From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports
TRUSSVILLE — Two Shell gas stations were brought before the Trussville City Council on May 24 for allegedly selling alcohol to minors during a sting operation. The locations are located on Deerfoot Parkway and Roper Road.
During the meeting, Council President Anthony Montalto said the two stations would both be placed on probation, but Mayor Gene Melton said on May 25 that because there was no action taken by the council during the meeting, that neither is actually on probation. Melton said he sent letters to the owners of each respective station calling them to the meeting, upon which the council asked questions to get clarification on each situation. This was the first offense in more than a decade for one station, and the first offense under the current owner at the other station.
“The council is the only one who can put the licensee on probation, and they’d have to vote to do that,” Melton said.
Melton said he believes that when the word probation was said, it was taken out of context, but the record of the council meeting would reflect that there was no official action taken.
Should a business be placed on probation, Melton said that the council would vote to do so, and then there would be a window of time that if another offense was committed, the business would have its license immediately revoked, but this isn’t the case for either Shell station in question during Tuesday’s council meeting.
“The history of both stations didn’t merit they be on probation,” Melton said. He added that probation typically comes when there is a habitual violation, which usually points to a system error, at which point the system would need to be corrected.
Both Shell stations use an ID system where all patrons purchasing alcohol or tobacco are asked for ID, and then the attendant checks the date of birth and enters it into the system. The system then clears the attendant to either sell to that patron or not, however, there is a way in the system where you can bypass entering a date of birth, in situations where the customer looks to be well over the age of 21.
“We take the alchol license seriously about selling to minors, and I think we got that point across to them,” said Melton. “The purpose is for them to understand how important it is to us, and understand it’s a privilege not a right.”