The New Orleans City Council on Thursday signed off on an agreement to use a proposed new sales tax as well as money from the hospitality and convention industry to fund a year-round contingent of State Police troopers in the French Quarter for the next five years.
The agreement is the last procedural step needed before a central part of funding the plan, a new, nearly quarter-cent sales tax in the French Quarter, is put before voters in the neighborhood on the Oct. 24 ballot.
The plan was announced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu earlier this year in response to a spike in high-profile violent crimes in the Quarter. It would be in addition to other efforts, including police details and the civilian NOLA Patrol program, to improve security in the Quarter.
The effort would be funded by the new sales tax, which is expected to bring in about $2 million a year; $500,000 from a hotel tax put in place last year and overseen by the Convention and Visitors Bureau; and $1 million from the budgets of the CVB and the Morial Convention Center, according to the agreement.
The money would pay for at least 30 state troopers to patrol the French Quarter for the next five years.
State Police would be required to come up with a patrol plan with input from the New Orleans Police Department’s 8th District, which covers the French Quarter. Troopers would have to be trained on New Orleans city ordinances and on “handling public safety situations that are specific to the tourist-dense French Quarter.”
The agreement also allows the governor or State Police superintendent to pull troopers out of the Quarter in case of a disaster, a named storm or a declared state of emergency in which they are needed elsewhere.
City officials said they plan to hold meetings in early October so voters can discuss the proposed sales tax.
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