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No “brunch bill” for city businesses

Voters will decide this fall whether to allow restaurants in Forsyth County can serve alcohol an hour and a half earlier on Sundays, but that will not include restaurants in the city of Cumming.

Mayor Troy Brumbalow told the Forsyth County News on Tuesday city voters will not be able to vote this November on whether the serving time for alcoholic beverages on Sunday can be moved from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m. on Sundays.

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 17, often referred to as the “brunch bill,” which amended the state law and gave voters in municipalities the ability to decide the times.

Brumbalow said any decision would need to be made this week by the Cumming City Council, which does not meet until a work session next week.

“We only found out about this potentially going in the ballot yesterday,” Brumbalow said.

The mayor said there were no plans to call a special meeting to approve calling for a vote.

“I’ve talked with all the council members, and we were all unanimous in the fact that we would not be putting it on the ballot for city voters,” Brumbalow said.

Brumbalow said he had a “personal conviction” regarding the bill.

“I’m not looking down on anybody else. Everybody has a right to make their own choices,” Brumbalow said. “But, I’m at church at 11 o’clock on Sundays, so I couldn’t tell you how many people are out eating lunch between 11 and 12.”

He said the meeting would not be held due to “both” time constraints and lack of interest from city officials.

Brumbalow also questioned the bill only applying to restaurants, not stores that sold alcohol by the package, such as gas stations or grocery stores.

“To me, it seems like some lobbyists got to some legislators,” Brumbalow said. “Why only in a restaurant? If you’re going to lower the time, why aren’t you going to lower it everywhere? We don’t see that there’s that big of a demand.”

While city businesses won’t be affected, the question will still be on city ballots regarding business in unincorporated Forsyth County. Brumbalow said the bill could come back in the future.

At a recent regular meeting, Forsyth County Commissioners approved asking the county’s election board to add the bill to Nov. 6 ballot. The election board approved the request on Monday.