On February 5, 2019 at a regular meeting of the Bay St. Louis City Council, the Council and Mayor unanimously approved a resolution to ask the Legislature to introduce a local and private bill that will provide for an election for the citizens to determine whether a 2% tax on the gross sales of bars and restaurants may be levied to promote tourism, parks and recreation within the city.
By clicking the linked images below, you will find a fact sheet on this proposed action, the resolution, and draft legislation (that defines exclusions). 39 cities and six counties across Mississippi collect a similar tax, including the South Mississippi cities of Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Picayune, and Hattiesburg. This tax, which will be passed on to customers, is projected to generate around $500,000 annually. The draft legislation states the revenue generated must be solely used for tourism promotion, parks and recreation to grow business income for restaurants and bars; and, cannot be used for general fund revenues. The tax cannot be imposed until all qualified electors of the city have had the opportunity to cast their vote for or against the tax. The city may levy the tax only if 60% of qualified electors who vote in the election vote in favor of the tax.
The Chamber will continue to keep our members informed of the facts through our email communications system and on our website at https://hancockchamber.org.