Some Pass Christian residents say it's time for the city to grow. Mayor Chipper McDermott talked about that in his State of the City address last week, saying Pass Christian would need to annex land in order to survive. What areas the city would try to annex would depend on a feasibility study, but the mayor says the direction of choice is north.
At lunch time on Tuesday, hungry customers stood outside a local Pass Christian eatery. Their city is starving for tax dollars after Katrina wiped out more than a third of the homes. The Pass expects to lose $1 million in property taxes this year, so the mayor and others are looking at annexation as a way to grow the property tax base.
"The property to the north of us is where everybody is living now," said resident Nanette Carter. "To get that tax dollar that we know will be guaranteed for the next few years, a higher tax base. Yes."
Some residents believe moving north would also attract retailers and bring in much needed commercial tax dollars.
William Rials said, "For Pass Christian to economically grow, they need to expand a little bit and get involved in more activities like that. Bring more businesses to town. "
Turning more county residents into city dwellers isn't an idea everyone is ready to order. Those living outside the city say they want to see Pass Christian move forward. But not if the price is too high.
"Growth wise, it would be good," said Shirley Gates, a Harrison County resident. "But not to make the taxes go up or put the people on maybe sewer and water. No."
Michelle Bailey lives in Delisle. "I'd have to know more about the taxes and what we'd have to incur, because I wouldn't want Delisle to suffer in any way. But I do want the Pass to do better."
Harrison County Supervisor Marlin Ladner told WLOX News depending on the location, it's unlikely the Board of Supervisors would support an annexation request from Pass Christian. Ladner says the city can't offer services for the taxes it would collect, and would not be able to in the near future.
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