Pascagoula restaurant tax vote gets second chance

Pascagoula restaurant tax vote gets second chance
So far, there are three candidates running: Richard Boyanton, State Senator Chris McDaniel, and Republican Senator Roger Wicker (Photo source: WLOX)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula residents have another chance to vote on the proposed two percent restaurant tax increase. The last vote, which took place August 30, fell just shy of the 60 percent needed for the hike to pass.

Union Baptist Church Pastor Larry Hawkins is a supporter of the tax hike. He's making an effort to ensure residents are informed of what the vote is for and where they need to go to cast their ballots during this second election.

"We're using social media, we're using hard copy push cards, we're using informational maps as to where they need to vote at as far as precincts and there will be a door to door campaign," Hawkins said.

If passed, 100 percent of the two percent tax increase will go towards the Pascagoula Parks and Recreation Master Plan. That plan is more than 100-pages documenting proposed improvements to the city's athletic facilities and a plan to create a performing arts venue.

"It's a food tax that is passed through restaurants. If you have a $10 bill, it's 20 cents more added to your bill, and I think our kids are worth 20 cents," said Hawkins.

Resident Martha Gallahue is also joining in on that push.

"Telling people what it's going to be spent on when it comes to soccer, baseball fields, softball fields, the arts, and I think that's where people are going to be more willing to check that 'yes' box," said Gallahue.

For those who are against the tax, supporters say it's important to point out that most of the surrounding areas already have a tax like this one in place. And that voting yes doesn't mean the tax is indefinite.

"These are capital improvement funds that will pay for specific projects. And once those projects are complete, the fee will go away," said Pascagoula Parks and Recreation Director Darcie Crew.

With only just over 1,300 people voting during the first ballot, the city is hoping more people will come out to exercise their civic duty on November 1.

With the vote just one week ahead of the general election, the city sent maps marking each resident's voting precincts for both elections in their utility bills. Click here to see an online map of Pascagoula's voting precincts.

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