Grocery stores will be able to sell wine in the corporate limits of Mosheim and Tusculum following the passage of referendums in both municipalities Tuesday.
Voters in both towns had similar referendum questions on the ballot. They were asked to vote either in favor of legal sale of wine at retail food stores or against the sale of the alcoholic beverage in grocery stores.
In the Town of Mosheim, 407 people voted in favor of wine sales in grocery stores and 190 voted against, according to the unofficial results from the Greene County Election Commission. Seventy-seven percent of the Mosheim residents casting ballots at the Glenwood precinct voted in favor of the measure, and 67 percent of those voting in the Mosheim precinct voted for the wine sales in the referendum.
“This is another step forward for retail recruitment,” said Mosheim Mayor Tommy Gregg. “Hopefully it will be a positive in recruiting good businesses to the town.”
Gregg thanked all those who went to the polls to voice their opinion, whether it was for or against the wine sales.
While Gregg said he respected the opinion of those who voted against the measure, he said the ability to sell wine in grocery stores is a good recruitment tool and is now a requirement for a municipality to attract a larger store.
In the City of Tusculum, 583 ballots were cast in favor of the wine sales and 245 voted against the sales, according to the unofficial results. Seventy percent of the Tusculum residents voting in the Chuckey-Doak and Doak polling precincts voted in favor of the wine sales.
Tusculum Mayor Alan Corley said he was excited about the results of the referendum and how it could positively affect the city’s development.
“We are thankful to the voters for having the faith in us to put in ordinances into place so that it won’t cause any issues,” Corley said. “This helps us to be more effective in governing retail development.”
Both Corley and Gregg said that the municipalities’ governing boards would have to adopt ordinances to regulate the sales before the wine sales would be permitted.
In Tusculum, Corley said that due to the requirement of approval on two readings of an ordinance by the Board of Mayor and Commissioners, the earliest regulations would be in place would be at the first of the year.
Gregg said that the first reading of an ordinance would most likely placed on the Mosheim Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting agenda in December.
Both municipalities have one grocery store each currently located in their boundaries — Food Country in Mosheim and Aldi in Tusculum.
Voters in the Town of Greeneville approved a similar referendum to legalize the sale of wine in grocery stores and retail markets within that town’s limits in 2016. The referendum followed the passage of a state law earlier in 2016 allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores in a community that allows liquor-by-the-drink if a majority of the voters in that community first approved the proposal in a referendum.
In the November election two years ago, Tusculum residents approved a referendum to allow the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption and to allow retail package stores. During the same election, voters in Mosheim approved a referendum to allow the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption.
Also on the ballot in the Tusculum municipal election was an uncontested race for commissioner. Mike Burns was elected to his second term as commissioner with 652 complimentary votes.
“I am thankful for all the complimentary votes I have received,” Burns said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Corley and Vice Mayor (Barbara) Britton and working for the people of the City of Tusculum.”
Burns said he was also glad to see the wine sales referendum passed. The sales of wine will add to the revenue stream for the city and enable the board to do more to improve the community, he said.