John Hatch, a consultant who owns Texas Petition Strategies, is circulating the petitions in Whitehouse on behalf of Whitehouse Committee for Growth.
Election Administrator Karen Nelson said 1,835 signatures are needed to place the proposition on May ballots, while 735 signatures are needed in Whitehouse.
Whitehouse voters rejected beer and wine sales 1,194 votes to 1,031 votes, or 54 percent to 46 percent, in 2010.
Justice Precinct 1 lies mostly within the city of Tyler limits and is already wet. Small sections of Justice Precinct 1 jut just outside the city's northeastern, northwestern and southwestern limits.
Whitehouse Committee for Growth chairman Phil Rogers headed the 2010 drive to bring beer and wine to the city. He said the economic benefits to surrounding cities and small towns are evident.
Rogers, a Whitehouse businessman, heads the city's Chamber of Commerce and is motivated by what he views as an opportunity for the city and local businesses to gain revenue that would otherwise go to surrounding towns.
Rogers expects opposition, but he also expects a different outcome than in 2010. He said he was na´ve regarding the tactics and misinformation that would be used to derail the proposition.
He said he will work to educate voters that the city can control aspects, such as signage and building requirements, and that sexually oriented businesses will not arrive on the heels of beer and wine sales.
Former Whitehouse Mayor Dale Moran supported organized opposition to the proposition last time and said it will be up to individual voters, families, churches and businesses to decide.
“I don't know what the future holds,” he said. “People know my position. I just want to see the city stay clean and safe.”
Moran said pro-alcohol groups trumpet the economic benefits but ignore the negative societal impact of drinking. He noted a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released this week that revealed one in eight women binge drinks (consumes four or more drinks) three times a month. The same study showed that one in five high school females binged on alcohol.
“People will have to decide whether they want beer and wine on the shelves in their stores,” he said. “I think it socially conditions children that alcohol consumption is an acceptable lifestyle.”
Moran said there are numerous studies that show the costs outweigh the benefits and that he does not want to see a deterioration of his community, whether it's beer advertisements or domestic violence.
Rogers said each side will state its case to voters, but voters are more accepting of beer and wine than they were in the past.