City to spend $45,000 on election

By REGGIE ROSS
Staff Writer

The city-wide election for the referendum on the tourism tax took another step forward Monday night.
The Grenada City Council voted to use $45,000 to go toward the election. However, a date has yet to be set as to when the election will be held.
Ward Two City Councilman Fredreick “Pete” Wilson made the motion for the budget amendment, and it was followed by a second from Ward Five Councilman Joshua Hughes.
According to City Manager Trey Baker, the $45,000 was taken from the city’s transfer out account, money that the city had stored for the golf course and airport. Baker said during an election year, that is the account from which the money is used.
The last municipal election of 2016 cost around $31,000.
“We will use the money for the election commissioners, software and the campaign itself,” Baker said.
Once an election date is set, citizens will decide on a one percent increase on restaurants and hotels.
In March, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill which called for a direct referendum on ballots and leaving the decision in the hands of Grenada voters.
The referendum is for the City of Grenada to authorize levying of an additional tax on hotels-motels, restaurants and bars, and extend the repealer on the tourism tax.
The new tax, if approved by voters, will result in a total of two percent tax on food and alcohol at restaurants inside the city, and a three percent total tax on motels.
The current law charges one percent on restaurants and two percent on city motels.
If the referendum is approved, 100 percent of the new tax goes to the city for the sports complex. The current tourism tax will still be split 50-50 between Grenada Tourism and the city.
“The next step for us now is the set a date for the election,” Baker said. “Now that the funds are appropriated for it, we can go ahead and move forward.”
Baker said that he and Tourism Director Gary Worsham met with the Grenada Restaurant Association recently to answer questions about the referendum.

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