Fate’s City Council voted Monday night to set Saturday, May 5, as the date for a referendum on whether or not to liberalize rules for selling alcohol within the city.
On Jan. 4, City Secretary Vickie Raduechel received a petition with 660 verified signatures asking that sales of all alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks, be made legal in Fate.
Council members Joseph Burger and David Billings were among the original petitioners.
The city’s current regulations, adopted in 2015, permit only on-premises sales of beer and wine in establishments meeting the state’s threshold for definition as a restaurant — having at least 50 percent of all revenues come from the sale of food.
A “yes” from Fate voters on May 5 would permit the opening of bars and brewpubs. Royse City passed a similar referendum in 2016 and now has a brewpub on Main Street.
“I want to stress that all we’re doing is putting it on the ballot for the citizens to decide,” said Mayor Lorne Megyesi. “There’s been comment on social media that the city is ‘pushing’ this measure, but we’re not pushing it. We’re just doing what’s required.”
The council was advised by Tonya Travis, a representative of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, to consider drafting an ordinance regulating establishments selling liquor in advance of the May 5 vote.
“If it passes, applicants will be lining up outside the City Secretary’s door the next Monday,” Travis said. “Without knowing how the vote will go, you may want to be prepared.”
City Manager Michael Kovacs confirmed he’s been receiving inquiries from businessmen interested in obtaining permission to sell liquor.
Also on the May 5 ballot will be three-year terms for two seats on the council. Position 1 is being vacated by Nikki Robinson, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, and Position 5 is held by Billings, who is seeking re-election.
In other action, the council:
• Approved spending $152,000 to allow for burial of overhead utility lines in the designated downtown area.
• Authorized the city’s Public Safety Department to apply for inclusion in the state’s body-worn camera program.