Hattiesburg Sets Franchise Agreement Special Election for August 25

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, August 25, the City of Hattiesburg will hold a special election for the renewal of its franchise agreement with Mississippi Power.

This agreement allows for the city to receive 3% of revenue generated from residential, commercial and industrial accounts. Without it, the city will only receive 2% of generated revenue – and only from residential and commercial accounts. The extra 1% equates to approximately $1.2 – $1.4 million.

This revenue goes back into the general fund, which provides for essential programs and services that residents rely on – including public safety, parks and recreation, street maintenance, sidewalks and more.

Below are five key facts to know before voting:

  • A “yes” vote will not impact residential rates or the services provided by Mississippi Power.
  • A “no” vote will create a loss to the general fund in the terms of $1.2 – 1.4 million, which will have to be made up for if it is lost.
  • Because of COVID-19, the city will operate only one voting precinct at Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center (220 West Front Street) on August 25. This is due to staffing and spacing.Elections are dependent on poll workers, and in the Hattiesburg community – these positions are often filled by community members who are 60+ in age. They fall into the vulnerable population that the city continues to prioritize in its COVID-19 response. Additionally, this facility allows us for optimal social distancing protocols.
  • Sanitization and social distancing protocols will be followed. Voters are reminded to wear a mask upon entering the facility and to bring a photo ID. The precinct will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and curbside voting will also be available.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to vote by absentee ballot.
    – Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at City Hall (200 Forrest Street).
    – Absentee voting will also take place on Saturday, August 15 from 8 a.m. until Noon and on Saturday, August 22 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
    – Curbside is available for all absentee voting. Voters can call 601-545-4552 upon arrival to City Hall and a clerk will come out to assist.

“This election is not unique to Hattiesburg, with more than 20 municipalities from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Meridian having to also hold their own special elections to renew these agreements,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “However, it is an important box we must check in order to continue receiving critical funding for our city.”