OXFORD — Sunday alcohol sales in Oxford will kick off in about a month, after a City Council vote Monday.
The council approved an ordinance Monday morning that will allow Sunday alcohol sales starting Sept. 1, in response to a city referendum last week in which residents voted almost 2 to 1 in favor of allowing such sales. The only restriction is a five-hour period from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings, during which both on- and off-premises sales will still be restricted. Violations could cost business owners up to $500 in fines.
Not only did Oxford voters support Sunday sales, but the tabulation wasn’t close. Both developments are surprising, but it is the second one — the 2-1 pro-sales tally — that’s the most shocking.
The ordinance passed without much discussion. Council President Chris Spurlin, a pastor in Oxford, chose to abstain from the vote.
“I do not want to vote against the will of the people but I have a personal issue against this, and I abstain,” Spurlin said.
The remaining four council members voted to approve the ordinance.
“I’m just glad people had the opportunity to speak out,” said Councilwoman Charlotte Hubbard, who reintroduced the Sunday sales discussion at a council meeting in March.
During its meeting, the City Council also:
— Discussed Keep Oxford Beautiful, which is looking for team members who can help with various volunteer efforts, including trips to city schools to educate young people about littering and recycling, and writing for grants.
Hubbard said the grants were “designed for lay people to write,” not necessarily requiring expertise in grant writing.
She said the Keep Oxford Beautiful board would request money to submit an application for training in an amount around $3,000. She said she had spoken with Anniston Councilwoman Millie Harris, who suggested having training for the newly-created Keep Anniston Beautiful at the same time to save on expenses.
— Annexed about 5.5 acres of land owned by the Gaither family into the city and rezoned it as agricultural land, per request of the owners.
— Declared abandoned items held in evidence at the Police Department as surplus, including a Hewlett Packard laptop, motorcycle helmet and Wii balance board accessory, among dozens of other items.