Bamberg County Council may ask voters to decide if alcohol sales should be allowed on Sunday.

“I’ve gotten a number of calls, plus I work across the river, too, in Orangeburg County. Of course, they sell alcohol on Sundays in Orangeburg, and they also sell it in Colleton County. So we’re pretty much surrounded, and we’re probably losing some tax dollars over this,” Councilman Phil Myers said Monday.

“I think we ought to try to see if we can get it on a ballot for June or November and have an election to see if we can get it amended where we can sell alcohol in Bamberg County,” he said.

County Council is waiting for additional information, including the cost of a referendum and how much tax revenue could potentially be brought in, before deciding whether to bring the issue before voters.

During Monday’s council meeting, County Administrator Joey Preston gave council an outline of procedures necessary to authorize the sale of alcohol on Sundays in the county.

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“In a nutshell, there’s got to be a countywide referendum on it. The county council can adopt an ordinance to have this referendum. You’re going to probably need to start at the next meeting because you have to have a series of public hearings with it,” Preston said.

He continued, “There’s certain notice requirements. We have to get our legal team to make sure we notice everything properly … and there’s certain time requirements for those notices. It may vary a little differently, say, from just having a county council meeting.”

The administrator said the county ordinance must contain certain information, including the form of the question which must appear on the referendum ballot, and that the referendum can only occur on certain days.

“Because we have a general election coming up, you can have it (the referendum). The county pays the cost,” he said.

Preston also noted that municipalities within the county don’t have to follow suit, even if the countywide referendum is passed.

“The county can pass it because it’s a county referendum, but it means nothing to the cities unless the cities sign an intergovernmental agreement with the county. So, in other words, if Bamberg wanted to do it, all they would need to do is really do an intergovernmental agreement and they would sign it, and then it would work inside the city. You may have some cities that don’t want to do it,” he said.

Councilman Clint Carter said, “What I’m hearing, if the city’s taking it up, then we really don’t have a say in the fight.”

Preston said, “Well, they could do their own referendum if they wanted to. They could do that, or the county could do it, and then they’d have to sign an agreement with you.”

Councilman Evert Comer Jr. said, “Just like with the masks, we passed it, and other municipalities bought into it, right?”

Preston said, “No, they didn’t. The larger cities did, but the smaller communities did not.”

Carter said, “I would like to know what it costs to get it on the ballot. … If the cities want to do it, I would be more in favor of just letting the cities that want to do it, let them inquire that cost. Nothing against you, Mr. Myers. It don’t matter to me.

“I think if you’re going to drink, you ought to be responsible enough to get what they want to drink on Sunday on Saturday. That’s just my opinion.”

Comer said, “I say let them buy what they want to drink on Sunday … on a Saturday.”

Councilman Larry Haynes said, “People losing money in Bamberg by not having it here. So why not have it here?”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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