Gautier citizens weigh in on proposed food and beverage tax

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier Leaders are hoping a proposed tax increase will bring about some much needed improvements to the city. City leaders will be asking the Mississippi Legislature for a two percent sales tax levy on its restaurants, hotels, and adult beverages.

"It's no more than our sister cities have. They have a two percent tax, we have a zero percent tax. Let's build a better parks and recreation department here. This is what we've basically heard from the citizens tonight," Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said.

The citizens were given a device to vote on what they liked and didn't like about the proposed plan. That way, city leaders could strategically know which direction to go in for renewing the parks and recreation in the city. The fact that citizen involvement was a must was well received by the crowd.

"I'm all for the increase in the city taxes, provided the citizens have input as to where the money is going and how its spent. We're given the opportunity to say, 'Hey, I like how this is spent,' or 'I don't,'" Gautier resident Natasha Rankins said.

"For too long we have neglected our youth and our youth programs. We've been having our youth go to the surrounding cities and Vancleave. It's time for us to start improving the quality of life for our youth," Fortenberry said. "Let's not forget about the youth. They want to play basketball in the streets and we get a lot of complaints about that. Well, where do you want them to play when they're not provided a place? We don't have a gym. We are a bedroom community and we call ourselves nature's playground. Well, lets give the children a playground to play on."

If the increase is approved through the state legislature, it will go on the ballot for June 4th. If approved from there, it could go into affect as soon as 30 days later.

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