Robinson residents won’t get to cast a vote for city council members since all candidates are running unopposed, but the city will get to decide on a proposal to ease restrictions on alcohol sales.
Registered voters starting Monday can cast their ballot for or against the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food-and-beverage license holders.
The measure made its way to the ballot after a group of residents banded together to collect enough signatures supporting the initiative. Almost 1,200 residents signed the petition.
City Secretary Jana Lewellen said there’s no indication this type of local option election has been on the ballot before in Robinson, though there was an attempt two years ago that failed because of a lack of signatures.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 joint general election runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 29, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 30, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 through Nov. 4. Residents can vote at any of the five following voting centers no matter where they live: McLennan County Elections administration office in the Records Building, 214 North Fourth St., suite 300 in Waco; Robinson Community Center, 106 W. Lyndale Drive; Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center, 1020 Elm St.; First Assembly of God Church, 6701 Bosque Blvd., in Waco; Brazos Meadows Baptist Church, 625 S. Hewitt Drive.
Supporters of the proposition think approval would help bring additional tax dollars to town, reducing the burden on residents, said Linda Vaughn, Greater Robinson Chamber of Commerce president.
Vaughn said there may be two to three restaurants in town that would expand their menu to include alcoholic beverages if the measure passes. But, she said, the chamber envisions the approved measure bringing in new companies. Robinson has a lot of undeveloped land along Interstate 35 and Loop 340 ideal for more restaurants.
“A lot of those restaurants won’t locate here because we don’t have alcohol by the glass to offer to them, especially when they can go two miles down the road to set up,” she said.
Vaughn said she doesn’t envision alcohol sales moving to the heart of the city, but to the outskirts.
“There’s room for the best of both worlds — a quiet thriving bedroom community with a good school system and commerce to bring tax dollars in,” she said. “Robinson is big enough for both.”
Robinson resident Donna Hartstack helped lead the charge to collect enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
“I honestly and truly feel like our citizens have already spoken. I really do,” Hartstack said.
Sandwiched between Hewitt and Waco, Robinson residents must pass the measure in order to compete, she said.
“We need this for the growth of Robinson,” Hartstack said. “We’ve already got the infrastructure in place. It’s ready. That was handled by the city council and city manager a while back.”
Unopposed council candidates
Council Member Doye Baker opted to not run for re-election. Mayor Bert Echterling, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Mastergeorge and council member Jeremy Stivener each filed for one of the four at-large, council seats with two-year terms. Newcomer Steven Tindell will fill the fourth seat up for election.
The council will appoint the city’s mayor at a meeting following Election Day.