September 3, 2009 8:37:00 AM
Tim Pratt -
The State Tax Commission said it has neither "approved nor denied" Starkville''s request to allow Sunday alcohol sales, after reports surfaced Wednesday that the Tax Commission''s Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control had issued a preliminary denial of the city''s request to allow restaurants to sell wine and spirits by the glass on Sundays.
The Tax Commission wants to investigate Starkville''s request further before it makes an official decision, said Tax Commission spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury.
"During their meeting this morning, the Commission continued their discussion of the city''s request for an extension (of hours) and they determined right now that they are not going to issue any decision on Sunday sales until further research is completed by ABC staff," Waterbury said. "They''re aware that there are a number of communities looking at Sunday sales. They believe it''s important to look at the overall impact the decision would have on the community, including economic development opportunities, as well as concerns of local citizens. So the city of Starkville''s request has been neither approved nor denied. It has been taken under advisement. There is not an order. There is nothing official at this point. No decision has been made."
The Commission will reconvene in two weeks and may revisit the matter at that time.
Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins said Wednesday he wrote a letter to the State Tax Commission Aug. 20 in opposition to Sunday sales. He was one of three aldermen -- Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn Sr. were the others -- who voted against Sunday sales during the board''s Aug. 18 meeting.
Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, a proponent of Sunday sales, could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. But earlier in the day he said grocery stores and convenience stores will be able to sell beer and light wine on Sundays beginning later this month. Restaurants also will be able to sell beer and light wine by the glass on Sundays. Light wine contains a lesser percentage of alcohol than regular wine.
The city amended its alcohol ordinance on Aug. 18 to allow for Sunday alcohol sales, though the State Tax Commission has to approve the sale of liquor and regular wine on Sundays. Residents will be able to buy beer and light wine on Sundays beginning Sept. 22, though the first Sunday after that date is Sept. 27.
Jay Yates, owner of The Veranda and president of the Starkville Restaurant Association, would not comment on the Tax Commission''s actions Wednesday, saying he wants to wait until the state issues an official order.