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Council Members Begin Process To Renew French Quarter Sales Tax For State Trooper Patrols

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Marta Jewson
/
The Lens
A Louisiana State Police vehicle in the French Quarter in January 2020.

Members of the New Orleans City Council on Thursday initiated the process to renew a quarter-percent sales tax in the French Quarter that has funded Louisiana State Police patrols in and around the French Quarter for the past five years. The council members were meeting as the governing authority of the French Quarter Economic Development District.

State troopers have been patrolling the city since 2014, when a shooting on Bourbon Street left one dead and nine injured. The following year, then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposed the tax as a permanent funding source to keep the State Police in the city. In October 2015, voters within the newly created French Quarter Economic Development District approved the tax. The state police have since set up a special troop — Troop N — that exclusively works to police the French Quarter.

That tax expires at the end of the year. And on Tuesday, the district announced its intention to call another election to renew the tax on Dec. 5. The tax brought in $3 million in 2019, according to local watchdog group the Bureau of Governmental Research.

The revenue from the tax, however, doesn’t have to go to State Police troopers. It only has to be used for public safety initiatives. City officials are now considering reallocating the funding from the State Police presence to the French Quarter Task Force — a patrol of off-duty NOPD officers that was originally created by local investor Sidney Torres.

Read more from The Lens.

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