Jackson County

Pascagoula will vote Tuesday on 2 percent restaurant tax. Again

A vote Tuesday could set a 2 percent restaurant tax to support recreation and parks. Here, a group gathers around the public art installation of three waves at Beach Park in Pascagoula in 2015.
A vote Tuesday could set a 2 percent restaurant tax to support recreation and parks. Here, a group gathers around the public art installation of three waves at Beach Park in Pascagoula in 2015. amccoy@sunherald.com File

Voters here will return to the polls Tuesday to vote again on a 2 percent tax on prepared food.

The City Council decided to take another shot at the tax, which would be added to bills in the city’s restaurants, fast-food establishments and delis. It does not affect groceries.

The first election cost the city about $11,000, but it failed to get the 60 percent of votes it needed to pass the tax. About 1,350 voted and 56 percent were in favor of the extra tax.

That was a close one, so city leaders decided to try again for a tax that would be used to support city recreation exclusively.

The tax would add 2 cents per dollar on a restaurant bill and raise $800,000 to $1.2 million for improvements to city recreation.

It’s a user tax that supporters see as a way of letting people who live outside Pascagoula, but eat in the city during the work day, help pay for recreation for people who live there.

The council was unanimous in the decision to try again. Some have pointed out Pascagoula has lost 5,000 residents since Katrina and improvements to recreation could be a way to attract new homeowners and businesses.

During the first election, city spokeswoman Ravin Floyd said:

▪ The city got a lot of calls from people who didn’t know the election was happening.

▪ Some complained the issue was not explained well.

▪ There was some confusion as to how the money raised by the tax would be spent.

▪ There was confusion over where to vote. The city used city locations and not county polling places.

The polling places are Oasis Church on Pascagoula Street, Arlington Baptist Church on Arlington Street, Central Fire Station on Jackson Avenue, Lighthouse Baptist Church on Belair Street, Victory Praise & Worship on Chicot Street and the American Legion post on Market Street.

The polling places

  • Oasis Church on Pascagoula Street
  • Arlington Baptist Church on Arlington Street
  • Central Fire Station on Jackson Avenue
  • Lighthouse Baptist Church on Belair Street
  • Victory Praise & Worship on Chicot Street
  • American Legion post on Market Street
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