"Voters OK city alcohol sales referendum " by: Mike Reddell

   Voters approved the legal sale of alcohol at the city’s referendum Saturday, May 8, by a lopsided margin in an election that drew 380 total votes.
   The unofficial count from Saturday was 299 votes for, or 78 percent, and 81 against (21 percent), with 117 mail-in ballots, an early vote count of 143 and 120 voters on election day, city officials said.
   The successful vote will allow one set of rules in Bay City for the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages, including mix drinks, in the city.
   Next up, is the Tuesday, Nov. 6 referendum on the same measure for voters in JP Precinct 1, which takes in the northeast quadrant of Bay City and the city’s projected growth corridor that includes properties along Texas 35 and Van Vleck. 
   JP 1 also takes in Van Vleck, Pledger and Cedar Lane, County Clerk Janet Hickl said.
   The drive to eliminate the private club requirement for restaurants, such as Chili’s, Applebee’s and the Schulman Theatres – all in JP Precinct 1 – and to sell mixed beverages to their customers began last December.
   Mayor Mark Bricker and City Council asked the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture to lead the effort to get the law changed, said Mitch Thames, chamber president.
   He said the chamber raised more than $62,000 and contracted with John Hatch with Texas Petition Strategies of Austin.
   The Bay City Restaurant Initiative was announced in December, with the launch of the petition drive by Texas Petition Strategies, which got enough qualified voter signatures for City Council and the Commissioners Court to call the elections in February.

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