By Joe Reavis
The clock started kicking Tuesday, April 11, to gather enough petition signatures to call a November election to allow package sales of alcoholic beverages and more potent wines.
A group of citizens titled Sachse Committee for Economic Growth is sponsoring the petition drive. Members of the group met last week to affix their signatures to petitions to kickoff the effort. The drive must gather 1,800 signatures in 60 days, by June 9, in order to call an election.
Co-chairmen Darrell Lensch, Jenie Marten and Linda Gray head the committee, and that committee hired Texas Petition Strategies of Austin to gather signatures.
“In 2005, Sachse voters approved beer and wine sales in our grocery stores and restaurants, and now we’ve seen many neighboring communities vote to allow fine wine and spirit sales like in Plano and Rowlett,” Lensch said.
Fine wine is defined as wine with an alcoholic content of more than 17 percent. Currently wine sold in Sachse can be no more than 14 percent alcohol. The 1,800 signatures required on petitions are equal to 35 percent of the voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election.
Lensch said that several individuals and two investors have contributed to the wet-dry election, but he declined to identify the investors.
The petition specifically calls for an election to allow sales of fine wine and spirits in package stores, but does not allow sales in bars and nightclubs. Only those who live within city limits are eligible to sign the petition.
“For me, this is an economic and tax revenue issue,” Marten said. “Sachse is not dry for consumption of spirits and finer wines, only the sale of spirits and fine wines. Sachse citizens are driving to Plano or Rowlett every day to buy alcohol and when that happens, Sachse citizens lose.”
Based on a study in Texas by The Perryman Group, Sachse could gain almost $1 million per year in sales tax revenue from the sale of package liquors and wine.
The petition drive will take place door-to-door with workers identifiable by their bright yellow shirts. The door-to-door effort is necessary because there is not a single, large box store in Sachse that would attract the numbers needed for the effort.
Since 2003, more than 500 Texas cities have voted themselves wet.
TPS has conducted more than 330 local option ballot propositions in almost 200 communities.