PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – Pascagoula city leaders are considering several tax increases to help cover a $14 million deficit that was uncovered by an audit this past summer.
Mayor Dane Maxwell, city manager/attorney Ryan Frederic, and assistant city manager Frank Corder traveled to Jackson this week, meeting with Gov. Phil Bryant to promote the city’s legislative agenda. Included in that agenda is a request from lawmakers to allow two separate tax increases.
The first tax increase would be a reinstatement of a three percent hotel tax, which would be applied to hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts. It was in effect for a few years but expired early in 2018.
Secondly, the city wants lawmakers to pass another local and private bill that would allow for a one cent sales tax increase in the city, raising it to eight percent. All this comes after a recent millage rate increase of 34 percent by the city, raising the taxes on a $100,000 home by more than $200 a year.
Another request the city makes in its resolution is to have municipal elections pushed back. Right now, municipal officials are elected in June and sworn-in in July. Pascagoula city officials say that’s not enough time to adopt a legally balanced budget, which is required by Sept. 15.
They are asking legislators to push back municipal elections throughout the state, designating party primaries in August and the general election in November, with officials being sworn-in the following January.
“This change would allow sufficient time for these newly elected officials to vet and audit the municipality’s finances prior to adopting a budget,” states the resolution.