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Macon-Bibb votes to clear up 'vice mart' alcohol policy

The county defines a 'vice mart' as a generic store that sells junk food, tobacco, and lottery tickets.

MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller says some convenience stores are violating county rules.

Now, the county plans to fight back. They say some 'vice marts' are applying for alcohol licenses as other businesses that are allowed to sell alcohol, like a gas station. The issue is that they never actually sell gas.

"[It's] just a generic store where the items that they sell tend to be things that you would categorize as vices like junk food and tobacco and lottery," said Senior Assistant County Attorney Michael McNeill.

McNeill says that's pretty much it: a convenience store that doesn't sell gas, isn't a pharmacy or liquor store. Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller says some marts are trying to pose as gas stations to get around alcohol rules.

"You're supposed to sell gas but your gas pumps don't work. You're supposed to have meats and vegetables and milk and fresh eggs and you don't," Miller said.

He says there's a quick solution.

"We go out there and find inconsistencies, or just you lied on your applications, then we have a right to revoke that license. So that's what we're going to do from now on," Miller explained.

Current county rules say 'vice marts' are not allowed to sell alcohol. That's been in place about a year-and-a-half. Mayor Miller says they're focused on limiting traffic at the stores because they tend to attract crime.

"More 911 calls, more shots fired, more illegal gambling, more prostitution, more drugs at vice marts," Miller said, "Seem to be attracted by these types of businesses, so we've been looking into those things and making sure we can do everything from a policy standpoint, all those things we can do to try to protect the community."

Miller says now, the county can go back and revoke alcohol licenses from stores they say are in violation of county rules.

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