BROOKSVILLE — Looking to put itself on par with the rest of Hernando County, the Brooksville City Council on Monday night took a step toward updating its laws to allow alcohol sales in stores and restaurants before 1 p.m. on Sundays.
On the first reading of the ordinance, council members voted 3-1 to overturn a provision that since the early 1990s has put city businesses at a disadvantage with their counterparts in unincorporated areas of the county, where the sale of alcohol between is prohibited between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. every day of the week.
The measure, introduced by council member Joe Johnston III in December, garnered no public outcry at the meeting. The only opposition came from Mayor Lara Bradburn, who said she was voting against it mainly on philosophical grounds because it "promoted the use of alcohol."
Once part of many municipal "blue laws" across the country that were supported by religious leaders, laws banning Sunday alcohol sales have eased in recent years in many locales.
Johnston maintained that Brooksville's old alcohol sales ordinance stifled city business owners. In some areas near the city limits, convenience stores in the county were selling alcohol on Sunday morning, he said, while store owners inside the city limits watched sales slip away.
"It's something that's been needed for a while," Johnston said.
The ordinance is expected to pass on its second reading Feb. 1.
In other business, the council voted to table a proposal that would enable utility deposits to be returned to account holders who are in good standing with the city. The council instructed finance director Steve Baumgartner to do additional research on the issue.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.