Restaurant owners worry about possible D'Iberville tax increase - - The News for South Mississippi

Restaurant owners worry about possible D'Iberville tax increase


By Doug Walker – bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Mike Adams owns and operates Mikey's Cafe and Oyster House.  The place is packed during lunch hour, with hardly an empty chair in sight.  But Mike worries that if a tax increase is passed, those empty chairs will become more the norm than the exception. 

"This is just a bad time right now to try and put a two percent tax in," Adams said. "A lot of people are watching what they spend, and I'm thinking this may hurt business a little bit."  

In Ocean Springs, a similar tax has been in effect for 24 months. Those same concerns could be found in March of 2008. But what a difference two years makes, according to restaurant owner Randy Sonnier. 

"We were afraid that people would go back to Biloxi or some of the other places because of the extra two percent," Sonnier said. "That was our initial concern. But after it started, we didn't see any drop in business. So it hasn't seemed to affect us." 

Ocean Springs leaders sold the tax as being paid for by tourists who would pay the lion's share of the tax. Adams said that may not be the case in D'Iberville.  

"We're not a big tourist destination downtown. We have a lot of locals that come sometimes as much as three times a day with us," Adams said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to the D'Iberville residents and I can't see them wanting to vote in this tax."

While there is some concern from business owners that the tax may hurt their restaurant sales, an informal poll of the folks we talked to eating at Mikey's didn't seem to care at all. Patrons, like Keith Wells, said they would keep coming back.

"I think most people won't even notice it," Wells said. "If they're going to eat out, they're going to eat out. And I doubt it will control if they eat in D'iberville or Ocean Springs, or wherever."

If the tax increase request is passed by the legislature, it must still be approved by D'Iberville voters. City leaders hope to use the money generated to pay for a new public safety center, and improvements to the city's parks and recreation centers.

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