Gulfport Tax Increase Likely

Paying higher property taxes certainly sparks concern from Gulfport citizens.

Terri Tyler says, "I'm a single mother and I'm trying to get a home for my child and I and if it's not the car tax, car tag tax goin' up it's the homeowners so I'm not for it at all."

"If I pay five cents more and there aren't any results and people are tellin me we're gonna have results if I pay 50 more dollars, I wanna see it. Take my money but do something," says James Harrell.

Councilmember Ricky Dombrowski says the city doesn't have a choice but to raise taxes, the first in his nearly ten years in office.

"We've never voted on a tax increase. In fact, two years ago we had a tax decrease, we gave the mayor's ten percent and on top of that we gave another percentage as far as what the assessed rate of what your property taxes went down," says Dombrowski.

Dombrowski says higher taxes will generate about two million dollars a year.

"We have no pay increases... we've cut everything we can cut, expenditures and everything. We're just bone dry. We just need to get to a point now where we can generate some income."

Dombrowski says he'll support a tax hike but he'll have at least one councilmember voting against him, Billy Hewes.  Hewes says he won't vote for any tax increase when he says there are other ways for the city to generate money, like develop Jones Park.

"The project that was presented to us would bring the city about eight to ten million dollars a year and if we had those kind of revenues coming in we wouldn't be havin' to have proposed tax increases or borrowing up to 125 million dollars a year."

Hewes has pushed for four years to let citizens vote on what to do with Jones Park. And he says as long as he sits on the council he will keep pushing to save citizens money.