Referendum can put Sunday sales whispers to rest

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

Troy City Council members are quietly exploring the possibility of allowing Sunday sales of alcohol, a decision that could mean significant changes for businesses and tourism.

The proposal is still in its earliest stages. Council members are seeking legislative approval to hold a citywide referendum on the issue, asking voters quite simply: do you or don’t you approve of Sunday alcohol sales?

If the referendum is passed, the council members would be tasked with setting parameters for those sales through local ordinances, all of which would presumably pass through a lengthy process involving ample time for public input.  And we suspect there would be plenty of passionate public input.

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Proponents cite the economic advantages of allowing restaurants and businesses to sell beer, wine or alcohol with meals – a move that would increase profits and profitability. They cite the realities that neighboring cities – such as Montgomery – already allow patrons to purchase alcohol, and allowing the same in Troy levels the playing field and potentially keeps more revenue – and sales tax proceeds – here.

Moreover, tourists who visit – think football games at Troy University – might have an added incentive to stay longer in town on Sunday, enjoying a beer with their lunch while they watch an NFL game on a big screen at a local restaurant.

Opponents cite the obvious: Sunday is the Sabbath for Christians, a day dedicated to worship; prayer; and family. Selling alcohol, which many view as destructive and dangerous, contradicts those ideals and defiles the sanctity of the day.

It’s an ages-old debate, and the prospect of allowing some sort of limited sales of alcohol on Sundays has long been discussed and whispered about in Troy.

Now, the city council members are taking action, and giving the residents a chance to voice their opinion about what they want to see happen in their town.

And the important point to note is that the council members are giving us – the public – the chance to give our input.

It’s time to stop whispering about the laws or wishing for changes. It’s time to support the council’s efforts to have a public referendum on this issue.