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City, County Look At Beer Regulations

By Jack Gurner

and David Howell

Supervisors met Wednesday morning and Water Valley Aldermen met Tuesday night – each sharing a common item on the meeting agenda.

    How to regulate beer sales in the city and county?

    This topic follows last Tuesday’s vote in which Yalobushians favored, by a two-to-one margin, legalizing beer and light wine.

    The county currently falls under state guidelines – which can be strengthened if additional regulatory ordinances are passed by city and county officials.

    While the county officially becomes wet following the election certification process and submission of these results to the Secretary of State and the tax commission, beer cannot be sold by wholesalers or retailers in the county until state licenses are issued.

    “Temporary permits (to sell beer) could be issued in a matter of days,” State Tax Commission spokesperson Kathy Waterberry reported Monday, when contacted by the Herald. These permits are available so retailers do not have to wait on permanant paperwork, according to Waterberry.

    The actual permanent licensing process takes around 25 to 30 days, Waterberry said.

    Obtaining this retail license requires meeting criteria defined by the State Tax Commission.

    Waterberry said the tax commission has already received “several” applicants from Yalobusha County.

Local Decisions

    “We are probably not going to make a decision until early next year,” Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman said last week in a telephone interview. Tillman confirmed that regulating beer sales discussion would begin during the Wednesday, Dec. 19, meeting.

    Any regularatory actions taken by county officials will includes areas in the county outside of municipalities. Each town in the county can pass its own beer regulatory ordinances different from those in the county.

    At presstime Tuesday, Water Valley Mayor Bill Noriss said  aldermen were preparing for a 6 p.m. meeting  Tuesday night to discuss the possible beer regulations.

    “I am trying to put together a draft of an ordinance for the board to consider,” City Attorney David Burns said. “It will be patterned after the one in effect in the City of Oxford.”

    Burns added that it would be up to the board to make any revisions.

    One of the first businesses to apply for a retail license in Water Valley is Sprint Mart.

    Charles Morris, Operating Principal, confirmed Monday that his company had applied for a retail license to sell beer at their Water Valley location on Main Street.

    Sayle Oil Company, who operates two Gas Marts in the county, also sent applications in Monday, according to Johnny Sayle.

    “We had a corporate meeting this morning,” Sayle said. “I told them the results had been certified.”

    The applications submitted by Sayle were for the Frostland Drive Gas Mart in Water Valley and for a second store on Hwy. 32 in Oakland.

    Although the licensing process is underway, the possession, transportation and consumption of legally purchased beer and light wine is now legal in the county.

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