On February 11th the City Council, acting as the French Quarter Economic Development District Governing Authority, approved the following ballot language for an election to be held on April 24th:
“Shall a .245% increase in the sales tax be levied within the boundaries of the French Quarter Economic Development District (“FQ EDD”) to be collected on the sale at retail, the use, the lease or rental, the consumption and storage for use or the consumption of tangible personal property and sales of services within the boundaries of the FQ EDD for a period of five years, beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2026 (an estimated $2.5 million reasonably expected at this time to be collected as a result of the levy per year) for the purpose of funding POST Certified supplemental police patrols and homeless assistance services, with the initial $2 million collected in any year dedicated to supplemental police patrols and any additional revenue to be divided between additional patrols and public safety programs (including homeless assistance), and administered by the French Quarter Management District for fiscal and operational oversight of the FQ EDD Trust Fund and services provided by such fund and subject to quarterly budget and expenditure reports to the City Council, to facilitate economic development within the FQ EDD?”
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.
With the departure of the Louisiana State Police Troop N at the end of the year and the economically necessary reduction of the FQMD’s Supplemental Police Patrol Program, maximizing POST Certified patrols by New Orleans Police Department officers to supplement the existing complement of NOPD 8th District officers in the French Quarter is the stakeholders’ priority as reflected in the position letters of the French Quarter Citizens, Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA), North Rampart Main Street, French Quarter Business Association, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association.
2020 Renewal Referendum
On December 5th of 2020 the voters of the French Quarter Economic Development District elected not to renew the .2495% sales tax for supplemental security in the French Quarter.
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
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.
FQMD remains committed to public safety and will continue to operate its Supplemental Police Patrol Program as long as funding permits. FQMD takes its legislative mandate seriously and will commit to working with stakeholder and the City to assure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.