History of the 2015 Referendum
On Saturday, October 24, 2015 registered voters within the boundaries of the French Quarter Management District elected to create the French Quarter Economic Development District (FQ EDD). The measure passed overwhelmingly, with 78% of voters in support.
Beginning January 1, 2016, sales tax on goods and services (excluding hotel stays) sold in the District increased 0.2495%, which equates to $0.25 for every $100. This sales tax was expected to generate approximately $2 million annually and would fund public safety measures within the District. In 2019 the sales tax generated $3 million dollars that went solely to the Louisiana State Police along with $2.5 million from the hospitality industry.
2020 Renewal Referendum
COVID-19 has had an astounding impact on the FQ EDD sales tax and the hospitality industry’s ability to provide supplemental police patrols. In order to maximize the dollars now available, the Board of Commissioner of the French Quarter Management District heard from French Quarter residential and business organizations unified requests that the renewal of the French Quarter Economic Development District sales tax funds be directed to the French Quarter Management District for the purpose of funding supplemental public safety utilizing post certified officers.
Endorsing organizations include:
- Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents, and Associates
- N. Rampart Main Street, Inc.
- Louisiana Restaurant Association
- Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association
- French Quarter Business Association
On Thursday, August 20th, the French Quarter Economic Development District (FQ EDD) Governing Authority (the City Council) approved all three motions before them:
1. FQ EDD M-2020-3: The 2015 ballot language renewal,
2. FQ EDD R-2020-4: Authorizing Cm. Palmer to be the signatory on all legal instruments, including a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement, and
3. FQ EDD R-2020-5: The intent of the FQ EDD Governing Authority to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the French Quarter Management District to administrate the remittances into the FQ EDD Trust Fund for the purpose of funding public safety, notably, the FQMD’s Supplemental Police Patrol Program using post certified officers and the French Quarter Task Force (FQTF) App.
This was the first of the many steps to assure that the renewal of the “Quarter for the Quarter” sales tax is dedicated to public safety and directed by the stakeholders.
On August 25th FQMD began a stakeholder engagement campaign to begin gathering stakeholder priorities for the drafting of a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the City, and the French Quarter Governing Authority (the City Council) for the management of the French Quarter Economic Development District Trust Fund, should the District voters elect to renew the 2015 .2495% in the sales tax.
Partner organizations and the District councilmember helped push out the questionnaire which consisted of three questions:
- Contact information of the respondent for demographic verification and future stakeholder engagement
- What demographic best described the respondent
- An open-ended question to allow free response to stakeholder priorities for the funding enhanced and supplemental public safety services
There were 107 respondents:
• 71 Residents
• 24 Workers
• 8 Business Owners
• 4 Visitors
Next Steps Include:
• The survey closed September 6th. FQMD is reporting out the common themes that were identified by the respondents so they can then be evaluated by the stakeholders. Based on the responses, some priorities can be addressed in the CEA, some will inform programming for the Trust Fund dollars and some priorities will need to be addressed from separate funding sources.
• FQMD will continue discussions with the New Orleans Police Department and the City’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness to structure a public safety program that is unified, post certified, transparent, and accountable. This will be presented to stakeholders as soon as the program is hammered out.
• FQMD will work with the City and Council to draft the governing CEA based on priorities directly related to “enhanced and supplemental public safety services” as dictated by the ballot language.
FQMD remains committed to public safety and will continue to operate our Supplemental Police Patrol Program as long as funding permits. We take our legislative mandate seriously and will commit to working with stakeholder and the City to assure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.