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County pursues Sunday alcohol sales

Sunday alcohol sales are already legal now in Troy and all of Pike County could be soon to follow as the commission pursues authority to hold a vote on the issue.

The commission voted 5-1 in favor of a resolution asking Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Pike, to draft a local bill requesting limited home rule for the commission, which would give the commission the authority to hold a commission vote or referendum on the policy.

Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6, was the lone no vote on the resolution, saying he did not feel comfortable passing the resolution without a guarantee of a referendum.

“I would wholeheartedly support this if it was to ask to hold a referendum,” Johnson said. “But I have some angst about not having one.”

Commissioner Chad Copeland, District 4, voted in favor of the resolution, but said he echoes Johnson’s concerns about holding a referendum.

“Our businesses are at a disadvantage and I know we need to get this moving,” Copeland said. “I think we do need to give strong consideration to a referendum. My district is the only district where nobody has gotten to vote on this yet. Every other district has portions in Troy.”

Commissioner Charlie Harris, District 5, made the motion in favor of adopting the resolution and is the commissioner that brought forward the issue of pursuing countywide sales after the City of Troy accepted the new policy by a 3-1 margin.

Harris said at the last commission meeting that he did not believe the commission needs to hold a referendum.

“The sales tax was rammed down people’ throats and the constitution doesn’t mandate a sales tax either,” Harris said in reference to the sales tax the county levied to raise funds for a new jail.
Johnson argued that the city set the precedent of holding a referendum and that the referendum could be put on the general election ballot so the county doesn’t have to spend any extra money for a special election.

Commissioners Homer Wright, District 1; Jimmy Barron, District 3; and Robin Sullivan, District 2, all voted in favor of the resolution.

If the legislature approves the local bill, the commission would decide at that time whether to hold a referendum or take a vote of the commission to enact or deny the policy.

In other business, the commission unanimously voted to extend a contract with Haynes Ambulance for ambulatory services for the next year.

The Pike County Commission will not meet again until Monday, January 8 as the commission voted to cancel their next regularly scheduled meeting, which would have fallen on Christmas Day.

The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the business meeting at 6 p.m. The commission meets upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.