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2% Restaurant Tax Vote

By Phil Fisher

 

mayor phil fisherFor many years, Clintonians have asked for improved recreational facilities and additional quality of life opportunities to match or compete with other communities. I have sought additional funding from many sources, sometimes with success, many times without success. Even when successful, consistency is always an issue.

 

Our City budget is $17,000,000 and we try to be as efficient with your tax dollars as possible. Since 2013, we have added thirty paid slots to the Police Department (making Clinton the 3rd safest City in Mississippi), hired an Economic Development Director, hired a full-time Judge and built the City paving budget from zero to $1,300,000 as well as many other positive things to improve our town.

 

Improving the City’s Quality of Life and Parks/Recreation opportunities is a very expensive proposition. For example, the walking trail under construction along Cynthia and Arrow Drive cost $750,000 without lighting. Recreational grants require up to a 50% match. This cost of construction and the cost of grant matches makes it impossible for Clinton to improve facilities, much less build new ones by it budget alone.

 

Trying to budget for quality-of-life improvements and Parks recreation needs is beyond the capability of our City budget – and frankly any other community. It is apparent that cities need a consistent source of funding to meet the needs to provide the recreational and quality of life needs we deserve.

Kids Towne Park

Ninety other communities have already answered the need for more and consistent funding by increasing their restaurant tax. Most of the recreational advantages you see in growing communities are paid for with a restaurant tax.

 

On July 12th, at the Traceway Park office, you will have the opportunity to vote to provide the City a consistent source of revenue specified for Parks/Recreation and quality of life improvements. Passing the resolution requires a 60% yes vote and must be re-voted every four years. This gives you the option to vote the 2% out if the Board does not honor the resolution. The resolution reads;

 

A RESOLUTION BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF

CLINTON, MISSISSIPPI TO AUTHORIZE A SPECIAL ELECTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF

SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE CITY WHETHER THE CITY

SHOULD IMPLEMENT A 2% TAX UPON THE GROSS PROCEEDS OF SALES OF

RESTAURANTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDS TO PROMOTE TOURISM

AND PARKS AND RECREATION WITHIN THE CITY

 

In a nutshell, if you want new/improved/better facilities you need to support this resolution. If the resolution is defeated, we will continue to struggle for funds and fall further behind other communities.

Kids Towne Park

The choice is in your hands.

 

Please review the FAQ below for more detailed information.

 

FAQ;

  1. Why have an additional 2% added to the 7% restaurant tax? Citizens are asking for quality of life and recreational activities that the City budget cannot afford due to other pressing objectives such as public safety and infrastructure. Other cities are feeling the same pressure. The walking trail currently under construction along Arrow Dr. is $750,000. Grants at all levels of government require up to a 50% match. Simply put, Clinton does not have the money to meet the match, much less an entire project. Increasing the restaurant tax by 2% should generate approximately $1,000,000, giving Clinton the opportunity to keep up with the other communities that are already using their restaurant tax for these improvements.
  2. What is the process to get to a vote on this issue? The City had to request Legislative approval to hold a vote of the people. That was requested and granted in this past legislative session. The next step is for the City to hold a vote on whether or not you want 2% added to your restaurant tax (increasing from 7% to 9 %). It must be passed with a 60% majority and must be re-voted every four years to remain in effect. Reapproving the additional 2% tax every four years assures that the intended use of the money’s raised is not changed. If it is not used as agreed upon by the vote, you can vote the increase out.
  3. Will the 2% tax apply the purchase outside of restaurant food? No, the additional 2% only to meals purchased from restaurants. The sales tax for groceries, clothing, and other goods remains at 7%.
  4. What does this increase represent on a $35.00 restaurant bill? $35.00 X 7% = a $2.45 tax, 35.00 X 9% = 3.15 tax. The difference between $2.45 and $3.15 is 70 cents.
  5. How much money will this raise? A 2020 estimate indicated a 2% tax on restaurant food (only) will raise approximately $1,000,000 annually.
  6. Will the City use this money to apply for grants? Yes, most grants require a 50% match. Using the entire $1,000,000 as a match for various projects will double the money to $2,000,000 per year.
  7. What if the money does not come to $1,000,000? The estimate should be close. To be safe, we will wait a year before to spending anything to assure we know the correct amount. Then we will begin the grant process to double the amount collected from the 2%. While we are collecting the additional 2% money during the first year, we will be meeting with groups of interested citizens for community input. This process will determine the types of projects we will construct. The Park Consultants hired to plan the 84 acres will also advise us on future trends.
  8. How many cities already have this restaurant tax? By our count 90 Mississippi cities have a restaurant tax.
  9. What type of projects could be constructed? To name a few; walking/biking trials, playground equipment, lighting, bathrooms, pavilions, concession stands, tennis courts, pickleball courts, disc golf, upcoming trends and improvements to existing facilities.
  10. You mentioned the 84 acres, will the 2% increase go to the construction of that park? No, the concept for the 84-acre park has not been determined yet and design will take a few years. Perhaps in the next vote in four years, but not in the first four years.
Keys Vs Strings

A crowd in Lions Club Park enjoys a spring concert last year

Together We Can Do Anything

Phil

 

 

 
Ward 6 meeting Ward 6 meeting

1 Comment

  1. Marlin E Wallace on July 10, 2022 at 11:03 am

    With increases in fuel cost, food cost, general supplies, and everything else that’s going up, and a decrease in stock market values along with inflation, I think this is irresponsible to ask those who can afford to eat out to pay additional taxes on their meals. Our Clinton city leader should be concerned about helping our residence, not trying to keep up with other communities.

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