Ocean Springs voters OK restaurant tax

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ocean Springs residents have approved a 2 percent food and beverage tax that will generate about $1 million a year for the city.

Proceeds from the tax will be used to pay for $26 million in improvements to the city’s police and fire departments, city jail and court, and for recreation programs citywide.

About 66 percent of voters casting ballots Tuesday approved the tax. Sixty percent of voters must have voted in favor of the tax for it to pass.

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The tax goes into effect Feb. 1.

“It’s difficult to get 60 percent of anything,” said Alderman Greg Denyer.

He said restrictions on how the city could get the word out to the public made it difficult, because the city is not allowed to use public or city money for advertising or education.

“Every tourist destination in the U.S. has this type of tax,” Denyer said, pointing out Pascagoula has a hotel and motel room tax.