NEW ORLEANS - Today, the New Orleans City Council released a report recommending a list of action items to generate additional dollars for City services without raising taxes. This report is based on months of work by the Ad Valorem and Dedicated Special Committee made up of all seven councilmembers in collaboration with the City's Chief Administrative Officer, the Cantrell Administration, stakeholders and public input.
The recommendations are as follows:
Determine feasibility of redistributing millage rates along with consolidating infrastructure-related millages up for renewal in the Fall of 2020;
Carefully craft a parcel fee for City services on non-profits exempt from property taxes;
Increase use of millions of dollars sitting in surpluses of special funds;
Work toward state legislation to redistribute slot machine proceeds from the New Orleans Fairgrounds;
Examine best revenue benefits of the Wisner Trust;
Eliminate duplicative efforts and increase efficiencies; and
Create oversight to verify property tax exemptions.
"As we face tremendous challenges in our city, we must explore all options to find funding and best utilize every dollar. The list of needs is lengthy: from our aging infrastructure to public safety to transportation to quality of life matters - and all deserve more resources," said Council President Helena Moreno. "There's more to do, but this report kicks off a long-overdue assessment to relieve some of the revenue burdens from New Orleanians. Over the past year of hearings, we've uncovered opportunities to build a more financially sustainable New Orleans. Hopefully, we can use this information as a roadmap to reform," said Council President Helena Moreno, who chairs the Committee.
"The Council's Special Ad Valorem and Dedicated Revenue Committee, created through the vision of Council President Helena Moreno, produced a host of recommendations to address the City's most pressing priorities such as identifying reoccurring streams of revenue, rededicating existing millages, and decreasing the tax burden on the public as we did with the adoption of the 2020 Budget," said Councilmember Jared C. Brossett. "It is critical that we stabilize the long-term financial integrity of the City while addressing critical infrastructure, public safety, stormwater management, and quality of life needs. To do that, in the future we must move away from the piecemeal tax dedications that currently form the foundation of the City's budget and move toward a comprehensive approach that ensures government resources are aligned with the needs and priorities of the citizenry. We are moving in that direction, and I look forward to working with Council President Moreno to implement these recommendations."
"This Council is honoring its commitment to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of smarter management of the City's financial health. It is extremely important that we take a surgical look at the way we have traditionally done things in our first 300 years so as to properly budget for the needs of 21st Century New Orleans. I commend the Ad Valorem Special Committee, in collaboration with the administration, for welcoming this undertaking and crafting a clear path to better governance," said Council Vice President Jason Williams.
"To better serve all New Orleanians, we have to refocus several City millages and surpluses, and also have non-profits contributing to the City's most critical needs," said District "A" Joe Giarrusso. "By doing this, we'll have less financial burden on taxpaying citizens yet increase funding for the City's most pressing quality-of-life issues."
To read the report in its entirety, click here.
To learn more about the Special Committee, click here.
Chief of Staff
Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno