City Council hears update on use tax and BP settlement money from local legislators
The Picayune City Council received an update at yesterday’s meeting from State Senator Angela Hill and State Representative Stacey Wilkes on the new legislation for internet sales tax diversion or ‘use tax’ and the BP settlement money distribution plan that were both passed into law during the recent special session called by Governor Phil Bryant.
Senator Hill informed the council that the city will be receiving money from a portion of money from online sales. The money is based on an overall pool of $50,700,000. The number is based on assumptions based on 15% of $338,000,000 in use tax collections (pre-diversions). The money is then divided based on a city’s population and a city’s percentage of sales tax diversions. Hill said that she is being told that the $50 million dollars is a conservative estimate and the total amount will likely be adjusted upward.
Picayune is likely to receive a total of $447,878.00 over a period of four years beginning with a payment in January 2019 and another payment in July 2019 .
The city of Picayune amount is derived with $172,120.00 from population, $265,724.00 from sales tax numbers, and $10,033.00 from the equal shares pool.
To receive the money, Hill said the city will have to show that the revenue was spent on infrastructure related items like paving, utilities (water, sewer), natural gas, and some type of repair or maintenance to determine the cities’ baselines. This amount cannot include bond related projects.
The amount of the money expenditure is based on the previous five years average eliminating the highest and lowest years of money spent. Hill explained that the number will determine the amount of money a city can draw from the pool as long as the number does not exceed the estimate.
City Clerk Amber Hinton told Hill and the council that the city is set to receive the full amount for the first two years for sure based on money the city has spent.
Representative Wilkes told the council that the BP settlement will be setup with Pearl River County as one of the six coastal counties including Stone, George, Jackson, Harrison, and Hancock. These six counties will have 75% of the total BP settlement funds to pull from for projects while the rest of the state of Mississippi will using 25% of the settlement for its pool.
Wilkes said that an advisory board is being formed to be in place to review projects submitted by entities in the six coastal counties. She added that the projects must for infrastructure and economic impact that will generate revenue and all projects will go through the Mississippi Development Authority for vetting and if approved, they will be passed on to the legislature for a vote.
Wilkes said each project will have a matching amount that has yet to be determined.