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Voters approve tax plan for sports complex

In order to pass, a proposed tax plan to fund the construction of a new sports complex in Vicksburg needed to receive 60 percent of the vote during Tuesday’s municipal general election.

It received 62.9 percent. Good enough.

“This is exceptionally great news for the city of Vicksburg,” Omar Nelson, who chaired the city’s recreation committee and supported the tax, said after the vote was counted Tuesday. “I have always said one of the biggest economic development opportunities out there for communities is to invest in a sports complex.”

With the passage of the referendum, the city now has the funding mechanism in place to pay for the development and construction of the sports complex that will be located on city-owned property on Fisher Ferry Road.

“I’m excited it passed,” Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “It’s a great day for Vicksburg and the youth of this community, and we plan to get started with it immediately. I’m going to get started on the financing for the project. It’s absolutely essential that were get started on this right away.”

Some estimates have construction of the complex costing $20 million.

Vicksburg presently levies a 2 percent hotel tax to fund the Vicksburg Convention Center, and Warren County residents pay a special 1 percent county tax on food and beverages passed by the Legislature in 1972 to fund the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Those taxes are in addition to the statewide 7 percent sales tax everyone pays when they buy something from a store, book a hotel room and eat a meal at a restaurant.

With voters approving the sports complex tax referendum Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will now repeal the 2 percent hotel tax for the convention center and make up the difference from the general fund.

Currently, people eating in a restaurant pay 8 cents tax for every dollar they spend, a combination of the 7 percent sales tax and the 1 percent county tax. People staying in a hotel pay a total tax of 10 cents on the dollar — the combination of the state sales tax, county tax and the 2 percent convention center tax.

With the referendum passing, people will pay a total sales tax of 10 cents on each dollar they spend when they eat at a restaurant or rent a hotel room.

“The citizens of Vicksburg tonight stepped up and said they were going to start investing in our future,” Nelson said. “This is going to increase tourism, increase our tax base, going to provide opportunities for our businesses. We were very hopeful that it would pass and it did. I am very excited with what Vicksburg was able to accomplish tonight.”

The special tax is expected to raise $1 million a year for the sports complex, and has a repealer, which drops the tax after the project is paid off.

The revised tax structure will go into effect Oct. 1.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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