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City of Eupora - Tourism Tax for Parks and Recreation

Special Election - July 18, 2023

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Every small town struggles with funding for Parks and Recreation.  The State of Mississippi allows a municipality to hold a special election and asks the Citizens to VOTE on whether to implement a 2% tax to provide support for Parks and Recreation and amenities for both citizens and guests to enjoy. 

This tax would be applied to Hotels, Motels, AirBNBs and any establishment serving prepared food or beverages  (defined as any food or beverage product that is altered from its original form, then sold).     

This isn't a new concept.  Over (100) cities and counties in the State of Mississippi have implemented a tourism tax to fund their Parks and Recreation Departments and Amenities for their communities.  In our region Starkville, Columbus, Lowndes County, Houston, Louisville, Greenwood, Grenada, Indianola, Kosciusko, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, Vaiden, Winona, and West Point have all implemented a tourism tax to help pay for Parks and Recreation and provide amenities for their citizens and guests to enjoy.  This is a tool that the State provides to take some of the tax burden off the city residents and spread it amongst the folks coming into town from outside the city limits.  Spreading the tax burden also allows the city to use funds that were going to Parks and Rec for other infrastructure and community needs.

Tourism Tax  - Frequently Asked Questions

Who will vote?

When is the special election?

What will be taxed and how much?

Only residents who live within the City Limits of the City of Eupora will be able to vote.

The Election will be held on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 at the City of Eupora Community Center.

A 2 % tax is being proposed for the gross proceeds of sales of hotels, motels, and short-term rentals (AirBnbs) and on the gross proceeds of restaurants derived sales of prepared food, beverages, beer and any other alcoholic beverages.

Who is a tourist?

A tourist is anyone who doesn’t already live in Eupora who comes into our City to spend money. They benefit from the businesses, services, and recreational opportunities that we have to offer in Eupora.

Why should we consider a tourism tax?

We are a commercial center for thousands of people in surrounding rural areas and counties who come to Eupora for groceries, to visit the lake, to attend sporting events and tournaments, eat at one of our amazing restaurants and visit their friends in town.  It's somewhat of a mutual relationship - if we give folks reasons to visit Eupora, they will. By adding 2% more to sales of lodging and prepared foods and beverages our friends and neighbors who love to visit Eupora can help fund more opportunities to help our community thrive.  We might even make it so nice that they want to live here!  Additionally, this tax would shift the tax burden off of City Residents and will help keep property taxes in the City lower than surrounding communities. 

What can tourism tax money be used for?

Our focus in Eupora would be Parks and Recreation. If we create more reasons for people to come to Eupora we can build more nice things for our citizens (and guests) to enjoy.  We CAN have nice things!  

Who will decide where the money goes?

The City would create a committee of local citizens to give recommendations to the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen for where the funds could best be applied. This committee would represent the voice of the community and help guide leadership in how these funds can best serve our community.

How will this impact local residents?

Residents will see an additional 2% charge when they go out to eat or stay in a hotel or AirBnb in the City of Eupora.  Chipping in a few cents on each meal that is purchased in the City of Eupora will allow us to create recreational and economic opportunities for our citizens.  Both residents of the City of Eupora and surrounding communities will see a positive impact from this 2% increase.  The funds generated will be put right back into the things that will bring people to our community and will be used to address some of the things that have been neglected over the years so that the Jewel of the Hills can shine again!

What is the definition of “Restaurant”?

“Restaurant” means any place, including hotel and motel dining rooms, cafes, lunch stands and mobile vending units (food trucks), as well as grocery, convenience stores and bars where prepared food and drinks are sold for consumption either on or off the premises.

What is the definition of Hotel/Motel?

"Hotel" or "motel” means any establishment engaged in the business of furnishing or providing rooms intended or designed for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes to transient guests on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and located within the limits of the city. "Hotel" or "motel" includes Airbnb, Vacation Rentals By Owner, and similar establishments, as well as campgrounds, but does not include hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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