Council mulls Sunday alcohol sales

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – City Council members soon could consider whether to allow eating establishments to serve beer and wine on Sundays.

The issue will show up on the council's study agenda Tuesday night, said Perry Smith of Ward 6, and council members will decide then if they want to consider it. If they do, any action would come within two weeks.

“This is a request from the local restaurant and hotel association,” Smith added. “This is not something brought up by the council.”

Jim Beane, owner of Bar-B-Q By Jim in Tupelo, is association president, the councilman said. Beane declined an interview about the request.

In October 1984, the Tupelo Board of Aldermen adopted the ordinance for sale of beer and light wine – nine years before the form of city government changed to mayor-council.

Initially, the ordinance prohibited Sunday sales. Over the course of time, council members have amended the ordinance but never to allow Sunday sales.

City records show the council's latest consideration of Sunday beer and light wine sales was in 2002. The council voted the issue down, with Smith the swing vote for the nays.

“I was the swing and I will be again this time,” Smith said. “I expect to be the most abused member of the council.”

Other council members had varying opinions about the Sunday sales. At-large council member Ed Neelly said Thursday he will give the issue thoughtful consideration when it's presented. Similarly, Dick Hill of Ward 1 said he will represent the wishes of his constituency.

Council President Danny Barrows, who said he doesn't drink alcoholic beverages, said he will vote his conviction when the time comes to make a decision. Barrows, a Baptist, said he understands that some business owners want changes in the ordinances.

“I won't stand in the council's way. It's up to them,” Barrows said. “I don't think I should interject my religious beliefs into politics.”

Contact Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or leesha.faulkner@djournal.com