The Mississippi Department of Revenue has set October 1 as the start date for the recently approved 3% sales tax on restaurants in the town of Petal, which is expected to bring in about $ 750,000 in additional annual revenue to the town.
Since sales tax figures are two months late – in other words, taxes collected this month are received two months later – city officials are expected to receive the first monthly tax check in December. .
“We had hoped, with papers pushed between us and the revenue department, that it would fit our schedule,” Mayor Tony Ducker said. âWe expected to receive that first check in December, but we are already seeing some of the benefits knowing it has passed.
âSome of the (campaign) commitments I made in the beginning are coming to fruition, as I am able to replace some firefighters with a police pay raise which we will look at. So we are already seeing some benefits on the front-end. Obviously, we see this as a year of transition, so next year we will be able to see the full impact. ”
The measure was passed in a special election on August 5, when 74 percent of voters approved the additional tax. Four hundred and fifty-seven residents voted in this election; of this number, 344 voted for the measure and 113 voted against.
The case required 60 percent voter approval to pass.
âIt’s more important than ever for us to support not only our restaurants, but all of Petal’s businesses,â said Ducker. âOutside entities across the country are looking for places to open up and grow, and they are looking at our numbers.
âThe more we support our entities here, the more attractive investments we look for. I think we will have other good things in the future – interesting things that are also at the forefront of discussions between the city and other investors for different types of businesses around the city.
Under the tax increase, a person paying a $ 10 bill at a Petal restaurant will pay an additional 30 cents on that bill. The funds raised through the tax will go to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, which will allow the City to maintain this service at its current level.
This, in turn, will free up money in the city fund that could be used for measures such as police, fire or infrastructure.
âLast year we had a $ 400,000 hole (in the budget), but we think we’re going to grow by a few hundred thousand,â Ducker said. âAnd we also got federal aid that should plug that $ 400,000 hole, but things are going to be tight for a little while.
“I would love to see some of that money come in first, to see how much is to make sure we can count on him.” If we do the right things with the money, you could see it maximizing our financial position in this city and starting to take over some of the things that people pay to take care of.
The restoration tax will not affect property taxes or ad valorem taxes; as a municipal entity, Petal has not increased these taxes for over a decade. The city’s mileage rate – which is a unit of dollar value equal to one-tenth of a cent that determines the amount of property taxes paid by residents – will remain at 46.21 mills.
The idea of ââan increase in the sales tax at Petal restaurants has been circulated in recent months as an option to increase much-needed revenue for other programs and departments in the city without having to raise property taxes or to reduce staff. The special election proposal was passed by both houses of the Mississippi legislature in March, and the Council of Aldermen of the Petals voted unanimously on June 28 to set a date for the referendum.
âWe didn’t win the lottery; we always have to watch how we spend our money, âDucker said. âOtherwise, we will be back in the same situations we have experienced over the past few years.
âWe are doing a Petal First Shop; I would love to see something where we also have an âEat Petals Firstâ program. We cannot forget our restaurants. ”
A similar sales tax measure was passed in Hattiesburg in early 2019, when voters overwhelmingly approved an additional 1% sales tax on restaurants, hotels and motels in Hub City. Funds from this measure are currently going to several Parks and Recreation Department projects in the city, including a playground at Palmers Crossing, an extension of the walking trail to Duncan Lake, and the addition of batting cages at Vernon Dahmer Park.
âPeople still go to Hattiesburg, and Hattiesburg has had this tax for years,â former mayor Hal Marx said in a previous article. âThey’ve had a 2 percent tax for about 20 years, then they added another percent just a year or two ago.
âI haven’t noticed a decrease in the number of people going out to eat in Hattiesburg. So I think people are ready to do it; I don’t think people are as bothered by this as some naysayers have it. ”