On November 7, 2013, Bonham Committee for Economic Growth, group consisting of local residents, business and community leaders and many local businesses, presented two petitions to local voters.
One petition called for a vote for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only. This would only allow beer and wine sales in businesses such as grocery and convenience stores but would not allow package liquor sales or liquor stores.
The second petition states "for the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only." This would only allow state-recognized restaurants to serve alcohol without requiring the "private club" memberships. This would not allow stand-alone bars or nightclubs.
State law required each petition to have at least 444 valid signatures of registered Bonham voters within 60 days in order to cause a local election to be called. Both petitions garnered more than 500 signatures in less than two weeks and were presented to City of Bonham Secretary Janell Jamieson for verification. After cross-checking voter registration records provided by the Fannin County Clerk, it was determined that both petitions had 503 valid signatures.
The petitions were presented to Bonham City Council and, as dictated by state law, city council members accepted the petitions at a regular meeting Monday, February 10, 2014 and called for an election as follows:
Proposition 1: The legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption
Proposition 2: The legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only
The election will be held May 10, 2014.
Allen Sanderson, Vice Chairman and President of Fannin Bank and Treasurer of Bonham Committee for Economic Growth was the only citizen to address council members in regard to the potential impact of the two Propositions on local businesses.
Mr. Sanderson expressed concern that not only is Bonham losing sales tax revenue from beer and wine sales, but the current dry status puts a wide spectrum of Bonham businesses at an economic disadvantage because when a local resident travels to buy a bottle of wine, he or she is likely to do other retail shopping while out of town.
"They are paying their taxes to Sherman, Denison, Melissa, McKinney, Trenton, Wolfe City and Oklahoma," stated Sanderson. "It's time those sales taxes come home to Bonham to improve our quality of life. The question is, 'Do we want our fair share of economic growth?' I would vote yes."
Council members from Ward Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are also up for election in May. Ruth Ann Thomas represents Ward No. 2, H.L. Compton represents Ward No. 3 and Glenn Taylor represents Ward No. 4.