Hattiesburg mayor talks to residents about upcoming tax referendum

Hattiesburg mayor talks to residents about upcoming referendum

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg residents will head to the polls April 23 to vote on whether the restaurant and hotel sales tax will increase by 1% to invest in the city’s parks and recreation facilities.

“This next election is a collective decision on what kind of city Hattiesburg, Mississippi will be,” Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said. “This is the next step in our financial recovery and it’s also the next step in making sure we are an instant quality of life for the next generation. This city has always done well in investing in the next generation.”

Barker was at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Monday explaining the proposal to members, answering any questions they had and talking one on one with them.

"I had no idea what this election was about. Now I do and I now know what this election is about and I’m supportive of just about everything that is going on. I think it was very beneficial,” said Diane Key, a member of the institute.

If passed, the revenue brought by the increased sales tax would be split between parks and recreation and renovations to Reed Green Coliseum. But it must get at least 60% of the votes in order to pass.

"I believe that next week, our citizens will step up again and chose to invest in the next generation and chose hope for the future over past mistakes. I believe our city is going to do that,” said Barker.

The proposal is estimated to bring in around two point four million dollars every year until June 30, 2022.

Projects that will be funded by this proposal include:

  • Miracle League inclusion field for children with special needs
  • Lighting and drainage improvements to 9th Street Ballpark
  • Drainage improvements to soccer fields at Tatum Park
  • Expansion of walking path at Duncan Lake
  • Tennis facility improvements at Tatum Park
  • Light installation at Friendship Park in East Jerusalem neighborhood
  • News girls softball field at Hattiesburg High
  • Chain Park amphitheater
  • Refinishing of Thames Elementary gym floor for use as indoor recreation facility during non-school hours
  • Splash pad at Sullivan Park in Palmers Crossing
  • Tennis Court installation on East 8th Street
  • Property acquisition for park in Midtown
  • Playground equipment upgrades at Kamper Park
  • Splash pad at Timberton Park
  • Renovations at old Hattiesburg American building into community arts center space
  • Conversion of dilapidated and abandoned property into public green spaces, pocket parks and community gardens
  • Additional blueway public access point on Leaf River

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