Sales tax revenues down in Biloxi

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says his city's sales tax revenues are down about 20 percent.

"Things are not picking up. I don't expect for things to pick up anytime soon," says Mayor Holloway.

Considering Biloxi makes a lot of its money from the hospitality industry, it's feeling the hit to its bottom line as people pinch pennies.

"People are not going to be spending on food in restaurants, staying overnight in the hotels and casinos, so it's going to be a big factor for the city," says Mayor Holloway.

The mayor estimates 35% of the city's total revenue comes in from casinos. When rooms stay empty, retailers cut back hours and restaurants, like Olives, close in the Beau Rivage, the city's budget feels the pain.

"They don't have the same occupancy.  They're offering free rooms and that of course cuts in our sales tax.

Despite sagging numbers, it's likely residents won't see it.

"I don't think we'll see any cut backs on any services or anything of that nature. What I'm telling our directors is to watch their dollars," Mayor Holloway.

Saving more while working with the less, it's the city's best strategy to keeping its residents well served.

"We want to provide the services our citizens deserve and what we've been giving them in the past."

The mayor says if next year turns out to be as difficult as this one, residents might see cuts in city services.