Corinth begins drafting liquor, wine ordinance

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The Corinth Board of Aldermen will evaluate a second draft of an ordinance to implement legal liquor and wine sales in the city.
Sales were overwhelmingly approved last week in the state’s first city-only liquor referendum.
The board on Monday approved a motion by Ward 1 Alderman Andrew “Bubba” Labas to incorporate several optional features into the city ordinance. After seconding by Ward 2 Alderman Ben Albarracin the motion was approved, with At Large Alderman Mike Hopkins voting against the measure.
The Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control Board imposes many more controls on the sale of liquor and wine than it does beer, said city attorney Wendell Trapp. Beer is already sold legally in Corinth.
City officials are charting new territory as they begin to forge an ordinance, Trapp said, and the process began in a special called meeting Monday. Trapp had provided board members with a draft ordinance, and Mayor Tommy Irwin asked him to direct the discussion.
Several dozen people who attended the open meeting and asked questions.
Terry Smith of Foote Street Church of Christ, representing the United Drys opposition group and county residents, asked the board to use restraint and to be methodical in its deliberations. He noted that county residents must frequent Corinth often since it is the county seat, and in the last two countywide elections the sale of liquor and wine was defeated.
Several who spoke in support of and said they voted for permitted legal sales touted the increased tax revenue as well as the potential to attract business.
The city will not receive a direct alcohol tax, which goes to the state’s general fund, but will receive sales tax and 50 percent of the permit fee, said City Clerk Vickie Roach.
Key points to be included in the draft ordinance approved by the board include:
• The ordinance should permit sales in package stores and on-premise by caterers, restaurants and others defined in the ABC board regulations.
• Days and hours of sales in hotels, restaurants, clubs, package stores and caterers should be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Hours of on-premise sales by the drink should be permitted 10 a.m.-midnight as outlined in the ABC board regulations.
• Hours of on-premise sales on Sundays should be 1-10 p.m.
The ABC board regulations also include stipulations about special and temporary permits, such as for Hog Wild, and other special circumstances.
All non-discretionary ABC board regulations will be incorporated into the city’s ordinance, Trapp said.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com