Sunday alcohol sales would start at noon or later

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunday alcohol sales in the City of Troy would be prohibited before noon, according to the language of pending legislation.

City officials are seeking legislative authority to hold a referendum on allowing Sunday sales of alcohol. As drafted, the local bill includes language that would limit sales to noon and after, a move officials said assures the sales would not conflict with most church services.

Council president Marcus Paramore had previously said the bill would remain vague and all encompassing to give the city more governing control of parameters, but said this measure was desired by the council to assure sales wouldn’t start until after churches let out.

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“The afternoon part was more of a general consensus from everyone on the council to at least start there,” Paramore said. “Most everybody’s feedback is that’s as early as they wanted to start. I’ve had questions and feedback from my constituents that they weren’t necessarily against (all-day sales) but they like the fact that it will start after church is out.”

Paramore said the restriction’s inclusion in the local bill would guarantee those who don’t want alcohol sold during morning church hours that the beverages won’t be sold, as opposed to adding the parameter in after the fact.

The bill’s language leaves out any other parameters, including any restrictions on what kinds of businesses would be allowed to participate in the sales. Those guidelines would be set the city council, which would draft the final ordinance if the referendum passes.

Section 1 of the bill states that “The City Council of the City of Troy, by ordinance, may regulate and permit the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises and off-premises consumption after 12:00 p.m. on Sundays, as determined by the governing body, by properly licensed retail licensees of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board serving the general public.”

Section 2 details the referendum requirement for Section 1 to become active, which would be enacted immediately if the majority of votes for the referendum are “yes” votes.

According to the text of the bill, the question on the referendum will read “Do you favor the adoption of Act No. (blank) of the (blank) Session of the Alabama Legislature authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages after 12:00 p.m. on Sundays in the City of Troy?” The blanks would be filled in once the act gets a number and the bill has been passed in the Legislature.

If the majority vote yes, the city would have the authority to regulate the sale of alcohol on Sundays from noon to midnight, which could include parameters on whether the sales are permitted for both on-premise and off-premise consumption.

Steve Garrett, owner of the Piggly Wiggly stores in Troy, said that he hopes no parameters are added that would exclude grocery stores like his from the opportunity.

“I do want to be able to be a part of it,” Garrett said. “I don’t want it to be strictly on premise; I’d like it to be off premise as well. I do have a lot of people that drive through and a get a few groceries and I have to make them put whatever alcohol they’ve got back. They just don’t understand.”

The Piggly Wiggly would benefit minimally from the sales, but fewer parameters would be more beneficial to the city, Garrett said.

“We have a lot of people that go across Montgomery County line to buy on Sundays too.” Garrett said. “If it’s going to be opened up, it needs to just be opened up and that be it. It would make things easier for people in the county and keep lost revenue.”

District 5 Councilwoman Wanda Moultry said she’d actually like to consider starting sales even later in the afternoon, which Paramore said would be possible through city ordinance.

“I feel that noon time might be too early –  that’s just my opinion,” Moultry said. “There will be some things we talk about when it comes to the time we can discuss it.”

District 1 Councilman Robert Jones said he wants to let the citizens determine what the policy is.

District 2 councilman Greg Meeks and District 4 Councilwoman Stephanie Baker could not be reached for comment before publishing time.

Today marks the second week that the bill has been advertised in The Messenger and must be advertised for two more weeks before it can be brought forward in the House of Representatives. From there, it must be approved by both the House and Senate, and signed by the governor to become law. The city council then would schedule the citywide referendum.