Article Comment 

Leaders ready to ‘move on’ from liquor debate

 

Tim Pratt

 

The final chapter in Starkville''s Sunday alcohol sales debate was written Wednesday in Jackson by the Mississippi Tax Commission. 

 


The Tax Commission approved the city''s request to allow restaurants to sell beer, liquor and wine by the glass on Sundays, a spokeswoman said.  

 


An extension of hours, which is effective immediately, will allow alcohol sales for on-site consumption from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  

 


Jay Yates, owner of The Veranda and president of the Starkville Restaurant Association, feels Sunday sales will lead to more business and more jobs in the city. The Veranda currently isn''t open on Sundays, but Yates now plans to open every Sunday and hire as many as 10 new people to work the additional hours. Other restaurants are planning similar moves, he said. 

 


"We''re very happy that the (office of Alcoholic Beverage Control) and the State Tax Commission has chosen to honor the will of the people in Oktibbeha County and Starkville and allow Sunday alcohol sales following the approval of the Sunday beer sales that (the Board of Aldermen) passed here," Yates said. "We''re glad, obviously, and we''ve been anticipating that, hoping that was the way it was going to go. Hopefully now we can get on with the business of doing business and generating revenue and new taxes and hopefully jobs." 

 


The city can regulate the hours beer and light wine, such as wine coolers, are sold in grocery and convenience stores, but the Tax Commission regulates beer, liquor and regular wine sales in restaurants, Mayor Parker Wiseman said. 

 


Grocery stores and convenience stores will be allowed to sell beer and light wine on Sundays beginning Sept. 21 since Starkville aldermen last month approved amendments to the city''s alcohol ordinance. Sept. 27 is the first Sunday once the amendments go into effect. 

 


Wiseman is glad the Sunday sales debate has finally come to a conclusion. The issue divided the city, with opponents of Sunday sales arguing on religious, moral and safety grounds, and proponents talking about the economic benefits.  

 


"When you address a controversial social topic like this, it gives rise to a wide array of feelings that can be passionately charged and that makes it a very difficult decision to have," Wiseman said. "That discussion has been had. The board has made a decision and now that decision has reached a stage of finality and I am optimistic about the prospects for us as a community as we move on to less divisive topics." 

 


Tax Commission Spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said the Commission received "an impressive stack" of letters from Starkville residents both for and against Sunday sales, plus "a lot" of e-mails, though she had no exact figures.  

 


Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins was one of the people who wrote to the Tax Commission in opposition to Sunday sales. He also drew fire at a Board of Aldermen meeting in August when he said he wishes there was a law requiring people to attend church. Perkins could not be reached for comment. 

 


Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, who also voted against Sunday alcohol sales last month, wasn''t surprised by the Tax Commission''s decision. 

 


"It''s kind of what I expected," Carver said. "They usually take the advice of the city and take the city at face value, so that''s what we were expecting. Hopefully everybody can get along now." 

 


Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, a strong proponent of Sunday sales, also was pleased with the Tax Commission''s decision. 

 


"I''m very glad that they approved it, obviously," Dumas said. "I think they did the right thing in understanding the needs and wishes and wants of the people of Starkville."

 

 

printer friendly version | back to top

 

Reader Comments

Article Comment Starkpatch commented at 9/17/2009 1:48:00 PM:

I'm sure they are ready to "move on" from the liquor debate. I'm sure several hope this is forgotton about by the time elections roll back around in '13.

Its rather difficult to argue this is the will of the people when the people were told only 6 could speak on each side of the issue. At least in Columbus, they held a special meeting to let everyone speak.

 

Article Comment pickle commented at 9/17/2009 3:39:00 PM:

Starkpatch, what argument would you have put forth that was not voiced by others?

 

Article Comment Otis commented at 9/17/2009 9:43:00 PM:

Without a referendum, it can only be said that this decision was the will of the board, not the people. They were elected and made their decision, as they have the authority to do, but it being the will of the people may become more apparent in 2013.

 

Article Comment A. commented at 9/18/2009 4:12:00 AM:

So a whole resturant whoes major mission is serving meals feels that this decision warratns 10 more people and opening up a whole nother day. Wow is he going to be disappointed, I am not sure alchol sales will warrant or cover 10 more bodies and operating expenses for another day. Seems far fetched if you ask me plus with the supposed economic down turn. We will see!

 

Article Comment Josh commented at 9/18/2009 9:30:00 AM:

Obviously the poster "A" has never eaten at the Veranda. Jay will make enough money on Sundays to cover the expense of hiring 20 people! That place is packed on a daily basis and for good reason... The food is spectacular!

The only problem I have now is figuring our what restaurant to support first! I guess since Jay has been so outspoken about this issue (one that I totally supported) I'll stop by and return the favor this Sunday!

 

Article Comment A. commented at 9/18/2009 10:12:00 AM:

Josh,

based on what you claim, the veranda could have already been open for Sundays then. Why did it take this ruling to make them open on Sunday if it is "packed on a daily basis"? If they are so packed on a daily basis before this ruling then he should have had the "10" extra bodies already working and staying open on Sundays. Chilies does it as do many others.Im telling you the crowd coming in mainly eats food, notice I said mainly. Sure people have wine and beer but if you look the majority does not and to use that as an excuse to open up on Sunday is dumb. To think this will make everything better is crazy.

And yes I have eaten at the Veranda many times both on the weekend and during the week. It is okay food nothing spectacular. But I do understand that everyones taste is different.

 

Article Comment Tim Pratt commented at 9/18/2009 10:21:00 AM:

Yates said he plans to hire new employees because many of his current staff members already are putting in 40 hours a week.

 

Article Comment Josh commented at 9/18/2009 10:41:00 AM:

A,

I see your point there... Maybe Jay (and other restaurants owners) don't feel the need to open on Sundays because of the hassle it would create with people that wanted to buy alcohol. Or, maybe their percentage of alcohol sold is more than normal and opening without being able to sell alcohol on Sundays wouldn't be benefical to their bottom line...

 

Article Comment Starkpatch commented at 9/18/2009 9:51:00 PM:

I'm actually not so concerned about Sunday sales. My point is that the people were not allowed to speak- and the board would NOT put this to referendum b/c they KNEW it would not pass a vote. Therefore, it is ludicrous to say this was the will of the people. This was, in fact, the will of the Board. There is a BIG difference.

 

Article Comment David commented at 9/20/2009 4:04:00 PM:

It shows great leadership on the part of the board.
Doing what is right is often not the most popular choice.
If you don't want people to buy or sell alcohol on Sunday, just convince them not to do it. Don't make it illegal. Having to make or keep it illegal only points out just how weak your reasoning and arguments must be in the first place.

Seeking to have an activity be against the law one day but not the day before or the day after has no valid reasoning or argument to it. Arguing any special moral significance for one day over the next would certainly bring any such law into legislating religious beliefs, which would clearly be unconstitutional. Thank God for the Constitution!

 

Article Comment David commented at 9/20/2009 4:21:00 PM:

It shows great leadership on the part of the board.
Doing what is right is often not the most popular choice.
If you don't want people to buy or sell alcohol on Sunday, just convince them not to do it. Don't make it illegal. Having to make or keep it illegal only points out just how weak your reasoning and arguments must be in the first place.

Seeking to have an activity be against the law one day but not the day before or the day after has no valid reasoning or argument to it. Arguing any special moral significance for one day over the next would certainly bring any such law into legislating religious beliefs, which would clearly be unconstitutional. Thank God for the Constitution!

 

back to top

 

 

Most Viewed News Stories

 

1. 3 die in Lowndes County crash COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY

2. No-jangles: Starkville Bojangles closes STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY

3. Hickman begins his first day as Columbus schools superintendent COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY

4. Jurors hear 911 tape as Quinn murder trial begins STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY

5. Photo: No fuel, no rocket COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY

 

More popular content      Suggest a story

 

 

Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Instagram

Follow Us via Email