As expected, the county commission Monday night took no action on authorizing 24-7 sales for stores licensed to sell packaged beer in the county as Smithville did for city stores in December.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW OF JEWEL REDMON SPEAKING TO COUNTY COMMISSION)
With several people both for and against the proposal in attendance waiting to hear what the county commission would do, County Mayor Mike Foster announced that the commission would do nothing until a public hearing is scheduled to give citizens a chance to express their views. Foster said the commissioners want to take some time to see how the changes made in the city are working out. "We had a request from Jewel Redmon to address the county commission. He did that last Thursday night. He was asking for Sunday beer sales. We talked about that a little bit. But to fulfill the requirements of the law, we will set a hearing date for that and advertise a public hearing and proceed with that at a future date. We would like to get a couple of months history from the city to see what's happened and not go into this cold. We'll set a date in the near future for the public hearing and that will be advertised and we will invite people to speak," said Foster.
As WJLE previously reported, the county commission last Thursday night, in what is called an all-committees session, heard from local businessman Jewel Redmon, owner of Jewel's Market and Pizza on North Congress Boulevard who asked that stores be allowed to sell beer on Sunday. "I would like the county commission to consider letting us sell beer on Sunday," said Redmon. "Eighty five percent of the places (licensed stores) in DeKalb County sell beer on Sunday now anyway. We would just like to have the same opportunity to compete with our competition. I don't care about all the hours. We just need, say til twelve o'clock in the morning and Sundays. Being 24 (hours) I really don't care about that," said Redmon.
"We would like to have it the same as it is in the city" said Roger Sharp, owner of Sharp Lodge on Cookeville Highway near Silver Point.
Local minister Bernard Houk asked the county commission not to extend the hours for beer sales. Houk said this issue is personal with him because he has seen how that alcohol has destroyed lives. He urged the commissioners to think about what's best for people rather than somebody's wallet.
One county commissioner told WJLE after the meeting Monday night that he would prefer the county call for a public referendum in the 2014 elections to give the people of DeKalb County a chance to vote it up or down.
Stores in the county with permits are prohibited from selling packaged beer from midnight til 6:00 a.m. weekdays and all day on Sundays. Smithville now allows licensed stores in the city limits to sell beer 24 hours a day, seven days week.