Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 1, 2013

Booze or no booze?

Murchison quiet as historic vote moves closer

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — As the local option wet-dry election in Murchsion nears, the city is relatively quiet as voters make up their minds.

On the May 11 ballot is whether to allow the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only. Proponents are hoping to reverse the result of the 2011 election, when the issue failed 82 to 53. Early voting on the election began Monday and runs through May 7.

“I’m just going to wait and see what the people say,” Mayor Deanna Benson said. “I’ll vote, but I prefer not to get involved in the election either way.”

Benson said she doesn’t know of any organized effort to thwart the election.

A petition circulated in January and February gained 52 signatures, two more than the number required to get the question on the ballot.

Pastor Tommy Samples of First Baptist Church said he approached the election much the same as he did the 2011 vote, telling his congregation it has a clear-cut choice.

“We’ve just mentioned it and said if you want it to pass, don’t do anything,” Samples said. “If you don’t want it to pass, go vote.”

Samples questions whether the money raised by the tax on liquor sales would benefit the city as much as its backers say.

“I told them, the city only gets a penny-and-a-half on every dollar that comes in,” Samples said. “It’s not going to bring in the 30, 40, 50, or $80,000 without selling millions of dollars in retail.”

Murchison is one of seven Henderson County cities and towns that are totally dry. The others are Brownsboro, Enchanted Oaks, Eustace, Moore Station, Poynor and Star Harbor. In the last election cycle, November 2012, Chandler approved the sale of beer and wine for off premises consumption only and mixed beverages in restaurants. Malakoff and Trinidad also voted to allow the sale of all alcoholic beverage for off premises consumption.