By Errol Castens
PITTSBORO – Pittsboro could be the next currently dry town considering alcohol legalization if a Bruce man’s petition is successful.
Charles Scott Alexander, who lives in Bruce and owns the Sawmill Restaurant there, spoke to the Pittsboro Board of Aldermen last month about such a petition. He said he has since hired Ben Suber, who is also Pittsboro’s village attorney, to research the issue.
“Mainly, it’s about possession,” Alexander said. “I really don’t like the idea of being able to legally buy something in a surrounding county and then have it be illegal when I cross into Calhoun County.”
He added, though, that the legal sale of alcohol might create new economic opportunity.
“I don’t have plans to open a liquor store; I won’t say I definitely won’t, but I hope somebody else does,” Alexander said. “I think it would be a good economic experiment to see what happens to the town – to go from a town that has no sales tax to one with this source of sales tax.”
He added the chance to have a drink legally in his own home might spur him to relocate.
“I don’t own land in Pittsboro, and I don’t live there right now, but I can move there,” he said.
Alexander said he had wanted only to legalize possession of alcohol, not its sale, but found Mississippi law offers no such option.
All of Calhoun County is dry to both liquor/wine and beer/light wine, but a 2012 law allows any city of at least 5,000 people (or any size county seat) in a county where alcohol (liquor and wine) has previously been voted down to hold its own election. Twenty percent of qualified electors must petition for the election; Pittsboro’s 111-person voter roll would require 23 signatures.
Towns of 2,500 or more also can hold similar elections regarding beer and light wine, but the law does not seem to offer the same option to smaller county seats like Pittsboro, whose population is 202.
Pittsboro Mayor Reda Bullard could not be reached for comment.