As local communities vote on alcohol sales, Winona reflects on " - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

As local communities vote on alcohol sales, Winona reflects on "wet" status

WINONA, TX (KLTV) - Several East Texas communities will vote today on whether to allow the sale of alcohol in some form in their communities.

Winona residents voted to allow the sale of alcohol in their town two years ago now, and after speaking with many residents, it's safe to say public opinion about the issue is still divided.

"It has brought in more revenue for the city to use for upgrades and improving roads. It increased our police force, which I guess we really needed," said Donna Charles.

Those are the good things the 24-year Winona resident will say about having alcohol sold in Winona. But she thinks there's a bigger problem.

"It has not brought any extra commerce," she said. "There's no extra retail store, no grocery store's come in, no new big chain restaurants, stores, anything like that. If that would come in that would even help better."

"The downside is these small communities usually become -- that's what they become. Anybody that's driven out to Winona lately, it's a gas station, a restaurant, and five liquor stores," said Winona liquor store co-owner Allen Clarida.

Those liquor stores are really the only new businesses Winona has brought in ... that includes Clarida's liquor store, The Pour House, which opened this past spring.

"I think most city officials would tell you, especially in these economic times, it's a need," Clarida said.

And they did. We spoke with two Winona officials by phone and email who told us that Winona's sales tax revenue has skyrocketed, from around $3,000 a month to between $15,000 to $20,000 a month now.

But some local residents still have mixed feelings.

"Like I said, for the city revenue, it was a good move, but as far as the people are concerned, with the traffic, some of them don't really like it anymore," Charles said. "They're kind of wishing they hadn't voted it in, I think."

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