New bill proposes one percent sales tax increase on Starkville hotels, restaurants

Hotel Chester, which was built in 1925, is located on Main Street in Downtown Starkville. Restaurants and hotels in Starkville will have an increase in sales tax by one percent if the House Bill is approved.

A bipartisan bill increasing the sales tax of hotels and restaurants in Starkville by one percent passed in the Mississippi House of Representatives with a vote of 100-4. The bill, which would raise funds for a new Starkville sports complex, awaits a Senate vote; if it passes the Senate, it will head to the governor’s office.

House Bill 1565 would authorize the city to levy an additional one percent on the gross sales of room rentals in hotels and motels. This increase would also apply to the gross proceeds of restaurant sales, which includes the sale of food and drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.

If the Bill passes, it would not only provide funds for a new tournament sports complex on the west side of Starkville, but it would also allow current sporting facilities to be updated.

The Bill is “for the purpose of providing funds to acquire real property and constructing, equipping, owning, operating, leasing, furnishing, maintaining and marketing new and existing sports tournament and recreational facilities.”

Gerry Logan, the executive director of the Starkville Parks and Recreation Department, said he is excited about the possibility of creating more recreational opportunities for residents.

“The focus would be on baseball fields and potentially some softball, but a major point is that the funds would also allow us to renovate our current facilities, like the Starkville Sportsplex,” Logan said. “Ultimately the whole parks system is going the benefit ... A potential new complex is a game-changer for Starkville.”

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is happy with the Bill because it will directly benefit the city through hosting more sporting tournaments. She said Starkville is a hub for these kinds of tournaments, but its parks system could benefit from an upgrade.

Additionally, a facility on the west side of the city would be a great addition, Spruill said.

“We’ve got JL King Park to the north, the horse park to the south and, of course, Mississippi State to the east,” Spruill said. "I think putting a complex to the west will make us a more well-rounded city."

If the Bill passes the Senate and if Governor Phil Bryant signs it, then Starkville residents will get the chance to vote on the increase in a special election.

Logan said there will also be occasions in the future for input from the public on this purposed Bill.

“We want everyone to be informed about this whole process,” Logan said. “There will be a lot of opportunity coming up for public input, so everyone should keep a watch on chances to provide feedback.”

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