Vote to to put Sunday sales on November ballot fails

Albany City Commissioners Roger Marietta, left, and B.J. Fletcher were joined by Commissioner Jon Howard in opposing putting a question on Sunday package store sales of alcohol on the November ballot.

Editor’s Note: A story that appeared in Wednesday’s Albany Herald and on AlbanyHerald.com indicated the Albany City Commission had voted in favor of the measure that would have allowed city voters to decide whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales at package stores. That measure actually drew a 3-3 vote, which means it failed for lack of a four-vote majority.

ALBANY — A measure to allow Sunday sales at package stores in Albany failed with a tie vote at Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting.

Commissioner Roger Marietta, who was joined by Commissioners B.J. Fletcher and Jon Howard in opposition, said he just didn’t feel right about approving the measure, which would have put the question of allowing Sunday sales on the November election ballot. Commissioners Matt Fuller and Bob Langstaff and Mayor Dorothy Hubbard supported the measure.

The commission did approve a measure to put another alcohol-related measure on the ballot for the fall — allowing restaurants and hotels that meet requirements to begin selling alcoholic beverages at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.

“I just felt like it was unnecessary,” Marietta said. “The brunch, I could see. It made sense to me. The package store sales, it just didn’t make sense to me.”

Marietta said part of his reason was religious.

“I don’t think it’s strictly a religious thing; I think Sunday is a day of rest,” he said. “I thought it was best just to leave it alone.”

The question on allowing earlier on-premises sale of alcoholic drinks will be on the ballot in November. To sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday, businesses who do so must derive at least 50% plus $1 from food sales.

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation allowing cities and counties to give voters the chance to decide on Sunday alcohol sales. Similar legislation passed in 2018 allows city and county governments to allow voters to decide on an 11 a.m. starting time for serving alcoholic beverages on premises.

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