Kiowa County_Kiowa County Commissioners have tabled a proposal to allow residents to vote to lift the ban on the sale of liquor by the drink. The ban has been in effect in that county since the prohibition era, but now some local groups want it lifted and say they think the ban keeps big business from their communities. Other residents say the ban is a good thing, and that money earned by lifting it would be at the cost of increased alcohol related deaths. The commissioners have sent the proposal to the District Attorney's Office to make sure it won't cost them any money.
Kiowa County saw this same issue four years ago when it was defeated by only 40 votes - now, it's back. If doesn't cost the county, it could be up for another vote. Hobart resident Kelly Levingston says that the Kiowa County Commissioners should allow folks to vote on selling liquor by the glass. "I just think it'd be a good idea," she said. "We might have ordered a margarita today," she laughed. "I think it would help the economy because we might have some other businesses that would look toward going in."
Hobart Economic Development Board Member Lou Sims says the ban keeps hotel and restaurant chains from coming to the area. "They mark you off of the radar screen until that's done," he says. Sims says that with a declining population, the county has to keep trying to get new businesses to come to the area - he says passing this law will help bring them in. "If you don't try, guess what will happen? It will dry up and blow away," he says.
Local restaurant owner Gia Wisdom says that if a liquor by the glass law passes, it could be bad for the community. "Hobart and Kiowa County is more of a family-oriented place," she said. And, other say it's morally and ethically wrong to drink liquor and would increase the number of alcohol related deaths in the county.
However, Sims says it will help the economy of the entire country. "Right at the intersection of 183, 62 is a busy highway. Why couldn't there be a name brand hotel and a nice restaurant there?" he says. Regardless of the commissioner's decision, Wisdom says she won't serve liquor by the glass.
The commissioners say that they should have the paperwork back from the DA's office in time for the July 31, meeting when they'll decide whether to add the issue to the ballot. Count on 7News to keep you updated.
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