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What Now? The Aftermath From The Yalobusha Beer Election

Just over a week after Yalobusha voters determined that beer would be legalized in the county, the first delivery truck stopped at Sprint Mart. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – It was hard not to notice the numerous beer trucks in the Valley, beginning early Wednesday morning as the first delivery truck stopped at Sprint Mart to stock the shelves.

    And it was easy to see motorists taking a second, and perhaps third, look at the long Bud Light truck across from the Methodist Church.

    “I never thought I would see this in Water Valley,” a Sprint Mart customer said as the cases of beer were wheeled inside.

    One such passing motorist, Special Agent Joel Tackett, with the Mississippi State Tax Commission also noticed the excitement and stopped to take a look.

    As Tackett entered the store, Mayor Bill Norris was close on his heels as the crowd gathered. Norris checked their state permits at Sprint Mart, and also advised store manager Don Simoneaux he would also need a city permit.

    Before the first sale was made, Simoneaux obtained this permit, which was later determined not to be needed as the city’s new ordinance had not yet taken effect (see related story.)

    The store received 595 cases of beer during the first two days of sales, according to Tammy Maclin, second assistant leader for the store. Sales the first day were $1700, she added.

    “You can’t get through here,” she said, commenting on the amount of beer in the store.

    Elsewhere in the county, Henry Pilkinton, with Better Brands Distributing, a West Point distributing company, reported that his company had delivered around 2,000 cases of beer to 10 outlets in Yalobusha.

    Following a vote last Wednesday, Dec. 19, an ordinance went into effect immediately (see related story) that will regulate how beer is sold in the county.

    Part of the process in the county includes board approval for the application and applicant, according to Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn.

    “The person and their application has to be approved by the board. We’re working on getting the actual paper application and permit that I would issue after the board approves it,” Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn reported.

“Hopefully we’ll have it (permits) in plenty of time before the Jan 7 meeting,” she continued.

    Coffeeville Mayor Mack Burns reported he also spent much of the day last Thursday dealing with the beer issue.

    “I got a copy of the Water Valley ordinance this morning,” Burns said when contacted last Thursday by the Herald.

    He said that his board would likely move more cautiously, giving time for public input on a potential beer regularatory ordinance in Coffeeville.

    Burns reported that Coffeeville aldermen will likely take up the issue in Janauary, publicize it for 30 days followed by an actual public hearing before potentially adopting beer regulatory ordinances.

    Burns also said he personally did not see any advantage in selling the beverage.

    “I would be in favor of not selling single cans,” Burns added.

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