Elections

North Texas cities decide on liquor sales, term limits, transit

A sign opposing the sale of hard liquor was displayed last month in front of Waffle Way, a popular local breakfast restaurant. Grapevine voters on Tuesday were asked to decide whether to approve liquor sales.
A sign opposing the sale of hard liquor was displayed last month in front of Waffle Way, a popular local breakfast restaurant. Grapevine voters on Tuesday were asked to decide whether to approve liquor sales. Star-Telegram

Voters in several North Texas cities went to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to allow packaged hard liquor sales.

The alcohol-related measures were among a slew of propositions in Tarrant County and the surrounding area. For example, in Colleyville, residents were asked to decide on term limits for City Council members. And in Richland Hills, voters decided to leave the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which for roughly 15 years has provided the city with Trinity Railway Express service.

In the liquor sale referendums, voters in many cities said yes. In Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 — an area that includes far north Fort Worth, Haltom City, Hurst, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills and Watauga — results from all precincts showed 64.5 percent of voters favored allowing packaged liquor sales, while 35.5 percent opposed it.

But in Grapevine, where the alcohol issue known as Proposition 1 has been particularly hot and was opposed by Mayor William D. Tate, 54.1 percent of voters were against the measure and 45.9 percent were for it — based on results from all precincts.

These liquor stores will forever change the family-friendly dynamic of Grapevine and its historic downtown.

Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate

The alcohol measure was placed on the ballot by a political action committee representing liquor retailer Total Wine & More. But Tate and others argued that expanded sale of alcohol would hurt local wineries and neighborhoods. “These liquor stores will forever change the family-friendly dynamic of Grapevine and its historic downtown,” Tate wrote in an open letter to residents.

More city-by-city details:

We have a number of customers in the Metroplex, and we listened to our customers ... and our customers said they wanted to have a store close to them.

Edward Cooper, Total Wine & More

Roanoke

Residents of Roanoke, on the border of Tarrant and Denton counties, were being asked to legalize the sale of all alcoholic drinks, including mixed beverages. Voters in 2010 legalized the sale of packaged liquor in their town over the objections of local elected leaders, but restaurants that sold hard liquor had to generate at least 51 percent of their income from food sales.

Texans drink 3 million gallons of hard liquor per month, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. That’s the equivalent of 384 million shots of whiskey!

With all precincts reporting, 79.2 percent of voters favored expanding alcohol sales, while 20.8 opposed it.

Richland Hills

Residents were deciding for a fourth time in the past 12 years whether to remain in the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which collects a half-cent sales tax and provides bus and rail service. The city has been a member of the T for 24 years, but public transportation has always been controversial, as many residents don’t feel the services are a good value. Residents previously voted to stay in the T in 2004, 2010 and earlier this year.

With all precincts reporting, only 44.7 percent of voters favored staying in the T, while 55.3 percent wanted to leave.

Azle

School officials asked voters to weigh in on a $59.5 million bond proposal to build and renovate schools and install security upgrades. With all precincts reporting, 71.1 percent of voters favored the proposition, while 28.9 percent opposed it.

Colleyville

Voters considered five proposals that would create term limits, allow electronic voting by the City Council, require that some appointments receive City Council approval, eliminate an aging provision of the charter and address personal financial interests. In early voting, residents indicated they were overwhelmingly in favor of all five propositions. For example, with all precincts reporting, 86.2 percent of voters favored limiting elected officials to no more than two three-year terms as mayor and two three-year terms as City Council members — for a total of no more than 12 consecutive years.

Everman

Residents were asked whether they want to continue paying taxes into the Crime Control and Prevention district. With all precincts reporting, 87.4 percent of voters were in favor of continuing the tax, while 12.6 percent were against it.

Flower Mound

Voters considered whether to amend the Town Council’s charter to set council terms at three years, determine when a council member forfeits his or her office and delete old parts of the town’s charter. A whopping 94.4 percent of voters favored allowing City Council members to serve up to two consecutive three-year terms, while 5.6 percent opposed it.

Grand Prairie

In Grand Prairie, voters were asked whether the city may sell 24 acres of land within Central Park. With all precincts reporting, 65.2 percent of voters favored the measure and 35.8 percent opposed it.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

On Election Day 2016, Fort Worth residents put aside their political differences and share what is most important to them in the years ahead.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson

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