McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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April 28, 2014

Commissioners delay vote on Sunday alcohol sales once again.

McALESTER — For the fourth time, the Pittsburg County commissioners put off making a decision to allow voters decide of local restaurants can sell alcohol on Sunday.

The commissioners met Monday for a regular meeting at the Pittsburg County Courthouse and

once again voted to table a request from Chili’s restaurant in McAlester to give voters a chance to decide if Pittsburg County restaurants can serve alcohol.

Four weeks ago, the agenda item was tabled at the request of Chili’s restaurant.

The second time it was tabled by the commissioners because they “needed to do some homework” to see where their liability stands, according to District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith.

The third time was last Monday when the commissioners said they couldn’t decide because they were waiting on more information from the election board and the district attorney’s office.

During this week’s meeting the commissioners voted to take no action again on the issue because Smith said he’s waiting for District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward to help him decide on the legalities.

Last week Smith said several things must looked at when the commissioners decide if the voters can elect to have Sunday alcohol sales.

“We have to see what kind of calls we get,” he said.

Also last week District 1Commissioner Gene Rogers and District 3 Commissioner Trent Myers both said the Pittsburg County voters should be allowed to decide for themselves on the matter but the legal and cost issues need to be assessed.

Meanwhile during Monday’s meeting McAlester resident Marsha Coyle told the commissioners she thought the commissioner had nothing to lose by allowing voters to decide on the issue.

“Voting to allow the sale alcohol on Sunday would not be a negative reflection on any of you,” Coyle said.

“It’s important to be able to have that choice. If I want a drink I should be able to have one and not have the government telling me what I can or cannot do.”

Smith said if the commissioners decided to allow the voters to make the decision, the county could have to pay some $5,000 for ballots to be printed.

He said the issue may be decided next week but it may take even longer.

“We still are not clear on everything,” Smith said.

The Pittsburg County commissioners meet Mondays at 9 a.m. in the commissioner’s conference room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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