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One city rejects liquor, another works on newly passed law

ASHLAND and CORINTH — One Northeast Mississippi city’s voters have voted down legalized liquor sales while another city’s leaders have started exploring their community’s new liquor law.

Ashland voters have rejected a proposal to legalize the sale of liquor inside the city limits.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports 120 voters cast ballots against the proposal, while 109 voted in favor.

The vote came following the presentation of a petition to the mayor and board of aldermen bearing approximately 130 signatures.

WTVA TV reports beer sales are illegal in Ashland, as well, so the town will remain dry.

In a separate item, package stores and by-the-drink sales in restaurants will be regulated in Corinth’s proposed liquor ordinance.

The Daily Corinthian reports the board of aldermen began looking at the liquor ordinance this week. Aldermen say more work is needed and no deadline has been set for final adoption.

The proposed ordinance would set hours of sale for 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday in package stores. Restaurant by-the-drink hours are proposed to be 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

City Attorney Wendell Trapp said the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control has comprehensive rules, leaving the city few decisions to make beyond whether to include package stores and whether to set hours of sale different than those specified by the ABC.

The city has more leeway when dealing with beer than with liquor.

Trapp said the ABC’s definition of a restaurant has recently become very specific and requires 25 percent food sales.

Restricting liquor stores to special zones is not allowed, but the ABC restricts the proximity of establishments to churches, schools and the like. A limitation cannot be placed on the number of package stores.

“Some cities have virtually no liquor ordinance” because it is largely controlled by the ABC, said Trapp.

Trapp said the effective date for legal sales would likely be 30 days after legal publication of the ordinance in the Daily Corinthian.

The city will receive half of permit fees from establishments selling alcoholic beverages.

The sale of liquor in Corinth was approved in a citywide vote Dec. 11.

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