Tax Hike May Be In Store For Gulfport Residents

Gulfport needs to upgrade its overworked water and sewer system, but city leaders don't know where the $123 million to do so will come from.

The city council says the only option may be raising taxes. But some citizens question if that's really necessary.

"They go inside the budget, I'm sure there's some money there that could be taken that wouldn't affect the citizens a great deal," Gulfport resident Letha Smith said.

"I don't understand how they got into this situation because we got casinos and everything around here everything seems to have grown and gotten much better," Shirley Middleton said.

Others we talked to say they expect some sort of tax hike eventually. So we asked if they could choose would they rather pay, higher sales, property or sewer and water taxes.

"Sewer and water," Betty Callahan said. "My property taxes just went up astronomically, and I'd hate to see them go up again."

"I'd probably say sales, put another couple of pennies on sales, because people have to have their groceries and clothes and stuff so that might work," Bill Wyman said.

Many others we talked to say the same. But unless the city comes up with other funding sources, paying more taxes might be the only way to bail out Gulfport.

Council member Ricky Dombrowski says a sales tax increase is only possible if the legislature okays it. Dombrowski says by law, a property or sewer and water increase can only be approved when the city is drafting the next year's budget.