UPDATE 03/17/2023: The city of Ruston is considering possible budget cuts if proposition number five fails.
Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said these major budget cuts could cause city services and personnel to suffer.
“I mean, if you start cutting $3 to $4 million out of your budget, it is going to have to come from somewhere. We hope that we will not have to cut personnel, but we don’t know. If it doesn’t pass, then I will be up all night on the 25th trying to figure out how we are going to do this.”
If all propositions pass, Walker says the additional estimated revenue would be between $1 and $2 million.
“These people are leaving our town to go to other cities to buy groceries and alcohol, and we are losing all that revenue. So, we would like to capture that as much as possible.”
One local, Cole Durbin, says some residents believe that by passing these propositions, that would allow grocery stores to sell high-content package alcohol, could increase the risk of accidents.
“They are very against the moving of these propositions and being that the concerns of public intoxication, and also the crime rate going up. I think a lot of people see that in the great scheme of things, and they say no this is not a great idea.”
“I don’t drink a whole lot. I just occasionally drink, but I feel for the people who would be laid off. I feel everyone needs their job. Some people would occasionally drink when they wanna come home and relax,” said Jawanna, another local.
Ruston officials recently approved a resolution to put alcohol sales regulations in place, within city limits, if all five alcohol propositions pass.
RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The Ruston City Council has approved a resolution to put a ‘zoning code’ in place within city limits if all five alcohol propositions pass.
The unanimous vote took place Monday, March 6 during a regular meeting. If those propositions pass, they will allow the city to regulate the number of bars and where package liquor could be sold. Those areas will include three North and South streets and some connectors.
“The city council voted to make just a certain area, an entertainment district, if you will, where bars can go, but there are still restrictions even on top of that,” said mayor Ronny Walker.
Walker says once a bar is approved, another bar cannot be approved closer than 1,320 feet.
“If a bar wants to come in, it comes in as a conditional use, so it has to go to planning zoning anyways. So, we just put some safeguards in place,” said Walker.
The new regulations include sections such as I-20 on the North, Vienna and Bonner on the East, California on the South and connecting streets. Walker says packaged liquor can only be sold in retail stores of 15,000 square feet or bigger.
“We did not want 50 or 60 stores within our city packaged liquor. So, the building has to be 15,000 square feet, and they have to sell something besides just alcohol. You can’t just have a liquor store,” explained Walker.
These new regulations will go into effect if all five propositions pass. However, Walker says these rules will remain in place even if those propositions do not pass.
“We are very confident to say you can go and vote yes on all five of those propositions,” he added.
Early voting begins March 11 and runs through the 18. Election day is March 25.