Gulfport Approves 15% Property Tax Hike

If you live in Gulfport, your property taxes will go up 15 percent next year. The City council voted four to three Thursday to pass the Mayor Combs' more than $137 million budget proposal. All of the council members agreed that the original 18 percent tax hike was too high. So after two and a half hours, members of the Gulfport City Council finally agreed to pass the budget with a few changes.But it wasn't without some very heated discussion.

Gulfport's City Council had until midnight Sunday to adopt a new budget or break state law, it was getting down to the wire. Councilman Billy Hewes would not vote for an increase. Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines suggested halting several roadwork projects until next year.

Councilman Chuck Teston said the city shouldn't stop improvements it should tighten its purse strings, saying, "They're going to spend $218,200 on office supplies. You'd never do that in a private corporation."

The council ended up voting four to three to pass the budget with a 15 percent tax increase instead of 18 and decided to keep the three percent pay increase for city employees like police and firefighters.

Mayor Ken Combs says like the seven council members, he doesn't relish a tax increase either, but says the City of Gulfport is $54 million in debt.