highways and elsewhere each year. However, it is already possible to buy beer by the package and liquor by the drink in Jonesborough.
Now is the time for Town leaders and interested residents to express their views on the package store issue.
Linda Carter of Jonesborough has spearheaded the movement to get the liquor store referendum on the ballot. In 2008 a similar petition filed by Carter was given to the Washington County Election Commission too late to get on the ballot.
While there are numerous details concerning the liquor store that need to be discussed between now and November, giving residents the option of approving package sales seems a sensible way to discover community feeling about the issue.
The Herald & Tribune would like to hear from readers concerning this issue. You can write to the newspaper at P. O. Box 277, Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659; fax the paper at 423-7536528 or e-mail [email protected]