The City of Ridgeland plans to work with the state legislature to get increases in tourism tax and support the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild. They also support the Mississippi Municipal League’s legislative agenda.
According to Mayor Gene McGee, Ridgeland will work with the legislature to increase tourism taxes on restaurants and hotels. With the help of the legislature they will try to pass a private, local bill detailing tourism tax increases. The hotel tourism tax will be increased by two cents and the restaurant tourism tax will be increased by one cent. The increase of tax will in turn fund the expansion of Freedom Ridge Park.
The other item on the agenda is to work with the Mississippi Craftsmen Guild to get them state support. The Bill Waller Craft Center is the only state building who’s maintenance is not paid for by the state.
Instead, the Craftsmen Guild uses their own money from events they host to clean their building.
Tomeka Hall-Cheatham is the interim executive director for the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild. She says they sometimes use up to 45 percent of the funds they make from hosting events. Maintenance on the building costs around $100,000 annually.
The city of Ridgeland donates surplus like lights and cleaning supplies, and also helps pay for the groundwork and electricity.
But Mayor McGee believes he can get the legislature to pay for their maintenance since it is a state building and help the craftsmen’s guild support their craftsmen. If successful, the state would pay for the building’s maintenance and upkeep.
“The craftsmen’s guild is really important and great for tourism,” he said.
McGee also said that the city fully supports the Mississippi Municipal League’s legislative agenda for this year.
The league’s 2021 legislative agenda, as approved by the Mississippi Municipal League Board of Directors, has five major goals. They are: to give cities statewide authorization and legislation to regulate golf cart use in cities; to authorize towns under 2,000 in population to hold special elections in one central polling location; to get funding for the first responders health and safety act, to implement local option sales taxes, to get small municipalities grants for towns and cities in Mississippi and to get full funding of homestead exemption reimbursements.