City wants legislators to let public vote on Sunday alcohol sales
by DAVID ATCHISON
Feb 04, 2013 | 3712 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY — It appears local state representatives will not support local legislation that would allow residents to vote on whether to have Sunday alcohol sales in the city or the installation of red-light/speeding cameras at intersections.

Last month the council tabled resolutions asking state representatives to support local legislation that would allow Pell City residents to vote on whether to allow alcohol sales on Sunday. The council also tabled a resolution asking that the local delegation introduce a bill that would allow the city to set up cameras at intersections. The cameras would enable the city to ticket individuals who run red lights, stop signs or speed along city streets.

“We have to get those men on board or we’re wasting our time,” Councilwoman Dot Wood said when the council discussed the proposed resolutions supporting legislation.

The council never took action or voted for the passage of either resolution.

Wood said the city did not need to waste money on legal notices if legislators would not support one or both bills. She suggested the council meet with the local delegation to see if they would support the measures.

On Friday, the council got its answer.

“It’s a revenue measure, not a safety measure,” Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, said about possible legislation that would allow cameras at intersections in Pell City.

He said it only took one person to kill local legislation, and all senators and representatives whose districts touch St. Clair County would have to agree to support the proposed local legislation.

“I’m the one to say that (camera bill) is dead,” Wood said. “… That camera is not going to stop wrecks at that intersection.”

Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he would support a study to see if a camera would actually reduce the number of vehicle crashes at a certain intersection.

“I could support red light cameras under certain conditions,” he said, adding that an intersection with cameras needed to be “well marked,” so it is not considered a measure to raise revenue but to actually reduce crashes.

“I could see running a study,” he said.

Both state representatives met with the Pell City Council and mayor Friday during an all-day special called council meeting.

Neither Wood nor McClendon appeared to support local legislation that would allow Pell City residents to vote on whether the city could have legal alcohol sales on Sunday.

Wood said he would have to believe the majority of the people in Pell City would want Sunday alcohol sales.

Mayor Joe Funderburg said city officials were not asking that the two representatives support Sunday alcohol sale, but only introduce legislation to allow the people of Pell City to vote on the matter.

He said a group of people asked the previous council to explore the possibility of Sunday alcohol sales in Pell City. The previous council unanimously approved both resolutions.

“It makes no difference to me one way or another,” Funderburg said. “I remember when St. Clair County was dry and the only people who made money were the bootleggers. This is only an opportunity for the people to vote on it. If the people vote it down, so be it.”

McClendon and Wood said they represent a conservative voting district, which includes Pell City.

“It’s not the voters in Pell City, it’s the voters everywhere else,” McClendon said.

McClendon said proponents could use his support for the proposed legislation against him, saying he supports Sunday liquor sales.

Funderburg reiterated that the legislation does not allow Sunday alcohol sales, but only provides a democratic process for an issue that is decided by the majority vote of the people.

“It should be up to the people of Pell City,” he said. “Let the people speak — do you want it or not?”

Funderburg said proponents of Sunday alcohol sales say it could attract more businesses and restaurants to Pell City.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.