Meridian Star

January 15, 2014

Beer petition needs review by city

The Associated Press
Associated Press

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Poplarville resident Roland Fandal said a petition calling for an election on the sale of beer and light wine in the city has enough signatures to be presented to Mayor Brad Necaise and the board of aldermen.

Fandal needed signatures from about 320 of registered voters, or 20 percent of the city population.

Necaisetold The Picayune Item (http://bit.ly/1m4Wuwu) that the city will ask the Pearl River County Circuit Clerk's Office to verify the signatures.

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.

"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," Necaise said. "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 said before an election is scheduled, the city will hold a town hall meeting to inform residents on the referendum and get public feedback.

"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."

Necaise said he hasn't taken a position on the sale of beer and light wine, but that he does "support the right to vote on it."