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Mayor Vetoes Vote To Change The Beer Ordinance

By David Howell


WATER VALLEY – A vote by Water Valley aldermen to change the city’s beer ordinance was vetoed by Mayor Donald Gray  on Tuesday. Aldermen voted 3-2 on Jan. 11 to strike the portion in Section 7 of the beer ordinance that requires a beer to be served in anticipation of receiving a meal. Gray had 10 business days after the meeting to veto the vote.

“I looked at this from this angle, the public health, safety and welfare of our citizens,” Gray told the Herald.  “The safety issues, I know that 99 percent of our citizens will be responsible. It’s that other one percent who may get behind the wheel of a vehicle and maim somebody,” Gray said about his decision.

“And with health, it is not a healthy product,” Gray explained.

The mayor also said the timing of the vote was bad.

“If it was going to be brought up, it should have been in a regular meeting when it was on the agenda and everybody knew that it was going to be discussed,” Gray added.

The discussion about the beer ordinance during the Jan. 11 meeting was triggered after Water Valley native and Oxford businessman Terry Warren filed for a business permit to potentially tear down two historic buildings on Main Street. 

Gray also acknowledged that aldermen can override his veto if four out of five vote accordingly.

“They can override the veto, they have every right to do that and I will respect their decision,” Gray explained, adding that it is important for city officials to be able to agree to disagree at times. 

Aldermen Cinnamon Foster, Nicole Folson and Kagan Coughlin voted in favor of changing the ordinance at the Jan. 11 meeting. Aldermen Fred White and Herbie Rogers voted against the change. Rogers stated he was against requiring a beer to be served in anticipation of food, but also said he was against opening the town up for a bar. 

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