ST. CLAIR COUNTY – Pell City and Riverside officials said businesses could begin seven-day alcohol sales after Tuesday’s vote count is certified next week.
“The vote was the only thing holding it up,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup said. “As far as I’m concerned, once the City Council ratifies this vote, it’s legal.”
Jessup said 74 percent of the residents who participated in Tuesday’s referendum to determine whether Riverside could have seven-day sales voted in favor. The unofficial count was 203 for and 73 against.
Jessup said the city only has a handful of provisional ballots, which will not affect the outcome of the vote.
“I am happy that it’s over,” he said.
He said judging by voter turnout, the issue was not a big deal with Riverside residents.
“The businesses in Riverside really wanted it,” Jessup said. “They think it will bring in more commerce. I hope it does.”
Pell City Manager Brian Muenger also expects businesses in his municipality will being selling alcohol on Sundays starting Aug. 23, after the official vote is certified by the City Council on Tuesday at City Hall.
Unlike Riverside and Moody, Pell City had a high turnout for Tuesday’s referendum. Sunday sales were approved in all three municipalities.
“I don’t know who was voting for what, but we had them lined out of the door,” said Betty Gardner, one of the election officers for Tuesday’s referendum in Pell City, before the polls were closed.
More Pell City residents voted in Tuesday’s referendum than in the last mayoral race. The unofficial count was 1,213 for and 659 against.
“We had tons of first-time voters,” said Jerry Burns, another election officer for Tuesday’s special election.
Muenger said the council will canvass the votes Tuesday and approve a resolution authorizing the sale of alcohol on Sundays. He said the city will send a copy of the resolution, along with a letter, to the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board after the vote is certified.
Muenger said there are about 38 businesses, including restaurants, affected by Tuesday’s vote.
“Some businesses may choose not to participate,” Muenger added.
In Moody, 367 people voted for Sunday sales, while 187 voted against.
Moody City Clerk Tracy Patterson said the council will have a special called meeting Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. to certify the vote. Patterson said the council will decide Tuesday when businesses may begin selling alcohol on Sundays within the municipality.