Board approves Sunday beer salesBy PAT BROWN,
Right out of the block, Magee’s new leadership voted to allow Sunday beer sales in the city, despite the objections of two returning aldermen and of members of previous administrations.
Newly elected Mayor Dale Berry prefaced the vote at his first meeting by stating that a swift decision was required because previous requests for the move by Rachael and Josh Walters, owners of the Chevron located on Highway 49 N., had been delayed by the old board. According to Berry, the decision was deferred to the new administration.
Paul Arnold, who was defeated for alderman-at-large in the last election, told board members, “If you don’t believe in the Bible, vote for this,” referring to Sunday beer sales. He provided documentation to the board of 75 biblical references regarding the drinking of alcohol. He said many of the people he spoke with during the election did not favor alcohol sales. He suggested the board have a referendum.
They opted not to do so. Whitney Baker made the motion to approve Sunday beer sales, and Matthew Hickman seconded. Voting in favor of beer sales starting at 1p.m. on Sundays were Angel Brister, Matthew Hickman and Whitney Baker, all newly elected to the board.
Mayor Berry said he had been in discussion with the Walters and they agreed that beer sales on Sunday would not start before 1 p.m. as a compromise.
Alderman Lane Steele said that legalizing beer sales on Sunday was not an issue he felt he could support. Alderman Patrick Brown said that because of his relationship with his pastor he could not support the issue either, even though there is a split in his constituency over support of Sunday beer sales.
The board also dealt with the recurring issue of contractors coming into the city and cutting trees. It was reported that they come in and tell residents they can cut limbs, then they leave the debris for the city to collect. However, the city has no way of dealing with large trees being left by these contractors. It was also noted that these contractors are not bonded and have no insurance to cover homeowners or the city if something happens while they are cutting trees and limbs.
The city attorney was instructed to develop a permitting procedure for these businesses to apply for to insure that residents’ interests are protected.
The board also took up a request from Duane Puckett discussed at the last meeting, who asked to have his new business on Highway 49 N. annexed into the city. The board attorney said approximately $5,000 in legal expenses would be associated with the move. The board was to contact Puckett to determine whether he was interested in paying the cost of changing the city limits.
According to board attorney Bruce Smith, this is a much more expensive action than people realize.
Gene Knight was reappointed as city judge, Bruce Smith was reappointed as city attorney and Chris Purdham was reappointed as city prosecutor.
Whitney Baker was appointed as Mayor Pro Tem replacing Patrick Brown.
City department heads and employees within the departments were reappointed with the exception of three officers in the Police Department.
Randy Crawford was reappointed to serve as police chief.
Patrick Brown, Whitney Baker and Angel Brister were appointed to the Budget Committee.
The Election Committee of Diane McPhail, Bill Caughman and Celestine Walker was appointed with the caveat that if Angel Brister ran for office again, McPhail would have to step down because of their family relationship.
The Zoning Board was approved with the following to serve: Sue Fulcher, Diane McPhail, Brien Hubbard, Bill Caughman, James Peden, James Milton and Jim Ball.
The board meets the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.