Two Percent Hospitality Tax on the Ropes in Bay St Louis

WLOX has been pumping the upcoming election in the Bay even posting Bill Synder on the beach in Old Town with live reports this morning ahead of the public forum on the topic, which I understand was disrupted by a citizen from Waveland who has no voting rights in the Bay but perceived having a horse in the race nonetheless.

Vote on Bay’s food and beverage tax is next Tuesday ~ Geoff Belcher

Public forum generates debate on Bay St. Louis tax referendum ~ Bill Synder

There is talk that the odd election date is the product of pro-tax proponents scheduling the election at a time when like minded people can pack the polls. That may be true but when it comes to propositions that need a 60% majority my experience is there is no good time for an election. There has to be major community support for such things to get the needed majority and I am not seeing that part on social media. What I am seeing are infrequent social media posters putting things like “Vote No” on their social media timelines.

Rhonda Oliver summed up for WLOX this morning the number one reason I am hearing why people are not supporting the proposed tax increase:

“If you want to put 40% to parks and recreation, great. Put it in writing,” said referendum opponent Rhonda Oliver.

I’ve seen that sentiment expressed another way very recently in comments here on Slabbed:

In my opinion, having Tish speak for the City was their biggest mistake. As Rod said, she’s not involved unless a % of the $$ is going to the Chamber. The Council & Mayor are losing their minds. The Yacht Club debacle was just swept aside but make them pay taxes! How 2% on bajillion short term rentals? Or better yet forget about it!

It is nice to see that people haven’t forgotten the major amount of money that goes out the back door in Hancock County. Trixie’s logic, far as I can tell, is impeccable. You’d have to be a fool to vote to tax yourself so another elected official can give away like amounts to their favorite pets out of the back door. Leaving out how the money is actually going to be spent practically invites such chicanery and the public does not seem to be in a trusting mood these days.

Slabbed joins WLOX and the Echo in urging all the registered voters there in the Bay to make your voices heard next Tuesday.

26 thoughts on “Two Percent Hospitality Tax on the Ropes in Bay St Louis”

  1. Everyone in town knows when and why Tish Williams get involved! $$$They,council and mayor , also know if they don’t grease her she will get on the Les Train again pronto. She follows the money like a coon dog on a coon!

    They say it ain’t going to non profits…..that is written no where in the bill. The mayor doesn’t vote but he has executive persuasion.

    The businesses that have direct benefit pay not one nickel to Tourism most pay Tish. They need to choose what benefits them and pay for it. At present the taxpayer general fund gives $22,500 a year to tourism and the businesses give their funds to the chamber. It appears to be obvious who should step up with their own funds. You be the judge!

  2. Remember casinos for education? Remember the tobacco settlement for education?
    Be careful here. It’s not the money. It’s how it will be spent.
    The marina is recreation for the rich, right?

    1. Rachael,
      Have you ever seen the Chamber get this involved without something in it for them? They have been trying to get between Tourism and the money for years.

  3. So y’all should go to the City’s website & you’ll see how the puzzle pieces fit together. There you download FY2020 Gulf Coast restoration Fund Grant. The City wants to go after $5 mil for parks & $2 mil to add a freaking 3rd floor & a golf cart charging station to the parking garage. I guess that’s Tourism. So we know that Tish will write the grant & that won’t be cheap! The 2% tax is expected to generate the required match?
    Please VOTE NO!

    1. Trixie, like you, rod and the rest I am not a Tish fan. She could see increased membership with new businesses coming in.
      But I may be the loner here but parking is a problem and getting less as time moves on.
      More parking is needed not sure where.
      Parks are in dire need of upgrades and the depot district is dead so any help in revitalizing this would be great. I guess my problem is that these projects like these are done all around us and they receive much taxes and benefits from them. But every time bsl wants to move forward as a city it all negative and anti Tish or that. No I’m not for just raising taxes but if it is a benefit to the city than sometimes I can accept it. I also believe this administration and council are living in their means but these are major projects that need help funding.

      Rachael, marina is recreation for the rich. Yes
      So what you are saying is that tourism is only for rich?
      You are saying Parks and Recreation is only for the rich, our children don’t deserve better parks or activities in the city. How narrow minded is this?

      Rod, you beat the drums that the chamber will get this money, no where written, to me it is very clear where it can go. So if Tish goes and gets the city a $10M grant you dont believe she deserves a fee. No different than hiring a grant writer on commission. Again not a Tish fan.
      Hate for Tish? Is this the only reason bsl doesn’t belong to a chamber?
      Every other city belongs to their chamber that I can find. So bsl is the only one right?
      Blinded By The Tish.
      Agin not a Tish fan just thoughts to think about.

      Doug, hope all is well with you and your family and glad you are back.

  4. The Chamber in Hancock County is the only Chamber that does not share their financials with the public. They have 80% payroll and 20% for parties Gala’s and lobbying for money. Those are facts as we have posted their tax returns on previous years gotten from Guide Star. They now do not report to Guide Star anymore or we have been blocked from it now.

    They will get back on the monthly payroll pushing on a website or some other intangible mechanism that is not quantifiable.

    Our parking is maxed out. The Harbor Master routinely does not let people park in the harbor parking for private interest. Businesses do not give one Nickle to Tourism it is paid for by the taxpaying general fund. The Food and Beverage businesses are the front line beneficiaries and they give money to the Chamber to lobby our money for their interest. Raise Dues! They have not raised Dues in 20 years. In contrast the City has increased Ad Valorem Tax 25% in three years. This to the average person is increased Car Tags, Property Tax and Business Personal Property Tax. We pay our golf cart fees and it is dumped into the general fund and the est $25,000 is not dedicated to anything. Building permit fees exceed $12-15,000 per month and it is just dumped into the general fund. Those permit fees turn back into Ad Valorem Tax.

    There is a sunset on this in three years as they will tell you. What they failed to tell anyone was that in three years they vote on the renewal not us! It will be a permanent slush fund!
    It is to vote only because the law makes it that way! After that its renewal is the elected officials vote.
    Go vote I did.

    1. Rod, understand about the chamber payroll, the tourism at the depot was like that as well before their 2% was given to regional which I believe was a great move.
      Trixie, right on about the parking, everywhere but the garage for the most part.
      Rod, who pays for other cities to host cruising?

      1. Stone,
        The event has grown so big that it needs to stand on itself. The merchants that benefit should be all in financially before you ask for the first dime from local customers and tax payers.

  5. How many of the on street parking spots are taken by Old Town employees including the Courthouse employees while the TWO story garage sits empty & patrons park across the tracks. Oh my, did they miss the giant Public Parking sign?

    1. If Main Street was made one way from 2nd Street down to beach blvd it would add something like 50 parking spaces to downtown. You could park on both sides of the road whereas now parking only takes place on one side of the road. Also you could have loading zones for the delivery trucks that sometime park in the middle of the street and jam up traffic.

      Another benefit is it would force traffic up court street from beach blvd. This would encourage development as businesses like traffic. You would also have to drive pass the parking garage. Most out of town people don’t even know we have a parking garage.

      Demontluzin May need to be one way as well. In the summertime people park on both sides of the road and on the sidewalks. The street is not wide enough for two way traffic when cars are parked on both sides. If it was one way you could legally park on both sides and traffic wouldn’t be interrupted.

      Having two hour parking only zones (Beach blvd, harbor lot, lot next to cuz’s) during the summer may need to be considered as well while leaving the parking garage free. It would encourage employees to use the parking garage. Starkville, Oxford, Gulfport and many other cities in the State have time limits on their downtown parking so I don’t think this is such a radical idea. Probably only needed from April 1 – October 31.

      May be a little controversial and people are usually resistant to change but for a minimal amount of money (re-striping/signage vs building new structures) it creates parking and reduces congestion. The city is adding a 5th pier to the Harbor and we soon will have a hotel in downtown. Regardless of what we do some type of action is going to need to be taken.

      Just some constructive thoughts.

  6. The Chamber and Tish were the face and voice of the tax increase that failed miserably.

    Now the Political favors are starting. The Mayor is nominating her Brother Stephen to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Chamber Developers have their guy now. Who do you suppose he will be advised by?

    1. I’ve known Steve for many years, he’s a fine pick to serve on the HPC. He is a realtor by trade, intelligent and open minded. I wasn’t in the voting booth with the guy but I understand that Mike sought his support in the last election and that Steve lent him his support. He checks all the boxes regardless of his siblings.

  7. That may be true. Couldn’t disagree with any of that as I don’t know. My dealings with Stephen have been fair and impartial as well. I just was connecting the dots immediately after the tax promotion..

    1. Conspiracy Theories
      Spot on Doug.
      This was on the agenda before the election.
      I agree, Mr. Steve will be great. Very honest guy. Loves BSL.
      This is a great appointment.
      Rod, you need to apply as well, you would be good also.

  8. He probably will be I couldn’t say anything negative but just coincidences are hard to ignore. My apologies to Steve he is by all my dealings a nice and honest man.

    I will stand corrected on that.

    1. Trixie, How many times has the council overrode the historical commission?
      Maybe you should check it out before you make a stupid statement like this.

      1. Right off the top of my head, the vertical aluminum siding on the Beach Blvd condos in Old Town? Just 2 or 3 meetings ago a woman & her PVC fence. I’ll actually research & get back to you Stone. I usually agree with you but wish you hadn’t called me stupid.

        1. Didn’t call you stupid and wouldn’t but The comment about overturns every decision is what I referred to.
          They overturned one because, not sure but , there’re are dozens decisions a month and hundreds a year.
          I do agree with the condos, should have made him remove it and fine the 3 rd party inspector for allowing it.

          And like you we agree.
          And I believe we both want what’s best.

          Again it was not you just the statement. Sorry if I offended u.

  9. The Council is good about common sense approach to letting people use their personal taste to build in the Historical District.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *