Hattiesburg releases report on ‘Your Penny At Work’ tax

Hattiesburg releases report on ‘Your Penny At Work’ tax
Improvements to the tennis complex at Tatum Park was one of seven projects completed in Hattiesburg thanks to the "Your Penny At Work" tax. (Source: wdam)

From City of Hattiesburg Communications

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Hattiesburg has completed seven projects across the city in the past two years using its portion of “Your Penny at Work” tax money.

Another three projects are underway, while two more are scheduled to begin soon.

The city released a report Monday detailing the revenue and project funding.

“When we began talking about the 1 percent tax before the vote took place, we vowed that we would be transparent with all funding revenues and project costs,” Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said. “Throughout the last two years, even in a pandemic, we’ve stayed true to that.

“Additionally, this two-year report is a snapshot of all of those projects at a glance with a look at what is to come.”

The “Your Penny at Work” revenue comes from a 1 percent tax that was added to hotel, motel and restaurant bills.

The additional tax was approved by voters in April 2019.

The money generated is split between the city for parks and recreation projects and the University of Southern Mississippi for the renovation of Reed Green Coliseum.

Since 2019, the city has received more than $2.3 million as its portion.

That money has paid for seven completed projects, including:

  • Thames Elementary gymnasium renovation
  • Ninth Street Ballpark drainage and lighting Improvements
  • East Eighth Street basketball and tennis courts
  • Lighting on Gordon Creek/Jaycee Park trail from High Street bridge to Hutchinson Avenue
  • Vernon Dahmer Park batting cages
  • Tatum Park Tennis Complex improvements
  • Duncan Lake Trail extension.

Projects currently in progress include a splash pad at Dewitt Sullivan Park, playground upgrades at Kamper Park and ongoing repairs and upgrades for the Hattiesburg Community Arts Center.

Projects slated to begin soon include improvements to Tatum Park Soccer Complex and Friendship Park.

Other projects scheduled for funding include Miracle League Field (an inclusion field for children with special needs), Midtown Green (a park space for the Midtown area), Hattiesburg High softball field, Chain Park amphitheater and an additional blue-way access point on the Leaf River.

Miracle League Field is an “inclusion” field for children with special needs), while the Midtown Green project would create a park space for the Midtown area.

The referendum took effect in June 2019, with the first revenues reported in August 2019. Each month’s receipts show the economic activity that occurred two months prior.

A breakdown of revenues by year include:

  • 2019: $581,253.78
  • 2020: $1,292,224.80
  • 2021 (current): $468,969.05

“This funding has been a gamechanger for our Parks and Recreation Department, allowing for multiple large capital projects over the course of the past two years and smaller upgrades where needed,” Barker said. “We continue to see progress shared throughout every neighborhood, thanks to the input from citizens and the direction and leadership of Chris McGee, parks and recreation director, and Sid Gonsoulin, construction and projects manager.”

The full report can be downloaded at yourpennyatwork.com.

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