Originally published: May 25, 2013
When the Milton City Council voted not to allow Sunday liquor sales in downtown Milton's tourist district, many people took note of what seemed to be a backward procedure.
We'll set the stage: The council chamber was packed. It was standing room only. People were there to express their support or dissension of Sunday alcohol sales. Five people supporting the change spoke, five people against the change spoke. Finally, it came down to a vote of the city council. Now, mind you, this was the second reading on whether or not to allow Sunday liquor sales. A motion had already been made the week before. The discussion was over. It was time to vote.
That is when it got a little confusing.
A motion was made by Councilman Grady Hester to NOT accept the motion made the week before to allow Sunday liquor sales in downtown Milton. It was already very clear who among the city council members supported liquor sales and who did not. So when councilpersons—who just moments before the vote expressed their opinions against the sales of alcohol—voted to NOT accept the motion Hester made against the motion the week before to accept sales, we were confused. The City Attorney was even called upon to straighten out what they were voting for...or against. The vote ended in a tie among city council members and the mayor's vote ended talk of selling liquor on Sunday downtown.
Looked to us like the Mayor broke a tiebreaker that wouldn't have been a tiebreaker if people on the council had understood for what they were voting. When all was said and done, nobody was buying alcohol on Sunday in downtown Milton. What that really means is the local business owner who was looking at putting in a $500,000 waterfront restaurant to become centerpiece of downtown Milton development, is now silent.
Oh, one more thing. The vote last month that stopped Sunday liquor sales, oddly enough, extended the hours that liquor can be sold downtown from midnight to 2 a.m. five nights a week, excluding Saturday and Sunday—and changed morning liquor sales hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
That was last month.
This week, a councilperson decided they wanted the hours changed back to 7 a.m. to midnight six days a week. So they made a motion to cancel the change made last month. Or...um...no wait...I am being told the change didn't happen last month—so last week they discussed voting to extend the hours, but then this week they voted to cancel the last vote and tied again and the Mayor voted and broke the tie.
We were not the only ones left scratching our heads. The next day a local minister who was at the meeting took it upon himself to call our office to explain to us what actually happened the night before, in case, you know, we didn't get it.
The next executive session for the Milton City Council is June 3.
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