Sunday beer sales approved in Verona

VERONA – Starting Nov. 19, Verona will become the latest Lee County community to allow Sunday beer sales.
The Board of Alderman, on a 3-2 vote Tuesday, decided to allow beer and light wine to be sold on Sundays from 1 p.m. until midnight. The board has been split on the notion of Sunday sales since it was first proposed in early summer.
Aldermen Julian Riley, Margaret Baker and Brenda Spurgon voted in favor of the beer sales; Vice Mayor Eddie Tucker and Jessie Gilmore voted against. With their vote, Verona joins Tupelo and Shannon in selling beer on Sundays.
By law, the new ordinance takes effect 30 days from board approval.
Supporters cited tax revenue, and at least one opponent disagreed because of religion.
Riley, who is the only new member on the board, said Sunday beer sales will increase tax revenue for the town. He stated that since Tupelo began selling beer on Sundays in 2009, Verona’s sales tax dropped by $20,000 last year.
Tucker, the most tenured member of the board, argued that Sunday beer sales weren’t right for Verona because, in part, it is home to a lot of churches.
Tucker also said he didn’t feel one extra day a week of selling beer would provide much of a revenue boost to the town, but merchants had a different take.
“Our store is one block from the Tupelo line and people walk there on Sundays to get beer because they can’t get it here,” said Rita Baker, store manager for Papa V’s. “So what’s wrong with retailers benefiting from Sunday beer sales and helping the city in the process? That tax money can help to improve streets and other areas of the town that need improvements.”
Alex, manager of the Eagle Express Shop, said keeping customers shopping in Verona is important.
“It’s not just about buying beer,” he said. “People may come to buy beer but they are going to get food and other things while they are in our stores. Why should they have to go to Tupelo and Shannon to purchase anything when we have businesses here?”
Verona Mayor Bobby Williams has the power to veto the decision, but declined to comment Wednesday on the vote or what he might do.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal