Voters in the city of Overton approved liquor sales Tuesday night, according to unofficial results.
Complete totals from Rusk County and 72 of 73 Smith County voting precincts showed 148 votes, or 55 percent, for and 121 votes, or 45 percent, against.
Proposition 1 allows liquor sales for off-premise consumption and the sale of mixed drinks in bars and restaurants. Overton voters approved beer and wine sales in November 2014, with 300 votes for and 62 votes against in a town with 1,321 registered voters.
Overton Mayor C.R. Evans said the election’s outcome was not the one he’d hoped for.
“We’ll deal with it,” he said. “Hopefully, no bars come to town, and I think the location of churches will prevent any from opening downtown. I just hope it doesn’t cause any problems.”
Evans acknowledged that DWIs dropped in the city of Overton after beer and wine sales were legalized last year. But he worried pass-through travelers visiting bars could lead to an uptick in DWI arrests and wrecks.
Robert Raney, who filed both petitions, said he was pleased liquor sales passed and hopes it leads to new businesses and more revenue for the city.
“If they never sell a single bottle it’ll be fine with me, but I wanted to give the opportunity for businesses and raising revenues for the city,” he said. “That was my intent the whole time.”
Evans said he doubts liquor sales would provide revenues needed to address water, sewer and street projects. Raney said any revenue and opportunity to draw businesses would improve the city’s future growth.