County considering Sunday alcohol sales

Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2017

As the City of Troy finalizes its policy on the allowance of Sunday alcohol sales, the Pike County Commission is exploring the possibility of making it legal across the county.

Commissioner Charlie Harris, District 5, suggested the county follow suit with the city’s ordinance at the commission’s first November meeting and county attorney Allen Jones is working on drafting a resolution to send to the state legislature.

“The resolution will either be ready for our November 27 meeting or the first December meeting,” Jones said. “There are still some questions, but I think what they’re going to do is just a general request.”

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The county must follow a similar process to the one the city took to eventually implement the policy. The first step is to approve a resolution asking Alan Boothe, R-Pike, to bring forward a bill in the State House of Representatives.

The city asked specifically to hold a referendum on the issue, which ultimately passed overwhelmingly with over 70 percent of the vote, but Jones said the county will most likely ask for limited home rule regarding the subject and would then decide whether to hold a referendum once that is approved.

Barbara McQuagge, owner of the BBQ House on U.S. Highway 231, said she is passionate about having the opportunity opened to businesses like hers that lay outside the City of Troy.

“(The BBQ House) will start opening on Sundays as soon as they approve Sunday sales,” McQuagge said. “It would be very disappointing if it doesn’t pass. If the city can do it, why can’t we? It would stop people from going to Pine Level and Montgomery County and buying their alcohol there.”

Local pastor Perry Green said he was disappointed in the city’s vote and hopes the county decides not to pursue the policy.

“It’s a pretty sad comment on the state of Christianity in our county if we think we have to have Sunday liquor sales,” Green said. “As far as the issue that it will attract new business, maybe they’re attracting the wrong kind of business.”

Jones said that even if the commission gets home rule, they could choose to simply not allow Sunday sales in the county.

Jones said timing is important right now, as the legislature returns to session in January.

One issue left unsettled right now, Jones said, is how the policy might affect Brundidge, Banks and Goshen.

“One other possibility if they decided to go forward would be do you let other incorporated areas in the county make their own decisions and hold their own elections?” Jones said. “But then you could have pockets in the county with Sunday sales and pockets without Sunday sales and it just seems like it ought to be consistent one way or the other.”

The commission will discuss the potential policy further at their meeting Monday upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.

The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will begin at 6 p.m.