PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - In a little less than two weeks, it will cost you a bit more to eat out in Pascagoula. On January 1, 2017, the sales tax on restaurant tabs will go up two percent.
Lucedale resident Daniel Morgan says he enjoys lunch at Bozo's Grocery and Grill in Pascagoula as often as possible.
"I work in Pascagoula, and I love Bozo's. I come all time, it's the best place to eat on the coast," Morgan said.
It's so good he doesn't mind paying an extra two percent for his favorite meal.
City Manager Joe Huffman said 61 percent of voters decided last month to move forward with the tax.
"We need a revenue stream," Huffman explained. "The City of Pascagoula has Parks and Recreation Department needs, we have a lot of areas falling into disrepair, and it's really hard to just raise taxes and put money in a certain category where we can make those improvements. The prepared food tax allows us to do that."
Darcie Crew with Pascagoula Parks and Recreation said the money raised from the tax will go towards improvements her department has needed for years, and help implement a master plan from 2012.
Convenience stores, bars, and restaurants, including to-go food, will have to pay a tax on prepared food they sell. Laura Baxter with the Department of Revenue said any business owner needing clarification on whether or not they need to pay tax on an item they sell should write a letter to the sales tax department.
There are some exceptions: schools, hospitals, and nursing homes will not be included on the tax.
Baxter said the prepared food tax will be due the same time as regular sales taxes are due for business owners, on the 20th of each month.