Down near the bottom of Tuesday’s ballot — below the races for U.S. senator and representative, for judges and other local officials, plus 14 state constitutional amendments and two City Charter amendments — some Orleans Parish voters will discover one other issue.
Six of the city’s more than 30 neighborhood security and improvement districts are seeking renewals of the property fees that let them pay for extra security patrols and other projects. The money is collected as part of regular property tax bills.
In addition, one Jefferson Parish neighborhood will be voting on a renewal for a similar fee.
The largest of the New Orleans districts voting Tuesday is the Lakeview Crime Prevention District, first authorized in 1998. It is seeking voters’ permission to renew an annual fee of up to $150 for 12 years, 2015-2026, on every parcel of land — vacant or improved — in Lakeview. The fee is estimated to generate about $875,000 per year “to be used to aid in crime prevention and to add to the security of district residents by providing for an increase in the presence of law enforcement personnel in the district.”
The district consists of the area bounded by Orleans Avenue on the east; City Park Avenue, the Pontchartrain Expressway and Veterans Memorial Boulevard on the south; and the 17th Street Canal on the west. The northern boundary runs east along Lake Pontchartrain, cuts south at West End Boulevard to Robert E. Lee Boulevard, then stretches east to Orleans Avenue.
The Kingswood Subdivision Improvement District wants to renew a $240 annual fee on each parcel of taxable property in the area bounded by the Interstate 10 Service Road, the western right-of-way line of Kingswood Subdivision, the Morrison Canal and the Vincent Canal. The extension would cover eight years, 2015-2022. The fee is expected to generate about $65,500 annually “to be used exclusively for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the beautification, security and overall betterment” of the Kingswood subdivision, including “additional law enforcement personnel and their services.”
The Lake Oaks Subdivision Improvement District is seeking to renew a fee of up to $400 a year on each land parcel in that subdivision, which is bounded roughly by Elysian Fields Avenue, Lake Oaks Parkway, Music Street, Leon C. Simon Drive, St. Roch Avenue and New York Street. The renewal would be four years, 2015-2018. The fee is estimated to generate about $110,000 annually “to be used exclusively to promote the security, beautification and overall betterment” of Lake Oaks.
The Lake Willow Subdivision Improvement District wants to renew an annual $300 fee on each parcel of land in the area bounded by Morrison Road on the north, the Lawrence Drainage Canal on the west, the I-10 Service Road on the south and a line 200 feet west of Crowder Road on the east, excluding Lots 1B, 1C and 1D. The renewal would cover three years, 2015-2017. The fee is estimated to generate about $52,200 per year “to be used solely and exclusively to promote and encourage the security, beautification and overall betterment” of the Lake Willow subdivision.
The Milneburg Neighborhood Improvement District is asking voters’ permission to renew a $200 annual fee on each land parcel, including condominiums, in the area bounded by Mexico Street, St. Roch Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue and Filmore Avenue. The renewal would be for four years, 2015-2018. The fee is estimated to generate about $95,200 annually “to be used exclusively for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the beautification, security, and overall betterment of the district.”
The Oak Island Neighborhood Improvement District wants to renew a $150 annual fee on each parcel of land — excluding vacant lots — in the neighborhood bounded by Michoud Boulevard from Adventure Drive to Expedition Drive (both sides), to Explorer Avenue, to Voyageur Drive and Voyageur Court (both sides), to Horizon Drive (both sides) to Pierre Court (both sides), plus Michoud Boulevard, to West Cavelier Drive (both sides), to Trapper Court (both sides), to St. Marie Court (both sides) and North Cavelier Drive (both sides). Lots owned by people eligible for the state’s assessment freeze for elderly and disabled homeowners would be exempt. The renewal would be for four years, 2015-2018, and the fee is estimated to generate about $45,000 per year to be used “to promote and encourage the security, beautification and overall betterment” of Oak Island.
In the case of each of the districts, the money would be managed by a neighborhood board of commissioners. The city takes 1 percent of each district’s revenue as a collection fee.
If the districts make arrangements for additional patrols through the New Orleans Police Department, the agreements generally provide that such personnel and services “shall be supplemental to and not in lieu of personnel and services” already being provided by the NOPD. In other words, the department is not supposed to reduce the level of service it provides normally just because a neighborhood decides to pay for extra patrols or officers.
The one Jefferson Parish security district voting Tuesday is the Stonebridge area of Gretna. The Stonebridge Subdivision Special District wants to renew an annual fee for 10 years, 2015-2024, on each parcel of property in the district, excluding vacant lots. The fee will amount to $389.89 in 2015, when it is expected to bring in $354,835, then will rise by 2.5 percent each year.
The proceeds “shall be used for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, constructing and improving, or leasing, maintaining and operating machinery and equipment and other facilities to be used, and paying other expenses incurred or contracting for services to be rendered in connection with providing security enhancement services to the district.”