Portales citizens will have a choice on Tuesday as to whether or not more restaurants in the city will be allowed to serve a glass of beer or wine with a meal.
If Portales voters approve the measure, the Alcohol and Gaming Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department can begin to grant beer and wine licenses to Portales restaurant owners. Restaurant owners can pay a one-time fee of $1,050, and renew the license annually for $250.
Voting will be Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at four locations in Portales — Ward A at Lindsey Grade School, Ward B at the Memorial Building, Ward C at L.L. Brown Grade School and Ward D at Calvary Baptist Church. Voters must be registered to vote in Roosevelt County and live within the Portales city limits.
The cost of a beer and wine license is much less than the current option, a liquor license. Portales mayor Orlando Ortega said that The Roosevelt and Cattle Baron paid an average of $150,000 for their licenses, but those licenses allow the establishments to serve other types of alcoholic beverages and do not carry the same restrictions as the beer and wine licenses would.
The beer and wine license comes with its own set of restrictions and regulations. If a restaurant owner does want to apply, he or she must follow these restrictions:
• Restaurant must submit evidence that they have a current valid food service establishment permit.
• The primary source of revenue from the restaurant will be derived from meals and not from the sale of beer and wine.
• Not less than 60 percent of gross receipts from the preceding 12 months operation of the licensed restaurant were derived from the sale of meals.
• The restaurant must submit an annual report to the state indicating the annual gross receipts from the sale of meals and from beer and wine sales.
• Restaurant licenses cannot sell beer and wine for consumption off the licensed premises.
• Licenses are non-transferrable.
• All employees of the restaurant must undergo alcohol server training within 30 days of employment.
• All sales, services and consumption of beer and wine shall cease at the time meal sales and services will stop of at 11 p.m., whichever is earlier.
• Customers are only allowed two drinks at one time. However, there is no limit set on how many drinks a customer can purchase at one sitting. That is up to the server’s discretion.
• The establishment cannot be within 300 feet of a church, school or military installation.
City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said if the option passes, she must contact the Alcohol and Gaming Division and if there is no contest to the election by Oct. 27, restaurants can begin applying for the licenses.