PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It could cost you more to dine out in Pascagoula, if some city leaders have their way. They're proposing adding a two percent tax to prepared food, but it's a decision voters will ultimately decide.
Pascagoula Mayor Jim Blevins said the goal is to get the city's recreational facilities back into tip, top shape.
"Prepared food taxes is an area of the business community that has been chosen by many communities in Mississippi to use to improve recreational facilities, such as new sportsplexes," Blevins said.
Blevins wants to see a two percent prepared food tax on the city's next election ballot in late March or early April. He said, if passed, the money would be used to pay off a $10 million bond for parks and recreation projects.
"We want safer, more secure facilities. Facilities that are both fun for youth and adults," Blevins said.
David Wieniewitz is a Pascagoula resident who eats out at least twice a week. He said he doesn't mind the food tax, as long as there is accountability for the extra money he has to spend to eat out.
"If the tax money stays here, then I'm all for it. You know for a time, people were eating out of town. So as long as there's people, I just encourage people to eat here, locally," Wieniewitz said.
Antonio Palazzolo said as the manager and owner of a local restaurant, he's not sure what the food tax will mean for his business or his faithful customers.
"As a consumer myself, it's difficult to ask a person that's scrapping by week to week, paycheck to paycheck, to pay more. It's intimidating. But I think the goal is great," Palazzolo said, "I think we're shooting for something great. It's just how hard is it going to be to get to that point."
The mayor hopes other residents will see that greatness and support the tax.
"We're just very excited to have this opportunity that we can bring to our citizens and bring to fruition this project that folks have had on the drawing board for the last 10 to 12 years," Blevins said.
Mayor Blevins believes if voters pass the food tax, it will take 20 years to pay off the bond.