A proposed sales tax has the potential to heighten safety in the French Quarter through a new economic development district and an increased state police presence. Set for the October election ballot, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposed sales tax of 0.2495% within the French Quarter, dubbed the Quarter for the Quarter, would generate at least $2 million to help fund 45 state police officers. Additionally, private-sector dollars would match the funds for a total of about $5 million to put toward safety measures.
If passed, the tourism industry will participate in and help fund the creation of a holistic security program in the French Quarter. This new plan showcases the important role of the tourism industry and how tourism dollars are invested directly back into city services and our quality of life. A safer French Quarter is something everyone will benefit from – locals and visitors alike. Here are some more details of the proposed plan:
By creating an Economic Development District (EDD) to enhance public safety, the city could secure the finances it needs in a manner paid overwhelmingly by tourists visiting the French Quarter (in 2014, more than 9 million tourists visited the Quarter). Moreover, the tax would directly supply 45 Louisiana State Police troopers to police the area full time. That translates to an average of 10 to 12 officers patrolling the French Quarter per shift. Additionally, about $500,000 from the city portion of the hotel self-assessment would go to NOPD and NOLA Patrol to enhance their current presence in the area.
Funds generated from an additional 0.2495% sales tax within the boundaries of the French Quarter Management District would be used to fund Louisiana State Police troopers throughout the French Quarter. If voters pass the measure in October, hospitality organizations including the Morial Convention Center, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau will match funds, thus creating a long-term and viable solution to create the safest French Quarter experience possible.
The boundaries of the EDD and proposed sales tax would mimic those of the French Quarter itself, bounded by the Mississippi River, the center line of Canal Street, the lake side of North Rampart Street, and the downriver side of Esplanade Avenue.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the plan last week, lauded by city officials as a game-changing, innovative solution. City officials will fine-tune the plan over the summer and prepare it for the ballot. It will appear on the ballot during the October 2015 election and, if approved, go into effect thereafter.