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Commission split on how to handle Sunday alcohol sales vote

The Pike County Commission voted 5-1 to request the authority to hold a vote on Sunday alcohol sales, whether it be through a referendum or a vote of the commission.

At least right now, the commissioners are not all in agreement about which of those options they should take.
Commissioner Charlie Harris, District 5, brought forward the resolution and has said from the beginning that he believes the commission should hold a direct vote on it.

“We’re the governing body of this county and we should have the right to vote anything up or down,” Harris said. “We’re just piggybacking off of the City of Troy. Honestly, I believe when they were doing their resolution we should have included the whole county and not jus the City of Troy; we should have legalized it as a whole.”

Commissioners Homer Wright, District 1, and Jimmy Barron, District 3, agree with Harris that the commission should enact it as a body.

“Where I’m at right now is for voting for it at the table and not having a local referendum,” Barron said. “The businesses in my district and the ones I’ve talked to throughout Pike County want to see Sunday alcohol sales after noon just like the city. They don’t think it’s fair for the city to have it and the county not to have it.”

Barron also said a special election for a referendum would be money the county doesn’t need to spend and adding it to the general election ballot in November 2018 would be too long to wait.

Wright said that allowing Sunday alcohol sales would not force anybody to participate in the practice.

“People in county not obligated to sell on Sunday,” Wright said. “We would just be giving them that option.”

Russell Johnson, District 6, made his stance clear in the meeting Monday when he was the lone voice to oppose the resolution.

““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. I think the city set the precedent that this is a referendum issue. My fear is that this could set a precedent of ramming thing down people’s throats. We’re mandated to have a jail, so we made the tough decision to treat that as a business decision that we had to take care of, but we’re not mandated to allow alcohol t be sold on Sundays.”

Chad Copeland, District 4, voted in favor of the resolution that could give the commission either option, but he explained that he is favoring a referendum vote as well.

“My desire is that it go to a referendum; the city put it to a referendum,” Copeland said. “My district is the only district that doesn’t touch parts of Troy. The city set a precedent, so I feel strongly that it needs to go to a referendum.”

Copeland also explained his reasoning for supporting Sunday alcohol sales.

“I think our businesses need to be made whole,” Copeland said. “They’re at a disadvantage today. There are some stores within a mile of each other in a different competitive environment. Some are all but in the city limits of Troy and they can’t sell alcohol.”

Robin Sullivan, District 2 commissioner and commission chairman, said he has not decided which way he is leaning yet.

“It’s a long process until it comes time to make the decision,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to take the time to think about it before I vote.”

 

 

 

 

Harris: Commission governing body of this county should have the right to vote for or vote anything down. We’re just piggybacking off the city of Troy honestly believe doing their resolution should have included the whole county instead of just the City of Troy. It would legalize it as a whole.

 

Barron: Where I’m at right now is voting at the table for it and not having a local referendum. The reason why is the businesses in my district and the ones Ive talked to throughout Pike County want to see Sunday alcohol sales after 12 just like the city they don’t think it’s fair for the city to have and the county not to have it. Business owners. Feedback from the people I haven’t had any problem with it. Majority of people I;ve talked to and business owners are for it. If we wait til November have to wait a year to send it to vote of people not fair to the folks of the county to wait a year before they could start selling alcohol based on feedback I’ve been getting. The revenue that it would bring into the county as far as the Sunday alcohol sales that would be extra revenue we could use. The business owners I’ve talked to said since the city passed it several have come in wanting to buy it and could not they see a need because they have people asking for it and they cannot sell it.
Sullivan: I haven’t sat down and decided I’m going to do it one way or the other. It’s a long thought process until it comes time to make the decision. Wanted to take time to think about what his vote would be.

 

Johnson:

 

Copeland: First of all, I think our businesses need to be made whole. They’re at a disadvantage today stores some within a mile of each other in a different competitive environment. Some all but in the city limits of Troy so stores to the north and south of them can sell it but they can’t so they’re at a competitive disadvantage. That said, my desire is that it go to a referendum city put it to a referendum. My district only district that doesn’t touch parts of Troy. City set a precedent I feel strongly that it needs to go to a referendum.

 

Wright: I’m leaning toward a commission vote. The City of Troy got it with majority. I don’t understand why the majority of people in my district are in Troy. People in county not obligated to sell on Sunday or drink on Sunday, we’d just be giving them that option.

 

Jones: What that resolution was just simply the request to go up to the representatives asking that they send a bill through House and Senate giving local legislation to the commission to ultimately make the decision on which way to go. Russell Johnson. If commission gets four votes. If they tie, it dies for lack of a majority. Agenda rule that in the case of a tie vote, it can stay on the agenda but it can’t be brought up for a vote unless all 6 commissioners are present. That can’t happen. If a commission first vote could be based on five. Out of consideration of all commissioners in spirit of cooperation some important matters have been deferred until all six commissioners are there. There wise you could have somebody throw business by not showing up. It would just be on the agenda as Sunday Sales item under current business and then whoever makes a motion. Somebody could make a motion to do this by referendum. Expecting it to be somewhere in that timeframe if it passes the House and Holley gets it through the Senate. We would hope it would be this session.

 

Boothe: I don’t know. I haven’t been able to see that. Senator Holley and I will have to get together and discuss it and see which way we want to proceed. Historically we’ve gone with a referendum.