Keller residents approved expanded liquor sales in their city, and also support for reauthorizing a quarter-cent sales tax for street maintenance.
In unofficial results, 69.80% were in favor of alcohol sales and 30.20% were against it. The proposed sales tax for street maintenance was supported by 80.86% percent and opposed by 19.14%.
Regarding liquor sales, the local option question was added to the ballot after nearly 7,850 people signed a petition for the measure. The item asks residents to vote yes or no on “the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages, including mixed beverages.”
Until recent years, much of Northeast Tarrant County had been dry since the Prohibition era. But the sale of packaged liquor as well as drinks served in bars and restaurants has loosened throughout the region since the 1990s, and alcohol of all kinds is now widely available in cities surrounding Keller.
Voters in nearby Fort Worth, Haltom City, Hurst, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Roanoke and Watauga all have expanded sales of alcoholic spirits in recent years.
An Austin firm that petitioned for the alcohol sales said the measure would add $230,000 annually in local sales tax revenue.
The measure also allows alcohol sales in an area near Keller Sports Park where sales have not been allowed. In that area, Blue Sky Sports Center recently received a private club license to serve mixed drinks, officials have said.
Keller voters’ support of the quarter-cent sales tax indicates that residents are eager for more city resources to be spent fixing the area’s crowded roads.
The city traditionally has paid for road work through a combination of dollars from the city’s general fund, which is mostly funded by property taxes, as well as the dedicated street maintenance sales tax.
The quarter-cent sales tax is expected to generate $1.6 million annually for four years, at which time it would expire unless voters approved it again.
The approval of the streets tax means that the city’s total sales tax rate will remain at 8.25 percent. At that rate, 25 cents of every $100 spent on taxable items in the city goes toward streets, according to the city website.
Since the street maintenance sales tax was last authorized in 2015, the money has been used to repair or repave 7.7 miles on 39 streets, including Rufe Snow Drive, Rapp Road and Keller-Smithfield Road.