FRANKLINTON, La. - The debate is growing in Washington Parish over allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
The Bogalusa City Council voted 5-2 to allow grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants to sell alcohol beverages on Sunday. That new law goes into effect December 14. That means, on Sunday, December 20, Bogalusa will become the first city in Washington Parish to sell alcohol on Sunday.
"Everybody's in bad times right now," Bogalusa City Councilman Danny Stogner told Eyewitness News Wednesday. "We got to think outside the box to generate even if it's a small amount of revenue."
Stogner was one of the councilmen backing the law. He said, Bogalusa restaurants will benefit, "A lot of people leave Washington Parish and go to St. Tammany Parish to eat their meals on Sunday so they can watch the Saints game or any game and have their lunch and beverage," Stogner added.
Now, the debate moves to Franklinton, where the same idea was introduced. "And I would say, there's legitimate arguments on both sides," Franklinton Mayor Wayne Fleming said Wednesday.
Those against the idea said, it comes down to economics versus quality of life. "What we don't want to see done is to lose character and the family oriented environment of our town," Pastor Luther Stanford of First Baptist Church in Franklinton told Eyewitness News, "which is very, very unique."
Right now, the state attorney general's office is studying Franklinton's charter to see if the town's Board of Aldermen can vote on the alcohol sales, or if it must go to a vote of the people.
"It's not that alcohol is not available," Pastor Stanford said, "you just may have to plan a day in advance."
In Franklington, the debate is not just about Sunday alcohol sales, but also about allowing restaurants to sell alcohol. For now, Franklinton does not allow restaurants to have liquor licenses, but that could soon change. Supporters of the idea say, allowing liquor licenses could help recruit new restaurants to Franklinton, but Pastor Stanford said, he's against expanding alcohol sales, "We feel we're on a very healthy trajectory as a community,
and we don't want to see anything hinder that, or change that trajectory."
Mayor Fleming expects either the Board of Alderman or the people of Franklinton to vote on both alcohol sales ideas, Sunday sales and restaurant liquor licenses, early next year.