Sunday Beer Sales Ordinance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009

City ordinances allowing off-premises beer sales on Sundays will go into effect on October 15. The state tax commission has to approve the on-premises consumption hours.

One of two Sunday beer ordinances kicks in October 15

By Jason C. Mattox

After more than a month of consideration that included a lengthy public hearing and a swift vote two weeks later, Sunday beer sales will soon become legal in the City of Batesville.

A decision on the on-premises sale of liquor and wine is pending approval of the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

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City leaders took steps to legalize Sunday sales after figures showed the action could generate approximately $100,000 in increased revenue for the city.

At the behest of Alderman Bill Dugger, city leaders held a public hearing that saw major opposition from church pastors and others in the community.

Two weeks after the Sept. 1 hearing, many of those opposed to Sunday sales attended the board’s regular meeting during which aldermen repealed the city’s “blue laws” ordinance and adopted separate ordinances to allow on-premises sales of beer, wine and liquor on Sunday and beer sales for off premises consumption at convenience and grocery stores.

The ordinances, which do not affect package stores, will take effect October 15. But on-premises sales could be forced to wait until a later date.

“The state tax commission has to approve the on-premises consumption hours,” Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said.

Due to wording of the new city ordinance for on premises consumption on Sundays, beer, wine and liquor sales cannot begin prior to that approval.

“If the city had kept the beer sales separate, restaurants could begin on October 18, which is the first Sunday after the ordinance becomes effective,” Mitchell said. “Because the board decided to include beer, wine and liquor into that one ordinance, it is all pending approval from the commission.”

The state tax commission is scheduled to meet today. Calls to determine if the City of Batesville’s request is on the agenda were not returned.