HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg residents headed to the polls on Tuesday and voted to raise the restaurant, hotel and motel sales tax by 1 percent.
Polls closed at 7 p.m. With all 14 precincts reporting, the results are:
- 2,574 votes in favor (81 percent)
- 611 against (19 percent)
The measure only required 60 percent of voters to pass. The increase will bring the restaurant and hotel sales tax to 3 percent beginning on June 1, 2019, when the increase goes into effect . The current 2 percent sales tax is used to fund the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.
City leaders say revenue generated from the 1 percent tax increase would be used for improving parks and recreation facilities and renovating the Reed Green Coliseum on the Hattiesburg campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Half of the revenue from the tax increase would go toward parks and recreation projects, and the other half would be used for the Reed Green Coliseum.
According to OneFutureHattiesburg.com, parks and recreation projects that would be funded by the additional tax revenue 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.
- New 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 at E 8th Street park.
- 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
The projects are based on a projected $1.2 million revenue each year for the next three years. Any funds collected above the projected $1.2 million per year will be invested into sidewalks, bike trails and multi-use paths, with focus on:
- S 40th Avenue
- Westover Dr
- E 7th Street
- Quinn Street
- Edwards Street
- N 31st Avenue
- S 17th Avenue