The discussion began after local businessman Charles Walker, owner of a local convenience store, requested the board revisit making the change to the city's alcohol sales policy. In recent years, the board voted down allowing beer sales on Sunday after another business owner requested the change.
Alderman Travis Johnson suggested holding a public hearing to get residents' views on the subject, and following an Alderman Franklin Seals motion to schedule a public hearing to discuss the matter, with a second by Alderman Kelvin Winbush, the measure passed three to two, with Aldermen David Ware and Mickey Austin casting the dissenting votes.
Mayor Jerry Flowers explained that by holding the public hearing, the board is in no way required to vote on changing the city's policy. It is merely a means to gather public opinion.
The public hearing will be held on September 3, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. at Winona City Hall. All Winona citizens are invited to attend.
In other city business:
• A condemnation hearing was held regarding several properties in Winona that have fallen into disrepair. The board voted to extend the deadline on two properties, 216 Quitman Street and 312 Powell Street, as work was underway to clean up the property.
Property at 710 Dennis Street and the vacant truck stop located at the corner of Highway 51 and Highway 82, owned by Southern Oil Company, have been brought up to the city's standards and the condemnations were dismissed.
• Marie Fair, accompanied by Senator Lydia Chassaniol (R-Winona), spoke on behalf of the American Red Cross as she requested funding help from the city. She explained that in the past year, the American Red Cross responded to two calls from the Winona Fire Department, offering assistance in the amount of $1,235 as well as providing gift packs and other comfort packs to many more residents of Winona.
The Red Cross is requesting the city allocate $2,000 in the FY2014 budget for disaster relief.
• According to Water Superintendent Frank Faulkner, the bar screen at the waste water plant is in disrepair. Faulkner said he has informed the Department of Environmental Quality of the problem, and ordered parts. However, parts will take four to six weeks to arrive, and Faulkner said the machine would have to be operated manually until it can be fixed.
Faulkner said to purchase a new bar screen, it will cost upwards of $30,000, but he said he is hoping the current equipment can be rehabbed.
• At the request of Fire Chief James "Smitty" Smith, Brad Mooneyham was promoted to Captain at the Winona Fire Department. The board also hired Art Hicks, a longtime firefighter from Greenwood, as a lieutenant.
• Winona parks director Mike Narmour reported to the board that three teams of four and five-year-olds and three teams of six, seven, and eight-year-olds have been created after soccer signups recently. However, he is having issue recruiting parents to volunteer to coach the teams.
• At the request of Winona Chief of Police Johnny Hargrove, the board accepted the resignation of patrolman John Morgan Carpenter and promoted Ryan Smith to sergeant.
• Flowers informed the board that the city is looking at 75 acres of land that could possibly become a rubbish pit. He said he has spoken with county leaders, and it is possible for the city and the county to go in together on creating a rubbish pit.
• Flowers presented the board with the most recent audit of the city's financials, and he explained that the report showed the city in good financial standing with a good bond rating.
• The Winona Street Department will remove an island from in front of Alpha Insurance on Summit Street at the request of the business owner.
• The board accepted the bid from the Bank of Winona to provide the loan to purchase a truck for the Street Department. Bank of Winona's interest rate for a 12-month loan came in at 1.45 percent.
• The board agreed to advertise the upcoming public hearing regarding the FY2014 city budget. According to Williams, the school board is requesting a one mil decrease in the current tax rate, however, due to an increase in assessed value, the school district will be receiving more money per mil than last year.
• The Board of Aldermen will hold a budget workshop on Tuesday, August 29 at 4 p.m. at Winona City Hall.