Harrison County supervisors granted tax exemptions Monday to two new restaurants in Biloxi and four properties in the Rue Magnolia area downtown. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Harrison County supervisors granted tax exemptions Monday to two new
restaurants in Biloxi and four properties in the Rue Magnolia area
downtown. They also re-kindled the debate over the necessity of
post-Katrina tax incentives, designed to spur new development.
is already underway on "The Reef" restaurant located on the beach in
Biloxi. Owner Rob Stinson told supervisors he appreciates the tax
exemption on a project he believes will provide a family friendly
"And this is really a family driven operation. You
know, I'm not trying to take anything away from what else is on the
beach, but we're going to be the only one that's really family
affordable. And I think because of that, our base will be bigger,"
Stinson told supervisors.
Another family-friendly restaurant also
received a similar exemption from county property taxes. Sal &
Mookie's will be built on Lameuse Street, just north of the Biloxi Town
"Sal & Mookies will generate over 100 employees as
well. They'll have seating for almost 275 people with meeting room
area," said Supervisor Windy Swetman.
While supervisors granted
the tax breaks to the two new restaurants with very little debate, there
was quite a lot of discussion before granting tax breaks to four
downtown Biloxi properties owned and improved by a group called Rue
Supervisor Swetman says the renovation of four
properties in the Rue Magnolia area certainly meets the "spirit" of
what the tax incentive program seeks to achieve.
"As we come back
and we beautify and we build back our downtowns, this obviously is
going to create more synergy for more businesses," he told his fellow
The board president expressed reservations.
they meet the qualifications that are required as stated in the
ordinance for the economic development district?" asked Marlin Ladner.
need to do it as long as it needs to be done, as long as it's
necessary. Until our area is vital again. And, it's not. Not yet," said
Debbie Collins, with the Rue Vieux Enterprise group.
In the end,
supervisors approved the tax breaks for the downtown properties, with
Supervisor Ladner voting against. All the tax exemptions granted were
for taxes on the improvement only, not the property. Owners must also
pay all school taxes.
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