AP NEWS

Wesson to vote on sales of wine and beer

January 1, 2019

WESSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi town of nearly 1,900 will vote Jan. 15 on whether to allow beer and wine sales.

Wesson has lost $2,000 to $3,000 a month in tax revenues since Brookhaven legalized beer and liquor sales in June 2013, officials told The Daily Leader of Brookhaven.

“It’s not just liquor — people would come up here and buy liquor, then they’d stop and get gas or go into a store,” Mayor Alton Shaw told the newspaper earlier this year. “Anything you sell helps from a tax point of view.”

The special election was made possible when the town annexed a highway right-of-way that brought its boundary exactly three miles from that of Brookhaven, and citizens then petitioned for the referendum.

Under state law, any municipality with at least 1,500 residents and within three miles of a city or county that already permits the sale of alcohol is allowed to vote on whether to legalize beer sales.

Wesson is in both Copiah and Lincoln counties. Since Copiah County is “wet,” liquor sales already are legal in Wesson, and Lincoln County residents bought liquor there until Brookhaven’s election.

After that vote, the larger of Wesson’s two liquor stores moved to Brookhaven.

At least 20 percent of Wesson’s 902 registered voters signed a petition asking for the election, and on Dec. 4 aldermen voted unanimously to hold the vote. If voters and then aldermen approve, it would become legal to sell light wine with up to 5 percent alcohol by weight, and beer with up to 8 percent alcohol by weight.

Ward 2 Aldermen Jarrad Ashley said another goal of the annexation is to let Wesson police patrol, set roadblocks and respond to traffic accidents on Highway 51 near Copiah-Lincoln Community College. They won’t be using radar speed detectors -- state law allows only municipalities with at least 2,000 residents to use them.

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Information from: The Daily Leader, http://www.dailyleader.com

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