Voters in Hernando reject bill aimed to improve city parks

HERNANDO, Miss. — Voters in Hernando rejected a tax increase known as “Coins For Kids.”

It would have added a 1-percent tax increase to restaurant and prepared food bills, with the estimated $800,000 going to improve city parks.

FOX13 spoke to people about the vote failing and what happens next.

Some said that the park improvements tax was very much needed, while others said the timing was all wrong.

Rachel Dhority of Hernando said that she likes the city parks but added that she wasn’t for the one penny on the dollar tax.

”I voted against it and the reason I did is because of the economic situation right now,” Dhority said. “We are paying more for groceries and we are paying more for gas. It’s up 20 cents since last week.”

The money would have gone to build six new tennis courts, add drainage to Kuykendall Field where local kids play football, four new baseball and softball fields and three new basketball courts and six new tennis courts.

Instead, FOX13 learned that since the tax was voted down, the city may only have the funds to add drainage to the football field and some lights to the soccer fields.

”I think it is unfair to the kids. Look at Southaven Parks. Look at Olive Branch parks and Senatobia has awesome parks,” Madeliene Payton of Nesbit said.

Keith Hawkins of Hernando said that it would be unfortunate for the city and the kids to miss out.

”Then, when you look at the parks’ side of it, we have great parks but there is so much more that can be done and that tax money would have been perfect,” he said.

Dhority said that she disagrees and thinks the parks could become overdeveloped.

”It would have changed the feeling of this park and I enjoy getting out and listening to the birds and the wildlife and whatnot, and the tennis courts and baseball fields would have changed the face of it entirely,” Dhority said.

The tax needed a 60-percent voter approval to pass but received only 42 percent.

Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson said that votes were still being tallied. He claimed that there are some irregularities in the initial numbers, including voters registered from outside of the city.