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Pembroke residents to vote on liquor sales
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Pembroke residents will get to decide in November whether their city allows restaurants to serve liquor, after council members voted Monday to put the measure on the ballot.

The resolution follows inquiries from chain restaurants looking to locate in the city, according to City Council members who did not name the restaurants but called the measure a possible economic development tool — but only if residents want it.

Pembroke already allows restaurants to serve beer and wine with meals as long as 60 percent of the restaurant’s sales are food. The city also allows the purchase of beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores, but does not allow package sales of liquor in the city limits.

If it passes, the referendum will not change that, officials said, noting it is strictly for on-premises consumption in restaurants. Still, they expect residents to have strong opinions about whether Pembroke should allow liquor by the drink to be consumed in restaurants in the city.

“That’s the reason we’re putting it on the ballot for them to decide,” Mayor Judy Cook said.

The referendum will ask whether Pembroke should be authorized to issue licenses for the sale of distilled spirits for “beverage purposes by the drink, such sales to be for consumption only on the premises.” Voters can choose yes or no.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council appointed Edward Winter to its ethics committee and approved a proclamation naming May “Community Action Month.”

Police Chief Randy Alexander reported on the department’s recent disposal of outdated records, totaling 25 boxes of old police, court and miscellaneous records from 1998-2008 that were shredded.

Clerk of Public Works Ricky McCoy said Georgia Power plans to change the city’s street lighting to LED, at no cost to the city. Canoochee EMC has already changed some street lights over to light emitting diodes.

The council also approved a request from Athens Holiness Church to hold a bucket brigade fundraiser from 8 a.m. until noon June 4 at Lanier Street, and approved an intergovernmental agreement on automatic mutual aid between the Pembroke and Bryan County fire departments.

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