Maud voters to decide on liquor sales this weekend

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By Heather Russell
Staff Reporter

Citizens in Maud go to the polls May 6, 2017 to vote on an issue that many residents believe will determine the future of their small town.  Enough signatures were collected in November 2016 to include a proposal on the ballot for the sale of liquor, beer, and wine, both on-premise and off-premise inside the city.  If passed, Maud will become the only place in Bowie County to sell hard liquor for off-premise consumption.
As expected, the upcoming vote is being hotly debated.  
Joe Barron, Maud resident, parent, and school district employee says he will vote against the measure.  “My main concern is our children,” said Barron.  “Twenty or thirty of our school kids walk from campus to a business each day for snacks and breakfast, and I’m uncomfortable with that place selling mixed drinks and liquor.”
On the other hand, Maud City Council candidate Dawna Montanelli says she is all for liquor sales.  “Other local municipalities have done the same and have seen benefits from the revenue with little to no adverse effects.”
Others running for alderman weighed in on the issue and agreed with Montanelli.  Logan Wilhite said, “It would be a great revenue generator for our city.”
Current city council alderman Debbie Mathis, who has also put in her bid for another term, stated, “I am one hundred percent for it.  We are losing millions in tax revenue by not having alcohol.”
Andy Baker, preacher of the Maud Church of Christ and father of three is not so convinced that alcohol sales will bring in the revenue that the measure’s proponents claim it will.  “There is not a whole lot of conclusive evidence as to the revenue that liquor stores will bring to this town.  Alcohol will change this community’s character in ways they haven’t thought about.”
New Boston, Redwater, and De Kalb all voted to legalize beer and wine sales in November 2015.  While De Kalb and New Boston saw slight increases in their tax revenue for 2016, at 7.6 percent and 1.64 percent, respectively, Redwater actually saw a decrease in revenue of 2.76 percent, according to the Texas State Comptroller website.  However, no specific data was available as to what percent of these cities’ total tax allocation was beer and wine sales.  Also, these numbers do not reflect the sale of liquor and mixed drinks, which will be available in Maud if the proposal passes.
Whether for or against the sale of liquor in their town, there is one thing that Maud residents agree on - the sale of liquor will drastically change the face of their tiny town.  Opponents like Andy Baker believe that if the measure passes, Maud will become known simply as “the place you go to get your booze,” while those in favor of liquor sales believe it will bring much-needed revenue to a town in desperate need of funds just to provide basic services for their citizens. 

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