PLANO –– Early voting for the May 11 election is underway.
In Plano, voters will decide whether they want liquor stores inside the city limits. The town of Anna will be watching closely; right now, that's where many Plano residents go buy their alcohol.
Anna voted to become the unofficial liquor store capital of Collin County after approving sales in 2005. A Texas law requires restaurants to buy liquor inside the county where they are located.
As a result, Anna's four stores distribute liquor to every restaurant in Plano, McKinney, Allen and the rest of Collin County.
"The nearest liquor store from which they can purchase is about 25 miles from right here," said Plano Mayor Phil Dyer.
Dyer says his city loses a half million dollars a year in sales tax revenue to Anna and other nearby cities outside the county that sell liquor.
"We just feel like if our citizens are going to be spending that money anyway, we'd rather keep the sales tax right here at home," said the Mayor.
"No one wants a liquor store near their home, church or children's school," says Collin County Commissioner Matt Shaheen in a political ad airing now on North Texas television and radio stations.
Shaheen says the economic benefits of alcohol sales are "overblown." and attracts crime.
"I used to work in Downtown Dallas," says Shaheen. "I used to have to walk by a liquor store on the way to work. And there are a lot of people who have turned to alcohol and they're hanging out in front of a liquor store. And you can tell the devastation it's having on that surrounding area."
Anna's mayor says he too is concerned about the May 11 vote. But Mike Crist believes his city's growth will make up for any money it loses to Plano.