2023 Regular Session
To: Local and Private; Finance
By: Senator(s) DeBar
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF THE CITY OF LUCEDALE, MISSISSIPPI, TO IMPOSE A TAX OF UP TO 1% TO BE LEVIED ON THE GROSS PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALES OF PREPARED FOOD AND DRINK AT RESTAURANTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDS FOR PARKS AND RECREATION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS; TO PROVIDE FOR A REFERENDUM ON WHETHER SUCH TAX SHALL BE LEVIED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context in which they are used:
(a) "City" means the City of Lucedale, Mississippi.
(b) "Governing authorities" means the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Lucedale, Mississippi.
(c) "Restaurant" means all places where prepared food and beverages, including beer and alcoholic beverages, are sold for consumption, whether such food is consumed on the premises or not, including food trucks, lunch stands, cafes, cafeterias, delicatessens, drive-in restaurants, carry-out restaurants, caterers, concession stands, convenience stores, grocery stores, dine-in restaurants and other similar businesses. However, the term "restaurant" does not include any school, hospital, medical clinic, convalescent or nursing home providing for students, patients, visitors and their families, nor does it include any restaurant with an annual gross revenue of less than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00).
(d) "Prepared Food" means food or beverages prepared by a restaurant in the city that is:
(i) Ready to consume without any further food preparation, alteration or repackaging on site; and
(ii) Prepared, provided, sold or served by a restaurant using any cooking, packaging or food preparation technique.
SECTION 2. (1) For the purpose of providing funds to improve parks and recreation in the City of Lucedale, Mississippi, the governing authorities of the City of Lucedale are authorized, in their discretion, to levy and collect a tax from every person, firm or corporation operating a restaurant in the City of Lucedale, at a rate not to exceed one percent (1%) of the gross proceeds of the sales of all prepared food and beverages, including beer and alcoholic beverages, of such restaurant, which shall be in addition to all of the taxes and assessments imposed.
(2) Such tax shall be collected by and paid to the Department of Revenue on a form prescribed by the Department of Revenue in the manner that state sales taxes are computed, collected and paid; and full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Title 27, Chapter 65, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation and administration of this act.
(3) The proceeds of such tax, less three percent (3%) thereof which shall be retained by the Department of Revenue to defray the cost of collection, shall be paid to the governing authorities of the City of Lucedale, on or before the fifteenth day of the month in which collected.
(4) The proceeds of such tax shall not be considered by the City of Lucedale as general fund revenues but shall be dedicated to and expended solely for the purposes specified in this section.
SECTION 3. Before any tax authorized under this act may be imposed, the governing authorities shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention to levy the tax, setting forth the amount of such tax to be imposed, the date upon which such tax shall become effective and calling for a referendum to be held on the question. Notice of such intention shall be published once each week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper published or having a general circulation in the city, with the first publication of such notice to be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the date fixed in the resolution for the election and the last publication to be made not more than seven (7) days before the referendum. At the referendum, all qualified electors of the City of Lucedale may vote, and the ballots used in such election shall have printed thereon a brief statement of the amount and purposes of the proposed tax levy and the words "FOR THE TAX" and, on a separate line, "AGAINST THE TAX," and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (X) or check (ü) opposite their choice on the proposition. When the results of any such referendum shall have been canvassed by the city election commission and certified, the city may levy the tax beginning on the first day of the second month following the referendum, only if at least sixty percent (60%) of the qualified electors who vote in the election vote in favor of the tax. No public funds shall be used for the purpose of promoting the adoption of the referendum and no city employee may promote the referendum during business hours.
SECTION 4. Persons, firms or corporations liable for the tax imposed under this act shall add the amount of the tax to the sales price and shall collect, insofar as practicable, the amount of tax due from the person receiving the services or products at the time of the payment therefor.
SECTION 5. Accounting for receipts and expenditures of the funds described in this act must be made separately from the accounting of receipts and expenditures of the general fund and any other funds of the City of Lucedale. The records reflecting the receipts and expenditures of the funds prescribed in this act shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, and the accountant shall make a written report of his audit to the governing authorities. The audit shall be made and completed as soon as practicable after the close of the fiscal year, and expenses of such audit shall be paid from the funds derived pursuant to this act.
SECTION 6. This act shall be repealed from and after July 1, 2027.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.