Amory is only city in Northeast MS that remains DRY.
After a 5-year required waiting period the adult beverage referendum vote will come again to Amory TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10. In October 2014 sincere people with good reasons on both sides of the issue cast their vote. Both Beer & Light Wine and Wine & Spirits referendums were voted down by just 50+ votes. Also, in 2014, New Albany, Fulton, and Pontotoc voted in favor both referendums, effectively going “WET” while Amory remained “DRY”. What has happened since then?
From 2014-2018 Fulton experienced 5.5% GROWTH in Sales Tax. From 2014-2018 New Albany’s Sales Tax GREW by 11.8%. From 2017-2018 Pontotoc Sales Tax GREW 8.9%. In contrast, from 2017-2018 Amory Sales Tax SHRUNK by -1.5%. In 2018 Amory LOST $29,129.
New Albany’s population GREW by 9%. Fulton’s population GREW by 1.8%. Pontotoc’s population GREW by 8%. And Amory’s population SHRUNK by -5%. They are GROWING while Amory is SHRINKING.
On July 9, 2019 Houston, MS voted 4 to 1 in favor of beer, wine, and spirits sales. “It is going to help us grow and give this town a lot of new possibilities,” Sean Johnson, Director of Chickasaw Development Foundation said.
On Oct 15, 2019 Booneville, MS voted in favor of beer, wine, and spirits sales. Spokesman for the citizens group Moving Booneville Forward, C.J. McCoy, noted that beer and liquor is already in Booneville. People are just leaving town to buy it. “We need to keep our local tax dollars in Booneville,” McCoy said.
Today good, genuine, devout Amory residents take opposing stands on this referendum, both sides wanting the best for their town and to protect Amory from the potential adverse influences of alcohol. This being understood, what did the 2014 voters of New Albany, Fulton, Pontotoc, and 2019 Houston & Booneville believe that the 2014 voters of Amory did not?
Perhaps they believed that taxes from the sale of adult beverages (and an eventual tourism tax) would fund capital improvements to parks and recreation, downtown Main Street, and tourism attractions that would make their town a more desirable place for their young adults to stay and raise a family.
Perhaps they believed that beer, wine, and spirits were already abundant in their town, yet purchased in nearby “WET” towns, with their hard-earned dollars funding out-of-town restaurants, businesses, and grocery stores rather than their own.
Perhaps they believed that every dollar spent on these out-of-town businesses was a dollar that left their home town forever.
Perhaps they believed that the Aldermen could have an alcohol ordinance ready to go that said, “No Sales after 10:30PM, No Single Serving-Sales at Stores, No Sunday Sales, No Outside Advertising, No Beer Joints, and Restaurants Must Sell 50% Food.”
Perhaps they believed that DUI arrests would actually drop if adult beverages were made available in their home town.
Perhaps they believed that outside business interests might find them more attractive if they offered robust dining options that included adult beverages to compliment great food, and that this could bring new jobs.
Perhaps they believed that voting against alcohol would actually undermine the very future that they wanted to create for their children.
Perhaps they were right.
Tupelo, New Albany, Oxford, Starkville, Pontotoc, Fulton, Water Valley, Ridgeland, Madison, Ocean Springs, Laurel, Natchez, Houston, and now Booneville are WET. Why not Amory? On DECEMBER 10 Vote YES for Beer & Light Wine sales. And Vote YES for Wine and Spirits sales.
Raw numbers provided by City Clerk Offices of Respective Cities.
U.S. Decennial Census.