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North Augusta says yes to referendum

Posted: November 13, 2012 - 4:42pm

North Augusta will soon join area cities that allow Sunday alcohol sales.

The local question was on the Nov. 6 ballot and nearly 70 percent of voters said “yes”, according to election results from the Aiken County Registration and Elections office.

Restaurants will be able to sell alcohol by the drink for on-premise consumption. Grocery and convenience stores will be able to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption. Liquor stores are not included.

Businesses will have to apply for a permit through the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

There will be a $100 nonrefundable filing fee to process the application. A permit will cost $50 per Sunday or businesses may choose to purchase a 52-week temporary permit for $3,000.

Businesses in North Augusta can apply for permits once the department of revenue receives a copy of the referendum and a copy of the election commission certification of the election results.

Rep. Bill Hixon of North Augusta sponsored a bill that allowed cities the option to place such referendums on the ballot during county, state and presidential elections rather than having to wait until the municipality’s general election.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill in June.

Hixon noted that it also allows cities to place the question before voters during elections that usually have higher turnout.

“That would give you a better sampling of the people,” he said.

In July, city council voted to place the referendum before voters.

Now that it has passed, restaurants have an incentive to locate in North Augusta, said Hixon.

He also hopes that it will help open Interstate 20 areas at Martintown and Edgefield roads to further development.

“We can go out and recruit restaurants and hotels,” he said. “We’re in dire need of that in North Augusta.”

Terra Carroll, president of the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the passed referendum is a good thing for economic development opportunities.

“It opens the door to increase the tax base,” she said.

From a chamber perspective, further development also means that more people traveling I-20 will stop in North Augusta, she said.

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