An ordinance to allow alcohol sales on Sundays in Boaz was struck from the city council’s agenda for a second time in as many meetings.
The item was removed during a meeting held Monday, Nov. 12, due to the absence of Councilman Jeff Davis. At the time, Boaz Mayor David Dyar said all councilmen needed to be present for the vote. The council decided to push the ordinance to the Nov. 25 meeting.
Councilman Mike Matthews was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting, thus calling for another strike. Dyar said Matthews had hip surgery one week ago, and the council was not aware he would be absent until nearly time for the meeting.
Since Aug. 1, neither a vote of the people nor a legislative act is required to allow Sunday alcohol sales in cities that are already “wet” — cities like Boaz.
If the city were to adopt an ordinance allowing Sunday alcohol sales, it would be going against the citizens’ vote.
A special referendum was first held in October of 2015, when Sunday alcohol sales were voted down by a 421-251 split.
Nearly three years later, in August of 2018, another special election was held, but it failed again by 13 votes. The final vote tally was 355-342.
According to U.S. Census Data, Boaz had 3,904 registered voters at the time, meaning only 17.8% of voters turned out for the election.
A trio of church leaders attended the meeting and stated their opposition of Sunday alcohol sales.
Tony Holcomb, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, gave three reasons why passing a seven-day sales ordinance was not a good idea. First, he said the community should be focused on keeping the Lord’s Day holy. Second, it would be a strong statement to the community’s youth, he said. And finally, he said its should be left up to the people to decide.
Andy Sims, who is the pastor of Springdale Baptist Church and brother of Councilman Jeff Sims, echoed Holcomb. He encouraged the council to not even introduce the ordinance, much less adopt it. He said if he could go back, he would like to see the ordinance allowing any alcohol sales to be taken back.
Willis Kelly, a local preacher from Albertville, was last to speak on the matter by calling on the council to hold an election rather than passing an ordinance. He said he understood both sides of the argument concerning Sunday alcohol sales, but if possible, he hopes to see Boaz prosper without it.
It is unclear whether or not the ordinance will be on the council’s agenda for the next meeting scheduled Dec. 2.
If the ordinance is approved, it would mimic ordinances in Albertville and Guntersville, city attorney Greg Price said.
Besides allowing alcohol sales on Sundays, changes to the ordinance also include adding and amending definitions to different items within the ordinance.
The ordinance would also be amended to combine all of the city’s ordinances concerning alcohol sales, manufacturing and distribution into one single ordinance.