Kosciusko residents have voted against a 2% tourism tax.
The special election was held July 12. There were 146 votes against the tax, and 116 for it.
The tourism tax an extra two cents to the dollar -- would have been added on the gross proceeds from retail sales of prepared food and beverages from restaurants and vendors in the city.
The city planned to — use the potential revenue from the tax to upgrade the baseball fields at Hugh Ellard Park for travel and recreational baseball. Upgrades to other parks were also planned.
Mayor Tim Kyle said he was disappointed with the results of the special election.
“This was an avenue for us to try to move our community forward,” he said.
He said it was a missed opportunity for Kosciusko.
“By redoing the ballparks, we could get a lot of these travel teams in. Those bring in a few thousand people every weekend. They spend a lot of money in your community, and it would help all of our businesses and stimulate our economy,” Kyle said. “That’s how the city operates is by sales tax. … To me, it’s kind of a quality-of-life issue to where if you want young people to stay in your community you’ve got to provide facilities for them.”
Only 7% of Kosciusko’s registered voters showed up to the polls last week. While the turnout was low, election officials said that percentage was not an uncommon amount in elections without candidates on the ballot.
“I just hate that so many people didn’t come out and vote, because this really is a vote to try to move your community forward,” said Kyle.
He added, “As many people in our community and people who travel through here, it would have made a huge impact. The estimate of the studies we did, it would have brought in roughly $360,000 a year.”
Kyle said there is no other way planned to fund the park upgrades.
“We don’t have that type of money. Every other community that has all these nice parks, this is what they’ve done. You can go outside Kosciusko anywhere, and you’re already paying the 2%, and it is disappointing that people aren’t willing to spend that at home.”