CLEVELAND - The City of Cleveland could decide soon to have a referendum on the sale of liquor by the drink, if the support for the idea shown Thursday night at a public hearing is any indication.
The city council set up the public hearing to hear from the public about the issue. An overwhelming majority of the 30 or so people who attended the meeting indicated they wanted the issue to be placed before the voters in the city.
Most of those speaking, including restaurant owner Ed Ward, connected distilled spirits sales to increased business and growth in the city.
Ward told the council, "We need this to create jobs."
He pointed out where liquor by the drink is allowed restaurant workers earn more money.
When asked about the tax revenue from alcohol sales, Councilman Rush Mauney said from July 2012 until June 2013 alcohol tax revenue collected was $103,247.
"It's nothing to sneeze at, but its no windfall," Mauney said.
He pointed out that alcohol incidents have gone up since beer and wine sales were approved in the city.
Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley said they now will have to make a decision on the issue, and that could come at the regular council meeting April 14.
Sunday alcohol sales also were discussed. That is a different issue and will require that 35 percent of the registered voters in the city sign a petition asking for it to be placed on a ballot.
At the end of the public hearing, Mauney encouraged those attending to get involved with other issues in the city like they have the alcohol issue.