• 50°

Sunday Beer Sales

Aldermen inch toward Sunday beer sales, plan public hearing

By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville aldermen voted to hold a public hearing on September 1 before they decide whether to allow Sunday beer and liquor sales.

Before a pair of proposed ordinances could come to the board table at Tuesday’s meeting, Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger proposed the public hearing.

“There are a lot of people that don’t know what is going on, and I make the motion that we hold a public hearing,” he said.

The motion initially died due to lack of a second.

“I’m hesitant to make a decision if there is a viable opposition to it,” Ward 4 Alderman Eddie Nabors said.

 “We’d like to be informed,” Dr. Walter T. Hudson told aldermen. “We’d all like to know whose idea this was.”

Hudson, former state representative Harry Bryan and Mark Jones, Batesville First Baptist Church music minister, spoke to city officials during the meeting.

Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow explained that the issue has not been openly discussed during meetings.

“We discussed this four years ago when I first got onto the board,” he said. “But we have been discussing it amongst ourselves, and it could generate an additional $60,000 to $100,000 in revenue each year.

“I have discussed this with restaurant chains that might want to come here, but they tell me they won’t come because we don’t allow the Sunday sales,” Morrow added.

Hudson then began voicing his displeasure with the possible Sunday sales.

“We don’t need any more beer,” he said. “We don’t need any more alcohol. That is the problem with our country now.

“Let’s go ahead and put in cathouses or a casino on the Square if all you want is funding,” Hudson continued.

“I’m not concerned with the raising of taxes,” Harry Bryan said. “I am concerned with the raising of children.

“But you do what you want to do,” he continued. “I just hope it’s not your child or grandchild that gets hit by a drunk driver.”

Morrow explained that with or without Sunday sales, people would get alcohol.

“People are just going to go to Pope or Como or a bootlegger out in the county to get it, whether we do this or not,” he said.

Jones asked the board to “do what is right.”

“I encourage you to take a stand,” he said. “If you want to do something that will make an impact, I would encourage you to ban the sales of liquor and beer.

“We need to get alcohol out of the county and that would show the state, the nation and the world that we are serious about doing what is right,” Jones continued.

Dugger then brought back the motion for a public hearing and it passed 4-0.

Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison, who owns Café Ole, recused himself.