TYLER - Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith says results of a survey he conducted with more than two dozen Texas cities indicate the introduction of alcohol sales does not increase crime or litter.
Tyler citizens will vote next month on whether to allow alcohol sales in the city. KLTV reports that of the 28 cities contacted by the Sheriff, 25 responded.
“"The 25 who responded to us said the same thing, 'No, it did not [increase crime or litter],'" Smith said.
Greenville, McKinney, Princeton and Rockwall were among the local cities contacted by Smith. Greenville is among a handful of entities to recently pass a wet/dry election. Over the last several years, nearly a dozen local municipalities have conducted similar elections, most passing. Some cities tried a couple of times before receiving approval.
Sulphur Springs is also conducting a wet/dry election on November 6 after the city approved a petition with more than 1,300 signatures in July. Voters will have the option of voting for or against the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores for off premises consumption. The other ballot item calls for restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages. An opposition group has been formed to fight the propositions.
According to the website Stand Strong for Tyler, the sale of alcoholic beverages initiative aims to “eliminate the character and values our city was founded upon,” and says the group’s goal is to preserve their unique community.
“The proponents of these measures want us to put convenience and a small percentage increase in sales tax revenue ahead of family and community, because the retailers funding this measure place greed and profit first.”
Sheriff Smith says considering those who may have problems with alcoholism, he understands why citizens are so passionate about the issue.
Wolfe City and Quinlan were the latest entities to come aboard as wet cities, earning enough votes in November 2011. That came two years after voters there rejected measures to allow alcohol sales within city limits. Citizens in Emory, Fate, Farmersville and Paris have also won approval of similar ballot items within the last few years, while the cities of Reno and Canton have been unsuccessful.