Sunday alcohol sales coming?

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Fiscal court considering Sunday sales from 1 p.m. until midnight

By Shannon Brock

Sunday alcohol sales could soon be a reality in Spencer County.
The Spencer County Fiscal Court approved on first reading a change to its ordinance regulating the sale of alcohol, which would allow alcohol to be sold from 1 p.m. to midnight on Sundays.

Before any changes are officially made, the ordinance must gain approval of the court on second reading, which will occur at a future meeting.
The county’s current ordinance, which was updated and approved in early August, prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
Section 5.01, “Hours of Sale,” subsection A reads, “Premises for which there has been granted a license for the retail sales of alcoholic beverages shall be permitted to sell or offer for sale alcoholic beverages only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. each day, except Sunday. It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale any alcoholic beverage during the 24 hours of each Sunday.”
The change to the ordinance, proposed by Magistrate Jerry Davis, would strike the last sentence from that paragraph and change it to, “The sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday shall be limited to the hours between 1 p.m. and 12 a.m.”
The topic had been listed on the court’s agenda for the past two meetings, but Davis was absent from both this meetings and the other court members decided to wait until he was present to discuss it since he had requested it be brought up.
On a motion of Davis, seconded by Magistrate Woodie Cheek, the change was unanimously approved on first reading.
No vote is required on first reading and no ordinance takes effect until it is approved by four of the six court members on second reading.

In other business…
•During his report to the court, Judge-Executive Bill Karrer mentioned that the county has received a complaint through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding the conditions in the upstairs portion of the Sheriff’s Department. Karrer said representatives from OSHA had been at the office and taken samples. Several renovation projects have either taken place or are taking place in that office, which temporarily housed Spencer County EMS until its new headquarters on Spears Drive was completed. Karrer said ceiling tiles have been replaced in the upstairs office and the carpet is in the process of being replaced. Those projects will continue, Karrer said.
•The court approved a proposal by Peach State, which is currently completing the county’s second ambulance remount, to add a child safety seat in the patient compartment of the ambulance. The addition is estimated to cost $1,040, Karrer said. Currently, if a child is transported from the scene of an accident or from a home, EMS workers either use the owner’s child safety seat or do the best they can to safely transport the child without one. On a motion by Magistrate Hobert Judd, seconded by Magistrate David Goodlett, the addition of the seat was approved unanimously.
•Bobby Smith addressed the court regarding the Phase IV water project and advised court members to ask the city, which runs the water department, if its funding is being handled properly. Smith said the water projects were approved many years ago and previous county administrations were a part of those discussions, but he said he believes the current administration inherited the responsibility of making sure county water customers are getting a fair deal.
“This is becoming more and more of an issue,” Smith said. “[County residents] are taxed without representation. They [the city] don’t do cost studies, they openly raise the rates. Are you all able to defend that? You are a party to it … When they tell us that we ought to be grateful to them for getting water — and we are, we are — but we ought to be treated fairly.”
Karrer said Phase IV was “all but complete” when he came into office and said no part of the project is ongoing.
“Nobody comes to Fiscal Court or to me to ask anything about water rates,” Karrer said, adding that based on documents from when the project was ongoing, there was some requirement to set rates based on cost, but said it wasn’t his interpretation that the county would be involved in oversight after that.
Magistrate Mike Moody asked County Attorney Ruth Hollan to look into the county’s current responsibility regarding water rates, if any.