Hospitality District LA SB 573 amended, but not improved.

(Credit: Jason B. Berry)

Committee Amendments to LA SB 573 are now available and in active consideration. These amendments apparently reflect a proposal that was circulated at the end of last week.

The French Quarter Management District (FQMD) is an existing legislative district encompassing the historic Vieux Carré  boundaries (Canal St. to N. Rampart St. to Esplanade Avenue to the Mississippi River to Canal St.), as well as both riverside and lakeside of N. Rampart Street from Canal St. to Esplanade Avenue. This amendment would direct the non-PR/tourism marketing revenues collected from within the FQMD’s boundaries to the FQMD.

FQMD will not be able to use any funding from the 1.75% hotel tax, .245 food & beverage tax, or overnight hotel parking tax on administrative overhead.  All of those revenues must be spent on sanitation, maintenance, enforcement, etc.

The impact of these changes:

• There would be no new “superboard.”

• The  FQMD and New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation would jointly govern the Hospitality District.

• A quorum of both boards would be required for all hospitality zone management actions, and both boards must jointly pass any resolutions/motions.

In other words, both boards keep their normal structure but, if this legislation is passed, both boards will be required to work in tandem.

I believe at this time that the portion of the bill authorizing the Hospitality District to designate and control any property that it deems usable for hospitality/tourism still remains intact; further scrutiny will be required to confirm this. If so, the Hospitality District would still be empowered to acquire such property by “gift, grant, payment or otherwise.”

The boundaries of district (the management entity’s jurisdiction) would be city-wide.  The boundaries of hospitality zone (the geographical area) would now omit the Faubourg Tremé, the 7th Ward, and the Faubourg Marigny Triangle. While this may be welcomed by those previously-affected neighborhoods, it now pits those same neighborhoods/areas against the affected areas that remain within the revised boundaries of the hospitality zone (the French Quarter, the CBD, and the Warehouse District). Classic divide-and-conquer strategy, that.

Reportedly only the Landrieu Administration did not sign off on this proposal when it was previously circulated; it did not have the Mayor’s support.

The French Quarter Management District (formerly known as the French Quarter Marigny Historic Area Management District) was the legislatively-created entity behind the failed French Quarter Security District tax proposal of October 2010. (Since that time, a few of the board members have changed, and the boundaries were recently re-configured at the request to of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association such that the Marigny Triangle is no longer a part of this legislative district.)

In September 2010, I authored an Opposition Statement re: Proposed French Quarter Security District. I will be updating (recycling and cannibalizing) that document today to formally create an Opposition Statement re: Proposed New Orleans Entertainment and Hospitality District.

For more information, please see:

SB 573 Committee Amendments (dated 4/24/12)

Original version: LA SB 573 Creates the New Orleans Entertainment and Hospitality District

Stay tuned.

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4 thoughts on “Hospitality District LA SB 573 amended, but not improved.

  1. This just in from Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents, & Associates (VCPORA):

    Please join us for a community meeting to learn more about Senate Bill 573, which would establish a “Hospitality and Entertainment” Taxing Zone. The bill, introduced 10 weeks ago and un-amended despite numerous suggested changes, has dangerous implications for the neighborhoods that lie within “the zone.”

    We are hosting a community meeting on this issue on Monday May 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 1130 N. Rampart Street.

    There has been no public hearing on this bill, so Monday’s meeting will be the first (and maybe ONLY) chance for citizens to weigh in publicly on this very important issue!

    Please plan to attend and hear the latest proposal we know of by that time. We are attempting to get legislators and Council members, as well as members of the mayor’s administration, to attend.

    This has been a very complex, chaotic, and rushed exercise with no public hearing and very little community input. Your opinions need to be heard, and we are tremendously grateful to the citizens who gave of their time to join us at the legislature yesterday. Your presence made a difference! And over 40 of you who weren’t able to make the trip took the time to write thoughtful, respectful and intelligent letters to our legislators expressing concern and objection to the bills as written. Your emails definitely had an effect!

    THANK YOU!

    • A little insight – I recently was petitioning my local representatives concerning another matter. I mailed them a USPS letter to their Baton Rouge offices. When I didn’t hear back, I mailed another. One of them called me during the week after the second letter, and he told me that it is far more effective if you CALL your representative in Baton Rouge – he said they get thousands of e-mails on various topics, but a phone call is much more powerful plus the chances of you getting through after the beginning of the session is very good. It is also a good idea to voice your concern to the committee chair and co-chairs.

      Here are the phone numbers:
      House switchboard 225-342-6945
      Senate switchboard 225-342-2040

      I’ll make a call on your behalf as well – good luck!

      • Thank you, maringouin — I will make this information available in subsequent posts — your insights are very much appreciated.

        We will encourage both actions because the neighborhood groups are requesting to be cc’d on emails sent so that they may be printed and available for review at the next Local & Municipal Affairs Committee meeting. Ultimately the fate of this matter rests in the hands of that administrative body.

  2. Pingback: Neighborhood or Hospitality Zone? | American Tourism

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