Sardis Sunday Beer Sales

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 9, 2009

Sardis officials field question: will you permit Sunday beer?

By John Howell Sr.

The question of permitting Sunday beer sales in the City of Sardis was put to city officials Tuesday night by a convenience store’s representative who questioned the mayor and aldermen near the end of their October meeting.

“I’m not for promoting this or shooting it down, but eventually we’re going to have to make a decision,” Mayor Rusty Dye said.

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“We’re either not going to do it, or we’re going to do it and be done with it,” Dye added after Tarek Adieh of the Junior Food Mart  asked about Sunday beer sales in the city.

Following a vote last month by Batesville aldermen approving Sunday beer sales, Sardis and Courtland are the only municipalities in Panola County which do not allow Sunday beer sales.

Sunday sales of beer outside of municipalities is controlled by county supervisors and remains prohibited.

“I’d like to know how much revenue we’re missing,” Alderman JoJo Still said.

“There’s people every day that want to know when we’re going to get beer on Sunday or (who say that if) y’all get beer on Sunday, we’re not going to like it. I get more pro than I do con, but I’m not in the beer business and don’t want to be,” the mayor said.

“Personally, I’d like to see the owners of the businesses … and give us some kind of figures of how it’s going to increase,” Dye added.

Tuesday night’s meeting of the mayor and aldermen remained opened for about an hour before aldermen voted to enter executive session to discuss personnel matters.

Sardis city attorney Tommy Shuler said Wednesday that during the executive session aldermen voted to extend the deadline to hire a replacement for city maintenance supervisor Michael Purdy. Purdy resigned the post to accept a job with the county.

The mayor said also that aldermen voted to hire Will Parrish as a full-time officer with the police department.

Attending Tuesday’s meeting, in addition to the mayor and Alderman Still, were aldermen Roy Scallorn, Clarence Jones and Mike Wilson. Alderman Rivers McArthur did not attend.

Jennifer Bouchillon of the Hernando Certified Public Accountants firm of Williams, Pitt and Beard presented the city’s financial statement for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2008.

The statement from the independent auditor was accompanied by two letters which contained the accountants’ recommendations. The recommendations were prompted, “in light of what happened six months ago with your prior city clerk, I think there are some things that you need to address to get your controls in better place so that something like this doesn’t happen,” Bouchillon said.

The former city clerk resigned in June after it was determined that city funds were missing.

One letter stated that the accountants learned that the city was not reconciling its bank accounts to its general ledger and had delayed bank deposits by several days. The other letter included recommendations to improve in-house security such as consistently locking a cash drawer that had occasionally been left unlocked, locking office doors and prohibiting unauthorized personnel from employee areas, and discontinuing the cashing of employee personal and payroll checks from the cash drawer.

“I read this thing this afternoon and it kind of got a burr up my saddle,” Dye said, “because if this was wrong this year, it was wrong last year; it was wrong eight audits in a row.”

“Maybe we were looking at why we had a problem,” the mayor added.

Dye and Scallorn both said that most of the auditor’s recommendations had already been implemented.

In other city business:

• Mayor Dye reported on the late September trip to Washington he made along with other elected officials from the county and Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons.

Dye said that he thought the trip was more effective than the spring trip because Congress was not in session on the day of the visit, the group got to meet with members of Congress individually instead of with Congressional staff members.

•Police Chief John Still reported his attempts to contact owners of five properties in the city which are out of compliance with city code.

Aldermen voted unanimously to proceed with city cleanup of three of the lots.

•Aldermen approved minutes and the claims docket after rejecting three mileage claims not correctly substantiated.

“They were lump sum miles instead of itemized,” Alderman Wilson said.

•Aldermen heard a status report of pending grant applications from Chris Pope of the North Delta Planning and Development District.