City council approves one percent sales tax increase
On Feb. 6, the City Council discussed raising the sales tax in Hattiesburg by one percent.
The resolution requested, “the Mississippi Legislature to enact local and private legislation for the City of Hattiesburg to provide for a tax on gross sales of all taxable items.”
The exception for the sales tax increase included hotels, motels, beverages, packaged liquor, motor vehicle, restaurants, groceries and prescription drugs.
Financial Consultant for Hattiesburg Lynn Norris said the City of Hattiesburg requested the numbers on this project in 2003.
“Back in 2003, the city requested how much it would be and the numbers projected $8 million,” Norris said. “We are now into the $10 to 11 million range. The city has grown by 42 percent.”
City council member Kim Bradley said the economy remained the same, and the city generates revenue through sales tax and ad valorem taxes with a general fund of $46 to $47 million.
“We cannot resume to run the city on that same number,” Bradley said. “The cost of living has increased. We’ve got to find another solution to this. We are not the only municipality in the state going through this without going up on Ad Valorem taxes.”
City Council member Carter Carroll said that the tax increase would be used for paving projects only.
Bradley said the water drainage problem within the city would need to be added to the referendum.
“Within a five to eight year period with a one percent tax increase, you’d have a lot collected.”
On Feb. 7, the council voted 4 – 1 on increasing the sales tax, according to WDAM.
Next, the Mississippi legislature would have to approve the tax, and the council would need to hold a special election with no less than 60 percent of voters in favor of the tax.