Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer
It’s Friday night. All the right people are with you. The party starts, the music’s up loud and the shots keep coming, when suddenly that bottle of vodka is empty. Time for somebody sober to drive up the road to the liquor store, right? Wrong, if you live in Denton.
Denton should vote in favor of the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages, including liquor.
The passage of the proposition would allow liquor sales without the private club membership requirements in place under the current city laws. It would also allow liquor stores to open within the city limits.
The effort to make Denton wet came to the forefront earlier this year when more than a dozen local bar owners and volunteers presented the city council with a petition signed by about 7,000 people.
The measure was approved by the city council, and now Denton voters can determine the city’s future.
Unfortunately, alcohol sales have taken a back seat to the hydraulic fracturing ban. The legal sale of alcohol should be of more importance to voters.
Because of the liquor ban, bar owners are forced to pay about $3,000 a year to maintain membership lists, according to an article in the Denton Record Chronicle. That’s $3,000 a year those small business owners could use for maintenance, salaries, development and more booze.
Dan’s Silverleaf owner Marcus Watson said it is estimated that Denton misses out on $700,000 a year in sales tax revenue to other cities because those cities, like Corinth, allow the sale of liquor. That is a small amount of the city’s income, but only by comparison.
An extra $700,000 a year means more expansion for Denton, a city that is growing faster each year. That money could be used for projects that require expensive bond packages. That’s almost $1 million the city needs. Think of the benefits to extra spending money.
There’s a prominent public safety debate, and rightly so, on the issue. With two major universities here, voters should consider the increased amount of bar traffic on Fry Street and other locations. The number of drunken drivers will surely increase if bars begin more freely serving drinks.
But that $700,000 could fund designated driver programs. With bar owners saving the estimated $3,000 a year, that alleviates some of the pressure to sell. And without pressure to sell, the barkeepers could cut off drinkers sooner, creating a safer environment than before.
Liquor sales in the city should not affect the rate of drunken drivers on the streets, but should it need increased law enforcement to cut down the number of drunkards behind the wheel, queue the $700,000.
Many UNT students like to drink. They are away from their parents, exposed to freedom and beer. A good portion of college students experiment with parties and drinking. The argument that the liquor ban stops underage drinking is completely false.
It’s easy to get alcohol even as an underage college student. Somebody always knows somebody who can get it. And as the consumption of alcohol will never end, Denton should allow the sale of liquor instead of ignoring the issue, which is what has happened until this point.
Rather than ignoring the issue, Denton safety officials should pay attention to it to ensure that recreational drinking occurs in a safe and responsible manner.
Denton is an old, conservative town with a growing liberal population of college students and alumni. It’s time for the city to catch up, and it can start by voting for liquor sales. Do not allow Denton to lose thousands each year.
Featured Image: Bottles of Jim Beam bourbon wait patiently for customers at Buckeye Liquor Store to take them home. Dentonites will vote over the next couple of weeks whether or not to make Denton a wet city. Photo by Christina Ulsh – Contributing Photographer