Fort Payne Council to consider Sunday Alcohol Sales
September 18, 2017 Share

Fort Payne Council to consider Sunday Alcohol Sales

PHOTO: Beer being delivered earlier today at the South End Market in Fort Payne. Owner Jodie Phillips is in favor of the change, and said it’s necessary to satisfy the wants and needs of visitors to the city. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — At tomorrow’s meeting of the Fort Payne City Council, the city will hold the first reading of Ordinance 2017-12, which will amend Ordinance 2004-14, allowing alcohol sales on Sunday.

On Nov. 2, 2004, Fort Payne residents approved legal alcohol sales by a margin of 184 votes; 2,610 to 2,426. This came after unsuccessful referendums in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1996. By late April 2005, alcohol licenses had been granted and alcohol began being delivered to retailers. Since, the cities of Henagar and Collinsville followed suit, but no municipality in DeKalb County currently allows the sale of alcohol on Sunday.

Tomorrow, Fort Payne will consider taking it a step further and allow Sunday Sales. The “first reading” of a proposed ordinance simply means that the ordinance will be mentioned, and the council will discuss the matter and consider bringing the issue to a vote the following meeting. It is possible, however, that the council can vote to suspend the rules and decide the issue tomorrow.

South End Market owner Jodie Phillips is in favor of the change. According to Phillips, Alcohol Sales are currently allowed until 1 am Saturday night, and are not allowed to continue until 5 am Monday morning. While sales are allowed until late Saturday night, the South End Market closes around 9 pm. The store is open 9 – 5 pm on Sunday.

“We’re trying to attract tourist. That’s what Fort Payne is trying to do. If we are going to satisfy people from other places that come here to visit, we’ve got to take care of their needs and wants. We’re losing tax revenue to other towns that allow it,” said Phillips.

While the issue will be discussed tomorrow, no guidelines have been officially set in stone yet. According to sources at city hall, it has not been decided as of yet whether or not retailers and restaurants will have to wait until noon or 1 pm to begin selling alcohol.

Councilwoman Lynn Brewer is in favor of the move. “It’s an economic development issue,” said Brewer. “Some people say it’s a religious issue, but I don’t feel like our job in government is to decide that. It’s not my place to judge someone, and as a Christian, I’m told not to judge. Also because I’m a Christian, I celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, but not everyone’s Sabbath is on Sunday.”

“It’s needed for Fort Payne to grow, and we are not going to grow if we don’t change some things,” Brewer explained. “When we went wet, some people thought that we would have drunkards running around everywhere, but we have laws already in place to protect and deal with those things. I’ve talked to several Pastors around town, and I haven’t met anyone who opposes my view on it.”

“The alcohol tax already goes to the schools, and Sunday sales will give them more revenue to do some of the projects they have planned,” added Brewer.

Councilman Gerald “Red” Taylor said that he is opposed to the change in the city’s alcohol laws. “I just feel like that’s not a day we need to be in the alcohol business,” said Taylor.

Councilmen Wade Hill, Johnny Eberhart, and Council President Brian Baine declined to give a comment on the matter until tomorrow’s meeting.

Comments

  1. PJG
    PJG September 19, 14:11
    In order to attract both tourists and new businesses to this area, Sunday alcohol sales are a must. Higher end restaurants such as Olive Garden, depend on alcohol sales to the point where they won't even consider building a restaurant in a town which does not allow their sale on Sundays. It is odd to to find a location in which patrons cannot buy and enjoy a beer during a NFL football game, or enjoy a glass of wine at lunch after Sunday service. To not allow this only helps to perpetuate the notion that the south is both backwards and anti-progressive. Recently Fort Payne has made a push to re-vitalize the downtown district, but with both Midtown Cafe and Mainstreet Deli having closed this year, it will be hard to attract new businesses that could help the town in tax revenue without Sunday liquor sales being allowed.

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