The proposed 2 percent tax on restaurant sales would be collected in addition to the usual 7 percent sales tax.
Polls will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the county-wide special election, which was made possible through legislation passed during this year’s session. Voters will choose “for the tax” or “against the tax” on the ballot, and 60 percent must endorse the tax in order for it to pass.
Funds are proposed to be distributed to communities throughout the county for tourism-related projects.
“Our initiatives will include enhancing our amenities offered in our city and state parks, our museum and historic sites, including splash pads, walking tracks, park benches, park lighting and playground equipment,” supporter Cindy Nelson recently told the Daily Corinthian. “We also want to increase our events that promote our heritage and our culture.”
They are looking at ideas such as expanding the Trash to Treasures yard sale and creating new festivals.
Supporters estimate annual funding would be $80,000 for Iuka; $30,000 for Burnsville; $12,000 for Tishomingo; $10,000 for Golden; $58,000 for Belmont; and $5,000 for Paden. Another $70,000 would go for projects outside municipal boundaries.
Voters rejected a similar tax effort five years ago.
The county currently has a 1 percent tax on hotels and motels to support tourism efforts, but it generates far less revenue than a restaurant tax would. The most recent monthly total generated by the tax was $2,537 received in August, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
Booneville voters in June approved a 2 percent tourism tax on both restaurants and lodging. Collection of the tax began Sept. 1.