Vote on Sunday sales tabled for two weeks

Published 1:23 pm Friday, February 21, 2014

The Demopolis City Council tabled a vote Thursday on whether to allow residents to potentially vote on Sunday and holiday alcohol sales.

Hank Atchison, pastor of Gallion Baptist Church, spoke against Sunday sales on behalf of the Blackbelt Christian Ministerial Association.

Atchison said he and his fellow ministers see Sunday alcohol sales as not just a moral issue but a social one too.

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“We do have a concern. As a pastor we do see the dark side of alcohol,” Atchison said. “What we see is the families that are destroyed. It’s a slippery slope even with the laws we have.”

Atchison also referenced a Crimson White article that reported Tuscaloosa businesses had mixed results after Sunday sales were allowed there.

He also pointed to study that showed New Mexico saw an increase in drunk driving accidents and fatalities after changing its Sunday alcohol laws.

“Is that worth the increased risk? That’s our concern,” Atchison said. “We don’t believe it would be beneficial for the city of Demopolis.”

Demopolis businessman Jason Windham, who owns Batter Up Sports Bar and Grill, said the issue is frustrating because Sunday sales are allowed in other cities.

“People are still doing it. People are still getting it. I would like the opportunity to have that choice and that choice not be made for me,” Windham said. “We are losing that money. As a business owner, we would like a shot at that.”

Joe Parr, who owns Parr’s Chevron with his brother Jim was also at Thursday’s council meeting. Joe Parr said he didn’t want to address the issue without his brother present but that he was “50/50” on the issue.

Following the discussion, Bill Meador made a motion to table the issue, which died for lack of a second.

Harris Nelson made a motion to pass the resolution, which also failed to garner a second.

The issue is expected to come up again at the next council meeting March 6.

If passed by the city council, the resolution would then have to earn support in Montgomery before it would be put up for statewide referendum.