City of Bainbridge, Georgia
Mayor and City Council, October 18, 2011
On Tuesday evening the Bainbridge City Council took up the issue of Sunday Liquor sales, kinda, well not really. Council heard from several citizens that supported placing the issue on the November 2012 ballot allowing the local citizenry to ultimately make the decision. Two local ministers supported the City Council turning down what Ted Snell characterized as a democratic process.
In the end, Council member Dean Burke made a motion that the issue be placed on the 2012 ballot, but it died for lack of a second. After the meeting, other council members stated they were not opposed to having it on the ballot and when questioned further stated they did not expect to have to vote on the issue on Tuesday. Asked if they would consider the issue in the future, council members stated yes.
Kenneth Pearce told Council that "Some people may look upon Sunday sales as a moral or religious issue. I look on it as an economic issue."
He pointed out that even cooking wine cannot be sold on Sunday. He continued that in order to pick up a six pack on Sunday you would have to detour to Florida before taking advantage of the great outdoors Bainbridge has to offer. He stated that offering liquor by the drink in our local restaurants would be a boost to our local economy and noted that Beef O Brady has their customer base limited due to the restriction. Iced tea with hot wings at a sports bar is just not the same as a cold beer.
Mr Pearce concluded with
"Join me in trying to bring our community up to date and losing one more stumbling block with being on par with other communities seeking to impact investment in a community by outside interests by passing the resolution allowing Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages by the package and by the drink. Let's continue to bring Bainbridge into the 21st century and to make it more attractive for retirees and others considering relocating here and establishments that might also consider Bainbridge in their expansion plans... Let the citizens of Bainbridge make the choice."
Rev Paul Medley of First Baptist and co-chair of the Ministerial Association stated he comes on behalf of the majority, but not all, of the Ministerial Association. He stated there are "church folk that do not like to get in line behind someone who has a basket full of beer or other beverages they have to wait behind."
Rev Medley stated that in regards to business in town or potentially come to town because of that(liquor by the drink) he spoke to a leading real estate agent in town. He stated he was told that there was not enough people that would support that and not enough traffic through the county to support that. "It really has nothing to do with the sale of alcohol, alcohol will not bring people into Bainbridge."
He continued that "those who are wanting to drink on Sunday, those that choose to drink on Sunday, naturally that's their choice. They can also make the choice to think ahead and buy it on Saturday." Rev Medley stated "it concerns me that the Council would be seen as a body that supports alcohol, sale or use, as a city government." He concluded by saying on behalf of our churches and our members of the ministerial Association, not to consider this motion in a positive light.
Ted Snell responded to Rev Medley, whom he states he respects, "I'm as religious as the next person. All that is being asked of you is to allow it to be placed on the ballot so that each and every citizen in this community can vote. If it fails it fails if it passes it passes. We live in a democratic society, I hope, that we can trust the citizens for or against something."
"Shame on you(City Council) if you don't allow the public to vote on it, and I'm sorry that this outcry of ministers who say they don't want the citizens to vote on it, shame on them." Mr Snell concluded.
Rev Randy Mosley, of First United Methodist, told council, "There are six days out of the week where businesses can sell package items and restaurants have to do their business and make their sales." he went on to say "I would compel our council to please help us hold on to what little bit of the Sabbath that we have left, as Protestants in faith."
Chuck Reeves, of Beef'O'Brady's, stressed to council that the establishment is a family oriented restaurant. He reiterated the economic advantage that liquor by the drink would bring to not only his restaurant but others.
He suggested to council that some appear to think that "if we allow a person to have a beer on Sunday that the whole world standing has crashed down in Bainbridge and we will become Sodom and Gomorrah. It's not like that." Mr Reeves stated right now there is no choice in Bainbridge and urged council to let there be freedom of choice and allow the citizens to vote on the issue.
Mayor Reynolds asked if any council members had any input on the issue and none spoke up. Council member Dean Burke moved the issue be placed on the 2012 ballot, and the silence continued, allowing the motion to die.
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