Arlington liquor proposition cruises to easy passage

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Arlington gave overwhelming approval to booze Tuesday night, with nearly two-thirds of voters supporting a proposal allowing package liquor stores to open in the city limits for the first time.

It was one of dozens of local measures that appeared to be on the verge of passing in North Texas, including a $20 million Azle school bond package, a $3.2 million Bedford park bond package and a measure to continue a local sales tax in Sansom Park for street repairs, according to unofficial and incomplete results.

But not everything passed: Several city charter amendment proposals were defeated in Richland Hills, as was a street bond proposition in Keller.

In Arlington, though, residents were throwing their support behind a plan to let them buy hard liquor such as vodka and whiskey without traveling to another city — a measure that will also allow the sale of wine at Rangers Ballpark.

“It’s all about revenue for us,” Mayor Robert Cluck said, adding that sales tax money is used for expenditures ranging from paying off the AT&T Stadium debt to fixing city streets. “People are going to drink. They are going to buy their liquor somewhere.

“We want them to buy it here for the sales tax revenue.”

The measure had nearly 70 percent approval.

“I think the citizens of Arlington can handle the sale of alcohol just like the rest of Tarrant County,” Councilman Charlie Parker said. “As long as they [liquor stores] comply with our ordinances, such as being at least 100 feet away from our schools, we will be just fine.”

Supporters said allowing liquor stores would bring new sales taxes to the city.

But not everyone favored the idea.

Dixie Medford, who has lived in Arlington for five years, said she opposed liquor stores because of crime concerns.

“Every city that is wet has more problems,” said Medford, who previously served on the City Council in Denison, which had liquor stores. “Liquor by the drink at restaurants is one thing.”

City leaders are now exploring what power they may have to regulate where liquor stores may open. The council could extend the buffer between liquor stores and certain other establishments to 300 feet.

The Texas Rangers, along with the Texas Hospitality Association, donated nearly $200,000 to the Keep Arlington $ Here political action committee. No organized opposition campaigned against the proposition.

The Rangers’ concession operator, Metroplex Sportservice, held a temporary permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow wine sales at a handful of kiosks on the concourse and club levels for fans to drink in certain seating areas.

The election will allow the concession operator to apply for a permit to sell wine on a permanent basis for on-site consumption.

Other issues

Here’s a look at other issues on the ballot, according to incomplete and unofficial returns.

Azle school district: A $20 million bond package to build a career and technology center, a gym and a fire sprinkler system at Azle High School passed with nearly 61 percent of the vote, according to the district.

Bedford: A proposal to issue $3.2 million in bonds for park improvements drew support from more than 62 percent of voters, with 10 of 13 precincts reporting.

Benbrook Water Authority: The race for the board of directors was tight, with only a few percentage points separating the candidates with the most and fewest votes. Rick Whitehurst was in the lead with nearly 29 percent of the vote, followed by David Clark with 24.8 percent, Dennis Lindgron with 24.65 percent and Gary Corlies with nearly 22 percent, with seven of eight precincts reporting. The top three will serve on the board.

Burleson: Voters approved most of the big-dollar proposals Tuesday, giving the green light to spending $12.8 million for streets, $1.8 million for public safety radio equipment, and $5 million for police station acquisition and improvements. But they rejected spending $750,000 to restore the Nola Dunn Gymnasium for possible use as a performing arts center.

Crowley: All six propositions passed overwhelmingly Tuesday night. They were measures to authorize the local sales tax for the Crowley Economic Development Corp., to let the City Council fill a vacancy by either special election or appointment, to amend the charter to resolve conflicts with state law, to require the city manager to become a resident of the city or live within 20 miles of the city limits, to remove a duplicated sentence in the charter and to require the city manager to submit a balanced budget.

Flower Mound: One vote was cast in the Tarrant County portion of the town to approve a plan to create River Walk Public Improvement District No. 1 and issue up to $16 million in bonds.

Haltom City: An Truong led the race to fill the unexpired term in City Council Place 7, with nearly 62 percent of the vote to Willis O’Dell’s 38 percent, with 10 of 12 precincts reporting. At the same time, 82 percent of voters were approving a reauthorization of the local sales and use tax to continue providing money to repair and maintain streets.

Keller: A proposal to issue $8.2 million to build and improve city streets failed by three votes, with 50.05 percent opposed, according to complete but unofficial results.

Lake Worth school district: Sandra Tilley was leading in the race for Place 2 trustee, with 57 percent of the vote to Kelton Young’s 43 percent, with nine of 10 precincts reporting.

Lewisville school district: One vote was cast in the Tarrant County portion of the city for Tracy Scott Miller, who faces Angie Cox and Paige Shoven in a three-way race for Place 3 on the school board.

Richland Hills: Voters appeared to reject proposals to set three-year terms for mayors and council members, with 57 percent opposed; to eliminate term limits, with 78 percent opposed; to clarify that the city manager is the chief executive officer, with 51.2 percent opposed; and to amend the charter to clarify planning and zoning issues, with 50.71 percent opposed, according to complete but unofficial results.

At the same time, a measure to amend the charter to make sure it conforms with state laws on municipal judges won narrow passage, with 53 percent approval. A proposal to make sure contract and purchase procedures comply with state law drew 67 percent support. And a measure to address charter provisions on eminent domain proposals drew 55 percent support.

Finally, a proposal to amend the charter to clarify recall petition procedures narrowly passed, with 50.16 percent approval, and a proposal to amend the charter to ensure compliance with state election laws drew 65 percent support.

Sansom Park: Voters agreed to reauthorize a local sales tax for street repairs, with 90 percent approval, according to unofficial but complete results.

White Settlement: Elzie Clements won the race for City Council Place 2, with nearly 53 percent of the vote. Garry Wilson followed with nearly 38 percent, and Amy Alvitre trailed with 9 percent. The margin in Place 3 was razor-thin, but Mike Arnold drew 51.5 percent of the vote to Johnny Powell’s 48 percent, according to complete but unofficial results.

Staff writer Elizabeth Campbell contributed to this report.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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