NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A vote by the New Orleans City Council Thursday advances a new plan aimed at providing more security in the French Quarter.
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-121, authorizing publication of a notice describing the proposed creation of a French Quarter Economic Development District (FQED).
The district will be bounded by the Mississippi River, the centerline of Canal Street, the rear property line of the properties fronting the lake side of North Rampart Street, and the rear property line of the properties fronting the downriver side of Esplanade Avenue to the Mississippi River.
If the FQED is created, the Council will approve a cooperative endeavor agreement between the City, the district and the State of Louisiana, which will provide for the creation of a special trust fund, backed by funds generated from an additional quarter cent sales tax within the boundaries of the FQED.
The sales tax would be used to fund a longer-term contingent of 45 Louisiana State Police troopers to patrol the French Quarter.
The additional quarter cent sales tax will only be levied if approved by the voters in the French Quarter in an election later this year.
It is estimated that a quarter cent sales tax, excluding hotel and motel room taxes, within the boundaries would generate approximately $2 million annually to spend on State Police.
Because the money would be generated through a sales tax, tourists would provide most of the funds.
The Economic Development District's proceeds, if passed by the voters, will be matched by long-term annual funding commitments by hospitality organizations.
These include $500,000 from the Convention & Visitors Bureau and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, $1 million from the Morial Convention Center, and $500,000 from the French Quarter Improvement Fund.
The council, acting as the district's governing authority, will hold a public session on April 23, 2015 at 11 a.m. in City Council Chamber to hear any objections to the creation of the District and/or the proposed use of incremental increases in existing City and State of Louisiana sales taxes for the purpose of improving public safety in the French Quarter.
If the proposal wins final approval, it will go before New Orleans voters in October, 2015.