CHANDLER — Chandler is the latest city to push for a vote on alcohol sales.
John Camper says there is concern that Chandler stores and restaurants would lose business and that the city would lose sales tax revenue if voters in Tyler and Smith County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, which backs up to Chandler’s eastern city limits, authorize alcohol sales.
Camper is treasurer of a group of Chandler residents who hurriedly formed the Buy Chandler First political action committee after they heard of the Precinct 2 drive for signatures on petitions for an election on alcohol proposals.
The committee wants to give Chandler voters the opportunity to even the playing field with the communities in neighboring Smith County by authorizing alcohol sales in Chandler, Camper said.
On Thursday, a campaign to place two alcohol propositions on the ballot in November in the city of Chandler went into full swing with the collection of signatures on petitions to later be presented to the Chandler City Council.
One petition seeks a vote on the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption in Chandler and the second petition seeks a vote on legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants. It would allow the serving of alcohol without requiring a private club membership in restaurants, but not bars or nightclubs, Camper said.
About 250 signatures are required to get the two alcohol propositions on the ballot in Chandler. Camper anticipates the necessary number of signatures will be obtained by the end of next week.
The main reason for the drive for an alcohol election in Chandler, Camper said, is that if Tyler and Precinct 2 approve alcohol propositions, people would then be able to buy packaged beer and wine and restaurants could sell mixed beverages across the bridge on the other side of Chandler’s eastern city limits.
Studies show that for every dollar spent on packaged beer and wine in convenience and grocery stores, customers spend $3 on other things.
Depending on their square footage and location, stores could see upwards of anywhere from $25,000 to $150,000 a week in increased sales if they are able to sell alcohol, Camper said of the spill-over benefits of people buying groceries, ice and other items along with beer and wine.
Based on statistics in the Perryman report, Camper said, sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption and sale of mixed beverages in restaurants could bring in about $146,000 in additional sales tax revenue to Chandler the first year.
The increased sales tax revenue could help offset the cost of city services and help fund projects such as a new civic center, Camper said.
“When people shop in Chandler rather than going to Tyler, we keep our tax monies at home paying for our roads, law enforcement, fire department and other local services,” Kenny Rascoe, a committee member, said.
Passage of the alcohol propositions, Camper added, would help in efforts to recruit new business and a hotel/motel to Chandler. “It would position us for future growth,” he said.
The Chandler Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted in an emergency meeting April 26 to support the petition drive and election on the two alcohol proposals.