Mayor of Southaven

(Editor’s Note: The following is a response to a column which appeared on the Opinion/Editorial Page in the Tuesday edition of the DeSoto Times-Tribune on the subject of a call for a referendum on the Penny for the Parks issue.)

I certainly welcome a referendum as I want what the majority of our people want, but it is fair to note that many of our citizens ask me why we would vote again for an issue that has been voted upon twice already and passed both times.

I also have concerns about a few of our legislators that have stated that they do not oppose the tax revenue as long as a new referendum occurs, while voting to the contrary in the last legislative session for bills for the same tourism taxes in other cities that included a new referendum (HB 1507). It appears that these legislators are more concerned about a voting record consistent with a political agenda than listening to economic facts and doing what is best for the City of Southaven. It is very disheartening that these people who we count on to represent us are politicizing a very important revenue source for our city. It’s time they be forthcoming with the people of Southaven and state if they support this revenue source or not, instead of hiding behind a new referendum to preserve their political agenda.”

Now, the following statements in this letter that are incorrect: The 2011 ballot clearly states that Park “operations” and improvements were approved even though the City has used the money for improvements.

We can show to the penny how the revenue has been spent which are qualified expenditures and many were promoted on the 2010 promotional video. The video was made before a repeal date was added in 2011 which slowed the progress as we were forced to complete projects with cash and debt-free.

Low voter turnout is not uncommon in any election. The referendums were advertised according to state law and publicized in numerous other articles over a two-year period as well as public speeches and promotional materials by the City’s administration at that time, again over a two-year period since two elections occurred. Many elected officials, including some of our legislators, only received a comparable number of votes. Does that make these elections illegitimate?

I’m stunned that a conservative organization would suggest that the City does not need the revenue as other Park facilities were built before this tax became effective. The other facilities were built with debt and significant property tax millage increases. For example, Snowden Park was funded by a 20-year multi-million dollar bond and millage rates increased by more than 20 mills from 1999 to 2011.  I want to reduce debt and keep property tax rates stable. Again, why would this conservative organization suggest that we increase debt and property tax rates when we can fund Park projects with revenue paid largely by visitors to our city?

Finally, I question how an organization can support the principle of larger governments yielding to more local governments and not see that this is exactly what is occurring with state legislators refusing to support a unanimous resolution from Southaven’s Board of Aldermen who is the official legislative body of the City.

(4) comments

One Citizen's Voice
One Citizen's Voice

Darren Musselwhite.....all that's happening is that the era of a silent majority of people sitting quietly while politicians attempt to grandstand and "chisel" their taxes away are over. It doesn't matter if it's a penny. It's the very idea that a politician (like you) thinks "skimming" and "chiseling" pennies so you can grandstand in your next election campaign with "accomplishments" is going to get by without someone calling you out that seems to bother you. It's the mantra of "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" that's becoming popular again, and NOT "If you build it they will come".....just to keep the tax slush fund rolling and call people mean spirited or uncaring just because they want to hold on to their hard earned dollars. Public administration is about managing diminishing resources as best you can, not trying to carve out (even a penny) from the people or create more "revenue" streams FROM tax payers.


Proud of Mayor Musselwhite for speaking up and calling out representatives who don't do their jobs. I for one believe that our representatives have gotten way to comfortable in their elections, therefore they slack in doing the work for the people who elect them. We need more Mayors and elects to call these people out, so citizens can make proper decisions when voting. The good buddy system needs to be broken!


I agree. Who cares what their opinion or stance on this is. It's the people of this town that matter. I don't care if something was vote on 100 times, it needs to be voted on again. You don't have the right to say that because it was voted on twice in the past then. We don't have the right to vote on it a third time...

Mississippi Mom
Mississippi Mom

You stated that it is time the legislators say whether they are in favor of this tax or not. That seems to be irrelevant to me - what difference does it make how they feel about the issue? They represent the people of DeSoto county and it should be the PEOPLE'S decision whether this tax is to be extended. I am thankful for Representatives that truly represent.

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