Voters say no to new tax for recreational development

GAUTIER — The Gautier recreation department will not be getting any improvements. At least not right now.

The Sun Herald reports residents voted down a referendum Tuesday in a special election to levy a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and prepared food and beverages. The referendum received only 54 percent of vote. It needed 60 percent to pass.

Mayor Gordon Gollott said he doesn’t understand why residents didn’t allow this referendum to pass.

He said the recreation advisory committee will regroup and find some other way to create a recreation program for youth and seniors in the community.

Gollott pointed out Gautier is one of, if not the only city on the entire Gulf Coast, to not have a 2 percent tax on prepared food, hotels and motels.

Gautier had tried to get the state to allow this referendum to go up for a vote earlier this year.

Gollott said a citywide survey conducted two years ago showed support for the referendum and multiple town hall meetings within the last six months have indicated community support, as well.

“Our local legislators fought hard to get it to the Legislature, but the citizens have spoken,” he said.

The measure was on the June 4 general election ballot as a poll vote, where it also received 54 percent of the vote.

Now the council will seek input from the residents for a plan of action, which could include bringing it to a vote again in the future.

A total of 1,172 voters of about 6,500 registered voters cast ballots on the measure.

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