Gulfport Sales Tax Draws Mixed Reviews

Gulfport shoppers have mixed feelings about reaching deeper into their pockets to help fix the city's water problems. Some city leaders are asking for the state legislature's permission to seek a one percent sales tax increase that would be earmarked for specific projects. Council member Billy Hewes says those projects could include improvements to the water, sewer and drainage systems.

Business owner Chris Fayard says he is well aware of the drainage problems in Gulfport because he hears the horror stories from his customers.

Fayard said "I've had a lot of customers come in. A lot of really good people have lost a lot of things in their homes just due to flooding."

People tired of the constant flooding problems say an eight percent sales tax is a small sacrifice if they can get some relief from their drainage problems.

Clarence Stallworth, a Gulfport resident said "A penny wouldn't be a big price to get the water out of my neighborhood. I don't know how other people feel but I wouldn't mind paying the one percent."

Not everyone is sold on the sales tax increase. They say the city needs to work within its means.

"I feel like they said they could handle the area that they took in when they got the annexation," said Linda Thomas. "They haven't fulfilled that and if they can't do it, they need to let the land go back cause we were doing just fine before the city of Gulfport came in and took that area over."

Fayard says he doesn't think a tax designed to help his customers will hurt him or other businesses.

"It can only last for so long until they get the flooding done," said Fayard. "and if it generates as much money as they say it shouldn't take that long."

by Danielle Thomas