AUBURN, Ala. — Thanks to a majority vote from Auburn City Council, the city will seek the opinion of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall if an earlier vote on 10 a.m. Sunday alcohol sales could take place before August of 2018.
In the 2017 legislative session, the legislature passed a bill that allowed counties or municipalities to allow Sunday alcohol sales to begin at 10 a.m. This has been dubbed the “Brunch Bill.” If a city or municipality allowed Sunday alcohol sales by a referendum, then they would be allowed to have another vote to let them begin at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The City of Auburn enacted Sunday Sales by a referendum in 1999.
The city could have a vote on this during the August 2018 regular municipal election, but there has been discussions of possibly having a vote prior to August 2018.
Therefore, the city contacted Alabama’s Legislative Reference Service who said the city could not call a special election. The Secretary of State’s office said the city could not call a special election on this matter. The Alabama League of Municipalities stopped short of saying the city could not hold an election, but advised them to contact the Attorney General’s office. The city was also in contact with City Attorney Rick Davidson and Lee County Probate Judge Bill English.
David Bancroft, the owner and chef of Acre said Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants like his would increase efficiency and provide customers both residents and visitors a full experience.
“We have staff that is already here employed, waiting an hour and a half doing nothing until all of a sudden they are activated,” Bancroft said. “Now, we’re a much more efficient business, and we can control our labor better, we can control our products better, and we’ll also give a full offering to the customers.”
If the city were to hold a special election, the cost would be between $5,000 and $10,000. There would not be an added cost if it was held in the August 2018 election.