Required number of signatures to issue ballot on sale of beer and light wine acquired.Published 8:23pm Monday, January 13, 2014
POPLARVILLE — For the past several months, a petition to introduce a city-wide vote on the introduction of beer and light wine has been circulated around the City of Poplarville. The petition has finally received the signatures needed to introduced the referendum to the city, said Roland Fandal, Poplarville resident.
Fandal introduced the idea of the petition at the June Board of Alderman meeting and has been in charge of getting signatures for the petition.
Since the time the petition was introduced, Mayor Brad Necaise and the Board of Alderman have worked on researching laws controlling the sale of beer and light wine in cities of similar size.
Necaise said he has researched heavily the city of Wiggins, which has strict laws controlling the sale of beer and light wine within their city limits. Necaise said Wiggins is similar in size to Poplarville.
“I think if it should pass, we believe the people of Poplarville would want very tight controls,” Necaise said. “I think part of its biggest problem, historically and today, is fear. I’ve said we need to make sure that we separate what’s fear and what’s fact. People have concerns of bar rooms and things of that nature popping up in Poplarville and no one in the city leadership or the people that live in Poplarville want bars. So we will not allow that sort of activity either.”
Fandal said he introduced the petition because the city has “no income” and that this could change what the city brings in. He said it’s a start in allowing the people of Poplarville to “use their money in their own town” and that it could attract businesses to the area.
“I don’t believe that it is substantial enough to change the face of the city, but certainty it would afford us revenue that is now being lost,” Necaise said. “What I foresee is an increase in our tax base. The sale of alcohol is not the silver bullet, but it loads the gun for people who will buy ancillary products associated with those purchases. If we’re losing residents who would buy locally to other municipalities for the purchase of beer and wine, they also probably spend an average of $75 during that same shopping trip for other items.”
Necaise emphasized that he hasn’t take a position on the sale of beer and light wine, but that he does “support the right to vote on it.”
After the end of prohibition, the state legislature passed a law in 1934 that allows cities to decide individually if they sell beer.
Necaise added that before the issue would go for a vote, the city would hold a town hall meeting to inform residents on the referendum, but to also get feedback from residents on what controls they would like to see implemented if the sale is approved through a vote.
Signatures from about 320 of certified residents of Poplarville, or 20 percent of the Poplarville population, are needed before the petition can be presented to the Board of Alderman to call for an election on the sale of beer and light wine.
When the petitions are turned in, the city will take the lists to the Pearl River County Circuit Clerk’s Office for verification of residence.