The measure was brought back before the council in a special called meeting on Monday after the call for a referendum failed by one vote earlier this month.
The results were different this time with Councilman Richard Bracknell — who had joined Councilman Jay Mann and Councilwoman Hiley Miller in voting against the referendum on March 5 — changing his mind.
“I’m not voting to put anything on the ballot that legalizes anything,” Bracknell said of his change of heart. “The councils that were here prior to me voted to allow the sale of beer and wine alcohol.
“This is just a question of whether we want to extend that one more day and I really think this is something for the community (to decide). If they don’t want sales of alcohol on Sundays, they’ve got to come out (to vote) and if they want it, they’ve got to come out.”
Mann and Miller again voted against the referendum and Councilwoman Terron Bivins and Councilman William Simmons joined Bracknell in voting in favor of the referendum.
Bracknell said one reason he cast his vote against the referendum earlier this month was partly due to the way it was presented to the council.
“It wasn’t a good presentation and I should have thought through it a little bit better,” he said. “I said the last time I was having some difficulty with it and I was hoping those who wanted it or those who were against it would be there to give input and neither side was there.”
That wasn’t the case Monday as every Temple store that could potentially be affected by a positive vote on the referendum was represented.
“I’m representing the business owners and managers in the community and we wanted to reinforce our want for Sunday sales,” said Stefan McDonald of Flying J. “We think we’re potentially losing sales on Saturday and Sunday to Villa Rica, who has Sunday sales.”
Bhavesh Patel of Super Thrift reiterated McDonald’s comments, adding that Villa Rica is the only city in West Georgia to currently allow Sunday alcohol sales and customers from cities throughout the region are going there to purchase their beer and wine. To have the ability in Temple to pull those customers would help local businesses, he said.
“Anything can help at this point,” Patel said.
Bracknell agreed that it’s an economic issue, one he believes will continue until the city’s voters have their collective say in the matter to put the issue to rest.
“I personally believe this is an economic issue so all of these merchants will keep coming back until they have the opportunity,” Bracknell said. “If the community doesn’t want the sales, then show up and vote.”
The next available ballot for the referendum would be July 31.
However, City Attorney Cynthia Daley said the city needs about 90 days to set the election. If the logistics of the referendum can’t be worked out in time, it would be pushed back to the November election.
“It’s going to be tight,” Daley said.