If there is a definite financial benefit from the sales of beer and wine in Belpre, it might not be known until the end of the year. But the city’s auditor says it might be a small one at best.

Earlier this year, two convenience stores and a restaurant became the first Belpre establishments to be able to sell beer and wine since prohibition. But Auditor Leslie Pittenger believes the benefit will be to Belpre residents…who no longer have to drive to surrounding communities to buy alcohol. “Before, the residents had to go across the bridge, or down the river, to get the items they wanted,” she says. “It won’t be a huge revenue boost, but, in talking to the mayor, it hasn’t had any effect in the mayor’s court, either. It hasn’t affected us positively or negatively in any way at this point.”

The Belpre Kroger store is the latest business for which voters have given the go-ahead to sell alcohol. The city’s two Speedway stores and Napoli’s restaurant won voter approval last November. Pittenger believes that, if there is any benefit to the city, it will come in terms of those businesses hiring more employees…and, at least one of them has been hiring.