When facing divisive public issues, we're almost always in favor of putting them to a vote as opposed to having officials legislate based on their personal morality.
We were encouraged that the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 last week to put alcohol by the drink to a public vote in November.
Commissioners Mort Ewing and J.C. Henderson had voted against putting alcohol by the drink to a vote in the past, but Ewing was absent and Henderson said he was told by constituents that they didn't want Henderson's morals pushed on them.
It's refreshing to see Mr. Henderson put on his big-boy pants, listen to his constituents and vote to represent them instead of being used as a political pawn by fellow commissioners. We look forward to working with this new J.C. Henderson.
Assuming the public approves alcohol by the drink, and that appears to be a safe assumption, restaurant sales will be allowed only on portions of the Almon Road corridor and in the Stanton Springs industrial park. Portions of Salem Road are expected to follow shortly after.
We'd like to see alcohol sales extended to other areas, but we don't mind the county taking a patient approach to the subject, as long as they don't delay too much.
Chamber officials tell us that if this referendum passes, Newton County will be able to attract higher-class restaurants and hotels that add new tax revenues sorely needed by a struggling county. Alcohol by the drink is not a cure all, but it gives restaurants one less reason to consider bypassing Newton County. We hope its one step in the continued development of our county.