Public forum generates debate on Bay St. Louis tax referendum

Public forum generates debate on Bay St. Louis tax referendum

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) -The countdown is on in Bay St. Louis as residents get ready to vote on that 2% food and beverage tax referendum. Friday the city held a public forum to discuss this issue.

"We want to promote the events already in town, we want to market it, and we want to bring new events into town,” said Mayor Mike Favre, who was joined by veterans of past food and beverage tax campaigns in other Coast cities.

"If you’re going to make progress, you’ve got make the investment,” said Richard Chenoweth, a local restaurateur.

If it passes, the food and beverage tax investment is projected to generate nearly $500,000 a year for Bay St. Louis to cook up more tourism and recreational opportunities.

"You have very engaged citizenry, and I think they should be excited about this,” said Connie Moran, former Ocean Springs mayor who helped get a similar referendum passed when she was in office.

At the forum, supports and detractors engaged in a debate on the issue.

"If you look at the Bay St. Louis economy, it should be a no brainer,” said Richard Barney. "We're missing the boat if we don't vote yes on this."

“If you want to put 40% to parks and recreation, great. Put it in writing,” said referendum opponent Rhonda Oliver.

Bay St. Louis residents will decide when they go to the polls on Dec. 17. The referendum needs 60% of the vote to pass.

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