Final vote on 2 a.m. last call set for Dec. 15 in Buda

Buda City Council will vote Dec. 15 whether to enact an ordinance allowing bars and other establishments selling alcoholic drinks in the city to serve them until 2 a.m.

The measure was put to voters Nov. 3 and passed with 58.2 percent approval. On Dec. 1, Buda City Council voted to approve the ordinance on first reading by a 6-1 vote. Council Member George Haehn had the only dissenting vote.

"The voters have spoken," Mayor Todd Ruge said. "We've accepted the results. Now this is the next thing that we had to do was enact the ordinance."

Should the ordinance be enacted on Dec. 15 the city would need to issue a public notice. City Secretary Alicia Ramirez said the notice could be published on either Dec. 16 or Dec. 23.

After this is done businesses may begin applying for a late-hours permit. Applications will be subject to review by the city, and applicants must pay a fee. With city approval, businesses can then seek approval by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Ramirez said.

"From my understanding in speaking with TABC reps, once the approval is obtained from the city, a permit may be finalized within 7-10 days," she said.

According to state law any city with a population of less than 500,000 according to the last U.S. Census must enact an ordinance allowing alcohol sale hours to extend beyond the normal hours of 1 a.m. Sunday and midnight on all other days. Buda's population in the 2010 U.S. Census was 7,343.

TABC licensing officials said an applicant's late-hours permit must be concurrent with their mixed-beverage permit. Permits are issued on a two-year basis and cost $627, said Joanne Joseph, TABC's assistant director for licensing.

Businesses with mixed-beverage permits in Buda can either pay for a new two-year mixed-beverage permit to obtain a late-hours permit or wait until their current mixed-beverage permit expires.

Darren Spohn—owner of Pinballz Kingdom, 15201 S. I-35, Buda—said he plans to apply for a late-hours permit once Buda mixed-beverage permit holders become eligible.

Julie Renfro, owner of downtown Buda restaurant Tavern on Main, said she may wait until her current permit expires in June.

“I think that is going to save me some money,” Renfro said. “2 a.m. service in Buda is not terribly crucial at this point.”
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