A firm from Arlington is aiding a local eatery in relieving themselves of an annual license in order to sell liquor by the drink.
Texas Petition Strategies has been seeking signatures from people in the city limits of Silsbee in an effort to add an item on the November ballot.
According to Silsbee City Manager Tommy Bartosh, the group needed 10 signatures from Silsbee residents in order to begin a petition.
The firm received the signatures and has since begun its petition drive.
The Chili’s restaurant on Highway 96 is currently selling liquor by the drink, but does so with the use of a special license from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission with a private club permit, which carries a fee as much as $20,000.
If the item makes it to the November ballot, Silsbee residents will have the right to vote to have any restaurant establishment the right to sell liquor by the drink, including Chili’s.
“We have to remember that this is not a permit to allow for the sell of drinks like a pool hall or a club,” Bartosh said. “There are stipulations to the permit that keep it to a restaurant only.”
If passed, the TABC will require that the establishment wishing to obtain a permit must carry a current beer and wine permit, and alcohol sales do not exceed 50% of total gross receipts.
All petition signatures must be from residents of Silsbee and registered voters. Only those counted will be those that participated in the last gubenatorial race.
In order for the petition to be granted a chance to be on a ballot, 35 percent of those that voted in the last gubenatorial race must be valid.
In the last race, there were 2,242 that voted, which would make the petition valid with 785 signatures.
The ballot item will be entirely up to the citizens with no control over the city council. The only say-so the council will have is to ensure that all 785 signatures are certified.
If an election is held, it will cost the city $3,000-$4,000.
In 2012, the City of Silsbee gained nearly $4,000 from sales tax revenue from Chili’s. They currently receive 14 percent sales tax revenue from mixed drink sales.