By Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer
March 21, 2014
SALEMBURG — The Salemburg town board joined another Sampson municipality Thursday night in expressing opposition to countywide sales of beer and wine, unanimously adopting a resolution to that effect in hopes of preventing passage of a May 6 referendum members feel could impact the close-knit town.
Turkey board members took the lead on that opposition a couple nights earlier when they unanimously adopted a resolution in opposition to the alcohol resolution.
In Salemburg Thursday night, its town board expressed that the cost of approving the referendum for countywide alcohol sales would be more than just money.
Resident Jim Blevins stepped up and spoke asking the town and everyone attending to be consistent in supporting each other in its opposition to the referendum. “We need to get organized to oppose this referendum,” encouraged Blevins. “I’m not in favor of the county-wide referendum being forced on us.”
The county commissioners voted unanimously last month to place a countywide alcohol referendum on the ballot as part of the May 6 primary election. Earlier this month, the board narrowed options to just off-premises sales of malt beverages and unfortified wine. Commissioners have touted the move as a way to drum up more tax revenue, as well as another avenue for local businesses, notably grocery and convenience stores, to make more money.
Currently, Clinton, Newton Grove, Roseboro and Garland have alcoholic beverage sales and operate ABC stores, but Salemburg, Autryville, Harrells and Turkey do not.
Thursday night, Blevins expressed his concern that passing the May 6 referendum would force mom and pop stores to sell it, perhaps against their wishes, just to get their piece of the pie.
“People’s minds aren’t thinking quite right when they are drinking,” he said, noting that it came down to one point: more drinking leads to more crime, and that it will create more problems than the revenue generated.
It was a point in which Salemburg’s mayor, agreed. “Somebody has the wrong idea on trying to make revenue,” said Mayor Bobby Strickland. “The town of Salemburg makes ends meet without it, and will continue to do so.”
The motion to adopt the resolution of opposition was made by Commissioner Bobby Tew and seconded by Commissioner Shirley Cooper.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.