Brinson refuses to rewrite charter

Published 8:03 pm Friday, April 2, 2010

Brinson’s Town Council was packed full of citizens voicing their opinions on changing the town’s charter to allow the sale of alcohol during its monthly meeting on March 8.

In September, Brogdon’s Grocery owners Sylvia Brogdon Jones and her husband, Derrell Jones, brought to the table a proposition to sell alcohol at their store, in order to bring in extra income.

Brinson’s charter prohibits this—it also states that the act barring the sale of alcohol should never be altered except by unanimous petition of all freeholders residing within the town limits.

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Prior to this month’s meeting, each citizen was allowed to sign up to hold the floor for two minutes in order to persuade or dissuade council members from voting on pursuing the change of the charter.

Citizens in attendance included Annette Shoemaker, Jesse Powell, Jim Hess, Berley Belvin Hadley and Hattie Bridges.

One of the main reasons citizens wanted to keep Brinson stores alcohol free was the sole idea that their town was founded on Christian values.

“The principles given in the charter were Christian principles,” Bridges said, “and it is up to the citizens to assist council members in upholding them.”

Another concern focuses on keeping Brinson relatively crime-free. Some believed that selling alcohol would attract troublemakers and loiters to Brogdon’s Grocery.

“I wouldn’t want to be a clerk that worked at that store selling alcohol,” Hess said.

The concern for safety around the store binds with another fear-—people driving with an open container. Brinson has no local police force; they must rely on the deputies of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. No local law enforcement officers means there is no one to patrol the roads and enforce the open container policy; it also means there will be no one quick to respond in case trouble breaks out at the store.

Even though citizens can get alcohol from Bainbridge and other surrounding cities, the people of Brinson feel that by selling alcohol in the city limits would bring more drinkers to the town; it will allow travelers to stop in and buy alcohol, possible enhancing driving with an open container.

The majority of attendees argued against the sale of alcohol, but there were a few who argued for it.

Some, like Brittany Williams, feel that there is no difference between the sale of alcohol and gambling. She also argued that their town is getting smaller each year, and the possibility of selling alcohol may increase Brinson’s population.

At the closing of the meeting, Brogdon’s Grocery owner Sylvia Brogdon Jones was allowed to speak.

“Brinson is not an alcohol-free town,” she said.

She also rebutted against the idea of crime and the focus on Christian values.

“I have drunks come in the store all the time, and we don’t sell beer now. Also, it’s not the drinking that’s a sin, it’s the abuse,” Jones said.

After all citizens had voiced their opinion, Mayor James Earp asked for a motion to change the charter. There was no motion, therefore the charter will remain the same.