PHOTO: The beer coolers and wine selection at DeSoto Seafood and Brews, which recently opened in Fort Payne. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — In a 3-1 (1 Abstained) vote today, the Fort Payne City Council approved Ordinance 2018-02, amending Ordinance 2004-14 (The Alcohol Ordinance), to allow for Sunday Sales in the City of Fort Payne. The vote passed with Council members Johnny Eberhart, Wade Hill, and Lynn Brewer voting for, and Council President Brian Baine abstaining and Councilman Gerald Taylor voting against.
Ordinance 2004-14 legalized the sale of alcohol in Fort Payne, and was passed after Fort Payne residents approved legal alcohol sales by a margin of 184 votes (2,610 for to 2,426 against) on Nov. 2, 2004. This came after unsuccessful referendums in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1996. The 2004 Ordinance prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
In September 2017, the council held the first reading of Ordinance 2017-12, in which it was decided to let the public decide in a vote, and a resolution was sent to Montgomery for Fort Payne's legislative delegation to take action to allow for a public vote. In December, it was announced Senator Steve Livingston and Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter had recommended the council pass the ordinance.
Last meeting, the first reading of the ordinance was held, and this week, the matter was voted on by the council.
Before the vote, Council President Brian Baine explained his opposition to the ordinance, and explained that there was opposition to ordinance from local churches.
"I was given a letter this morning from Minvale Baptist Church, notifying us that the church is against Sunday Sales in the City of Fort Payne Pastor John Keith," said Baine.
When it came time for a vote, Baine abstained from the vote, due to their being an ethical conflict between his employment at Bruce's Foodland and the Sunday Sales issue.
Benji Mason, Pastor of Street Side Baptist Church on Highway 35 spoke in opposition to the ordinance at the meeting:
"I don't see where a few dollars on Sunday is going to help with growth of our city, especially when we thumb our noses at God," said Pastor Mason.
From the December 2017 - March 2018 time frame, we ran an opinion poll on our website. While the poll is not scientific and does not limit response to strictly Fort Payne citizens, it does only allow one vote per device:
[socialpoll id="2478542" path="/polls/2478542" width="300"]
After the vote, Fort Payne City Clerk Andy Parker explained that Sunday Alcohol sales will begin after the ordinance is ran publicly.