Sunday Beer Sales Vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

Alderman undo ordinance to allow Sunday beer sales

By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville aldermen moved quickly at the end of their meeting Tuesday to approve the sale of beer and liquor on Sundays in restaurants, and approve beer in convenience stores.

The vote to pass the Sunday alcohol sales came despite much opposition during a public hearing two weeks ago.

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Many of those against the Sunday sales were also present for the vote but were not given the opportunity to speak.

Mayor Jerry Autrey explained the four-step process that included the repealing of the existing ordinance, adoption of a new one, sending a request to the State Tax Commission to allow liquor sales, and approval of on and off premises consumption and sales.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger was the lone nay vote during the vote for on premises sales and consumption on Sundays that will allow beer and liquor to be served in restaurants after 2 p.m. That portion passed 3-1.

Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison recused himself because he owns a restaurant that would be affected.

Sunday sales in convenience stores and other retail outlets passed 3-2 with Ward 4 Aldermen Eddie Nabors voting nay with Dugger.

Nabors had asked for discussion prior to the vote and said he would like to see the hours limited to between noon and 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“With all due respect to Eddie, it’s allowed until 10 p.m. every other night and I don’t think we need to change it on one night,” Harrison said prior to making a motion to allow the sales in stores from noon to 10 p.m.

Once the votes were cast, Autrey adjourned the meeting.

Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell, reached after the meeting, explained that the changes cannot become effective for one month according to state law.

The next step in the legalization of liquor sales on Sunday is approval by the State Tax Commision. This step allows letters of opposition or support to be considered prior to the commission’s final decision.