Voters to decide on alcohol sales in Bailey County

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Bailey County voters will decide Tuesday on a proposal that proponents say will generate revenue for the county but opponents say could lead to increased alcohol-related arrests and promote underage drinking.

A proposal to allow packaged sale of liquor, beer and wine will be listed in the general election ballot Tuesday.

County Commissioner Juan Chavez, who circulated a petition in May for the proposal, has said the county missed out on revenue from county residents who bought their alcohol in other counties.

First Baptist Church Pastor Stacy Conner said the negative social impact of alcohol sales outweighs the revenue generated.

In September, the Concerned Citizens of Bailey County, a 150-member community organization, launched a campaign against the proposal, according to Conner, who is also a member of the organization. The campaign included letters to the editor, signs and newspaper ads.

“The ease of access creates easier opportunities for young people underage drinking,” Conner said.

Conner cited Panhandle cities, including Childress and Plainview, who have seen rises in alcohol-related arrests since allowing alcohol sales in their counties.