Lubbock's Alcohol Vote Could Be Costly For Taxpayers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/13/08

Lubbock's Alcohol Vote Could Be Costly For Taxpayers

The Lubbock County Office of Elections has begun to verify signatures on Lubbock's petition for packaged alcohol sales.

Let Lubbock Vote is the group leading the petition efforts. On Wednesday, it turned in more than 25,000 signatures to the elections office. Nearly 19,000 signatures must be validated to put the issue on a May ballot.

Either way come May voters once again will be asked to sound their voice. The spring ballot usually includes school board elections, city council races and bond issues. However, if Let Lubbock Vote collected enough valid signatures, packaged alcohol sales would also go to the polls.

"If we have the alcohol election Lubbock County will pay for the bulk of that election," Elections Administers Dorothy Kennedy said.  "You've got all your workers; you've got the training of those workers. You've got all of early voting which is 12 days of early voting and they average 10 to 12 hours a day. Then you've got all of Election Day," Kennedy added.

The average price of a case of beer costs about $23 and with the cost of a county election at a least $350,000 that works out to be at least 300 cases a week for a year. Theoretically, those cases of beer will cost current registered Lubbock County voters each $2.14 to cast a ballot. And so far, this would be the only countywide issue on the ballot.

"Its taxpayer driven for the petition and a taxpayer driven election. You know we have to pay for it by taxpayer. So it's the voice of the taxpayer," County Commissioner Patti Jones said.  Jones says while the commission did budget some funds for a May election more may still be needed.

"When you've got, I think it's about $23 or about $24 million in reserves if we had to pull a couple hundred thousand dollars out or whatever, it doesn't make that much of an impact on the reserve. But again it still should be anything that would affect tax rate," Jones said.

Kennedy says folks at the Office of Elections will use the entire 30 days allowed to verify signatures. Those signatures will then be presented to county commissioners in mid December. If you want to vote in that May 9th Election, you must be registered to vote by April 9th. You can pick up a registration form at the post office or at the Office of Elections.

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