Biloxi mulls first tax hike in two decades

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Tight finances may finally be catching up to Biloxi. The city council held a budget workshop Tuesday. And talk of a tax increase came up during the conversation when councilman Paul Tisdale floated the idea. "I don't think anybody is excited about it," Tisdale admitted afterward.

Biloxi hasn't raised taxes in almost a quarter century.

But, city leaders heard they're staring at revenue projections a million dollars below last year.  So, Tisdale asked if a $10 a year increase on families with $100,000 homes would be prudent.  The administration said it wasn't considering a tax hike.  "I guess we'll make due with this budget," said Tisdale.

Council president Kenny Glavan believes Biloxi has enough money to create a budget for next year without asking neighbors to reach deeper into their pockets.  "I don't think we need it," Glavan said after the budget meeting. "I don't think it will be necessary at the end of the budget review."

The city is looking at $53 million budget for 2014-15.

Biloxi council members may be able to avoid a tax hike.  Raises are another matter. "I don't know," Glavan said, noting he's floating a plan to give a small increase to city workers, though he's not sure it will be adopted.

Tisdale is pretty sure payraises won't be approved. "I don't see a pay increase. I don't see a tax increase.  I just think we'll whack something," he said, explaining cuts will be debated the next few weeks to find the best way to keep Biloxi's budget balanced.

Just three council members attended Tuesday's budget workshop. Consequently, no decisions could be made during the meeting.

The new budget year begins October 1.

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