Council OKs extended alcohol hours

town_tupelo_greenBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Pending state approval, Tupelo will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages for five additional hours on Sundays and an extra hour every other day of the week.

The City Council discussed the issue for a few minutes and then voted 4-3 to extend the hours for alcohol sales, acting on a recent recommendation from the Tupelo Restaurant Association.

New hours restaurants can serve alcohol approved by the council are from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. each day. Current hours are 10 a.m. until midnight on Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue must formally approve the change for liquor and wine before it can take effect. However, the city can begin serving beer and light wine 30 days after the council vote.

This vote will affect sale of all alcoholic beverages in restaurants and beer and light wine in other businesses where it is sold, such as grocery and convenience stores.

Extending alcohol sales hasn’t been publicly discussed in more than a year, and council members opposed to the vote said the quick decision denies citizens an opportunity to voice their opinion on the issue.

“I think we owe it to our citizens the right to speak for it and against it,” Councilman Willie Jennings of Ward 7 said before the vote.

Representatives of area restaurants attended the meeting but lack of advance public discussion on the issue likely prevented opposition from organizing.

Council members Jim Newell of Ward 3, Markel Whittington of Ward 1, Nettie Davis of Ward 4 and Lynn Bryan of Ward 2 supported the change, each saying the move will increase the city’s tax base and enhance quality of life.

“We’re looking at this from an economic standpoint,” said Davis, council president. “We’re trying to move our city to another level.”

Jennings and Councilmen Buddy Palmer of Ward 5 and Mike Bryan of Ward 6 voted against the change.

Mayor Jason Shelton campaigned on making Tupelo a place where middle-income residents and young professionals want to live but said after the meeting that extended hours for alcohol sales wasn’t a part of his platform. He said he will not veto the council’s decision.

The Tupelo Restaurant Association unanimously voted on April 22 to support the change and asked the city to take action at today’s meeting.

“We feel that these extended hours will benefit the city, our businesses and guests of the City of Tupelo,” association president Jonathan Waller wrote in a letter to council members.

Some restaurants serving Sunday brunch would serve champagne, mimosas and Bloody Marys with the change of serving hours.

Hours when alcohol is served are different throughout the state from county to county and city to city. Nearly half of the state’s 82 counties prohibit the sale of beer, light wine or other alcoholic beverages.

Tupelo began in October 2009 serving beer and light wine on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and received permission from the state in January 2010 to serve liquor during the same hours on Sunday. Starkville and Columbus passed Sunday alcohol sales earlier that year.

Tupelo’s new hours for alcohol sales are longer than nearby college towns of Starkville and Oxford.

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  • james

    I wonder why Shelton and the yes men of tupelo hate the poor so much. young professionals, middle income? why are they the only ones who should benefit from extended booze drinking hours. never seen how the poor are shunned and ignored in tupelo. maybe those attitudes will change when a few go to prison for official corruption one day.

  • Mark Best

    This is way past due. Tupelo represents itself as a progressive city and in fact, is the hub of this area. People fly or drive into Tupelo from all the country to attend the furniture markets, and other various functions. I have seen and heard people laugh, and make jokes about having to go home at midnight. Not only will the extra hours produce more revenue, but will bring Tupelo in line with other cities in its nightlife. As for more accidents and deaths, people will drive to get alcohol, no matter where it is. Ask the people in Booneville that drink. I know, I used to live there. There are people that wouldn’t want alcohol or any kind of night life if their lives depended on it. I say it’s about time!!!

    • james

      people actually fly into Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham and Columbus and wind up driving to tupelo. tupelo represents itself as the only city in Mississippi. it steals businesses from other counties so it can have more clout. it lets the furniture market building owner to not pay taxes, gave free utilities and massive tax cuts to cooper tire, another millions in free land prep and tax breaks to Toyota who don’t hire from here and when they do won’t hire the qualified ones. the mayor running the poor from the city turning it into his own little country club and making sure the poor aren’t welcome but have to pay the taxes his buddies and companies don’t pay. the federal gov’t and insurance companies will be footing the bill for 90% of the damage so tupelo really doesn’t need the extra revenue but does so they can build some stupid attraction to lure even stupider tourists to this area. buying buildings and homes to make huge profits during underhanded deals after the homeowners are run out and the rich move in. you don’t see any of the city scum runners out helping to clean up people’s yards or pick up debris, because they’re too good and rather have the admiration of the city, than have souls. good thing they allowed more drunks to ride the roads after midnight. all in the name of tornado recovery.

  • Jon

    Oh boy, now I get to hear all of those garbage cover bands blare out of Romey’s until one in the morning.

  • Mark Best

    I am certainly not rich. I work every day and barely make ends meet. I do not agree with everything that the city of Tupelo does by any means. I do know that the mayor isn’t the one that brought up the extra hour. It was the Restaurant Association…and they have been wanting this for many months. The extra revenue will be substantial and will fund something….I don’t know what. I have worked in the the Nightclub Industry for many years and I think it will help the night life of the area. The fact that some of us go out, and have a drink doesn’t mean we are all drunk and out cruising to cause trouble or kill a family.

    • james

      well just because the bars of tupelo brought it up doesn’t mean Shelton and his city council cronnies didn’t have to approve it the second it was mentioned. maybe you should rethink about barely making ends meet with the pic of the Harley.

      • Mark Best

        First of all, that isn’t a Harley…but if I could afford a Harley, I’d have one. I work for what I want and I don’t ask anyone for anything. If you have a problem with what is going on here in Tupelo, run for office. Like I said, I don’t like everything that goes on here either. Like changing the downtown lanes from 4 to 2! How stupid was that? But that wasn’t this mayor. I just think midnight is a silly, out-dated law. That is my opinion.

        • james

          unless I’m some ambulance chasing scum sucking 2 faced backroom dealing weasel, I can never run for office. I hope u think that the new booze hours are great when one leaves the bar and slams into you doing over 100 mph.

          • Mark Best

            James, I respect your opinion and I am pretty sure we would agree on a lot of stuff. I hate lawyers and politicians myself. I just think 12:00 is too early to be made go home. That is just my opinion. I know you have to have money to run for any office, and that is what is so messed up with this country. A regular, hard working blue collar guy should be able to run for an office. I wish you nothing but the best!

          • TWBDB

            Funny, but I could swear I remember the nightclubs serving until 2 AM back in the 70’s : some would just set the liquor on the bar and not sell anything but sodas afterward. But from the hours listed in the article this doesn’t appear to be the crowd this extension is targeting.

          • james

            also back in the 70’s and early 80’s tupelo used to sell pornography. but the righteous would rather sell wreck causing booze than girlie magazines.

          • TWBDB

            James, you might want to dial it back a notch. Tupelo isn’t so terrible, neither is this idea of serving adult beverages to adults. People all over the world drink wine, beer, etc with their meals, enjoy them responsibly, and don’t associate this practice with anything scandalous.

            People can get stupid drunk at home, any time, any day, and get behind the wheel of a car.

          • james

            you don’t watch the news too much do you. rob ford, drunk and smoking crack on video. a local police lieutenant’s kid taken home so he couldn’t be tested for alcohol or drugs after a crash into a building. not like Shelton is going to publicly admit he’s trying to rid tupelo of all the poor and turn it into a country club town where businesses get their way every time when they want to do something and claim it’s for tornado recovery. like I mentioned before, maybe Shelton should sign an ordinance for 16 year olds to buy booze. claim it’s for the tornado recovery. not like the police do anything anyway but hide than do their duties.

  • Ryan Conerly

    so does the 1am beer sale law apply to stores too?? i was under the impression that it didnt. but i’ve found 2 stores out of 4 i tried that WILL sell beer until 1am. is this legal or am i just lucky theyre ignorant? lol