Ministers want say on alcohol sales
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Proverbs 20:1 says that "wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise."
The Hartselle Ministerial Association is hoping to keep those problems – and others they feel could be associated with the sale of alcohol – as far away from the city as possible.
Local officials have scheduled a Sept. 18 meeting with representatives of the Hartselle Ministerial Association to discuss the future of alcohol sales in the city. While the ministers have said they are opposed to alcohol sales, they are hoping to have limiting ordinances in place in case the city votes to go wet.
Petitions calling to an alcohol referendum were certified earlier this year.
The referendum is scheduled for Nov. 5, the same time as the statewide election.
According to Mayor Clif Knight, the association has expressed its concerns about possible alcohol sales in the city since before the petitions were certified.
"There was a concern on the part of the ministerial association as to what ordinances we would have in place if sales were approved," Knight said. "We're planning this meeting to address those issues."
Among those issues will be where alcohol sales are permitted. Several ministers have expressed concern that alcohol sales be kept away from schools, churches, parks and senior citizen centers.
Unless a municipality has ordinances dealing with alcohol sales in place, jurisdiction falls to the Alabama Beverage Control Board. The ABC board can issue a permit anywhere within the city limits – regardless of proximity to a church or school – if no local ordinances in place.
Knight said he has examined several alcohol ordinances, including those from Decatur, Guntersville, Florence and Jasper.
"Decatur's seems to be the most encompassing," Knight said.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at city hall.