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Business owners wanting to add liquor sales on Sundays and holidays

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Logan County is one of 18 Oklahoma counties that restrict liquor by the drink on Sundays, but business owners are wanting to change that by allowing liquor sales to seven days a week. However, that Sunday afternoon drink may have to wait several more months.

County Commissioners (L-R) Mike Pearson, Monty Piercy and Marven Goodman listen to county business owners on Friday morning.

County Commissioners (L-R) Mike Pearson, Monty Piercy and Marven Goodman listen to county business owners on Friday morning.

The video of the commissioners meeting can be viewed at the end of this article. The liquor by the drink conversation begins at 1:25 into the video.

County business owners attended the regular scheduled commissioners meeting inside the Courthouse Annex Building to inform the commissioners they are losing money and the county is losing tax revenue when it comes liquor sales on Sundays and holidays.

The owners say they lose thousands of dollars to Oklahoma County business who are allowed to sale liquor.

“We need to try to get this done. I probably lost $10,000 in sales on one day this last year because they went to Edmond and Oklahoma City to spend their liquor money and eat on a Sunday,” Ronnie Gage, owner of Gage’s Steakhouse, said referring to movie crews filming in Guthrie. “That has happened several different times.”

The county does not receive tax money on alcohol sales, but does receive tax money on such items as food that often are purchased with liquor.

The ultimate decision would come from county voters, but all three commissioners agree that this proposition should not cost county voters $13,000.

Commissioner Monty Piercy shared several times, throughout the meeting, he would not agree to put a single question on a ballot due to the hefty price tag the county would pay to hold the election.

In reaction, the owners agreed the best time may be in the presidential primary election slated for March 2016 instead of a special election. At that time, the county would not be charged and would be more hopeful for a larger voter turnout.

However, the discussion allowed the commissioners to hear the frustrations of county business owners.

“There are a lot of golf tournaments that we could have on Sundays that have gone to other courses 20 minutes down the road,” Nash Martin with Cimarron National Golf Course said.

“A lot of people drink alcohol. Don’t have to like it, but it does cost golf courses and restaurants revenue.”

Helen Price with the Lazy E says patrons are moving across the county line for the full experience.

“If they cant have that full experience, they are not going to stay here,” Price said.

Commissioner Marven Goodman said he believes government needs to get out-of-the-way to help the owners.

“I think the best thing we can do, in government, to help business is to get out-of-the-way.”

Goodman later encouraged that the business owners should be allowed to help write the referendum when the right time is established to hold an election.

There are now 23 counties that currently forbid liquor by the drink sales in restaurants and bars.

Voters in McCurtain and Grant counties approved propositions this past November to allow the sale of liquor by the drink, but residents in Pushmataha County voted down a similar proposition. Voters in Pottawatomie County declined liquor by the drink on Sundays by a narrow margin (49.3 percent).

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