There will be one local issue on the ballot for voters in Hogansville Nov. 6 - whether to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays within the city limit.
LaGrange and West Point already have approved Sunday sales at package stores and restaurants, as has Newnan and other surrounding communities. The General Assembly voted about two years ago to let local cities and counties make the call whether to have alcohol sales on Sunday.
Business leaders in Hogansville say not allowing sales in the city means they’re losing business – and Hogansville is losing sales tax – to other communities.
“It’s not just for us, it’s for the city too,” said Sammy Kazmi, manager of Love’s Travel Stop. “We will be able to capture sales that are going elsewhere.”
Kazmi said this week – and said in June when asking Hogansville City Council to put the issue on the ballot – that the businesses already know they’re losing visitors to West Point Lake who get their alcohol and other supplies elsewhere.
“No one wants to do two or three stops,” he said. “Now they can go to any other city around here and get everything.”
Chris Bush, manager of Ingles grocery store, also is for the sales.
“I think everything has been said that can be said,” Bush said. “It’s time to let the people decide.”
As they did when the issue came up for a vote in West Point and LaGrange, local religious leaders are opposing the vote.
“It would be best if it wasn’t voted through,” said Clinton Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hogansville. “It would be harder for Hogansville to become the great community it could be. It would be a hindrance rather than a help. We hope to educate people on the dangers and why the community doesn’t need this.”
Both Hughes and Terry Rainwater, the pastor of Highland Baptist Church, say it’s more than just a moral issue.
“It’s not just us versus them,” he said. “There are higher traffic accidents and increases in crime.”
Rainwater said Sunday is a special day for people of faith and the churches would like to keep it that way, he said.
“We just want to keep that one day,” he said. “Local, state and federal offices aren’t open on Sundays and we’re not changing that.”
There will be two alcohol-related questions on the ballot, one for allowing sales of alcohol in restaurants and one allowing package sales in stores.