GEORGETOWN — A few residents gratefully shook Alan Gibson's hand after he was the only council member to vote against Sunday alcohol sales Monday evening.
"I have nothing against drinking," Gibson said after the meeting. But he asked, aren't "six days enough?"
This time, the answer in Georgetown was no. The Georgetown City Council legalized Sunday alcohol sales at restaurants from 1 p.m. until midnight, which will become effective immediately after the ordinance is published. Restaurant owners must obtain a special license, which costs $300, for Sunday sales.
The vote followed a few passionate pleas from Georgetown residents on both sides of the issue.
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James Snyder, who was in favor of the ordinance, said he wasn't surprised by the outcome.
"Sunday alcohol sales will benefit the city of Georgetown," he said.
Many proponents said the ordinance would keep folks from venturing south to Lexington on Sundays to dine at restaurants that serve alcohol.
But Georgetown resident Angie Tedder, who said she attends Clays Mill Road Baptist Church, was saddened by the outcome. She told the council members that Sunday would no longer be "special like it used to be" if they passed the ordinance.
"I'm asking you; I'm begging you," Tedder said, addressing council members. "It's not worth it to change the fabric of this community."
Leaving City Hall, Tedder said she was thankful to Gibson for voting no.
"This is irreversible," she said. "It's a slap in God's face. That's why I have tears in my eyes."
The council rejected a similar proposal last year.
But this time, members said alcohol sales will help the city generate money as it struggles with a $3 million budget deficit this year. The ordinance could generate about $15,000 each year for the city.
After comments from the audience, there was silence among council members when Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames asked whether anyone wanted to comment on the ordinance, which had been discussed at several Saturday morning workshops.
At first, it appeared the council would vote without talking about the ordinance during the meeting. Then council member David Lusby chimed in.
"It's not an easy decision," Lusby said. "These are difficult times; these are challenging times."
Lusby said he's never had a beer, never been drunk, is a Christian and discussed the issue with his minister.
He addressed the people who said they would not vote for a council member who voted for Sunday alcohol sales, saying "the Bible talks a lot about forgiveness and understanding."
Several other council members also shared reasons for the way they planned to vote.
Council member Connie Tackett said she no longer drinks, but alcohol sales would attract more restaurants to Georgetown and create more jobs.
Tackett said she would not judge someone who drinks on Sunday.
"Like everything in life, it's a choice," Tackett said.