2014 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 33 - Municipalities and Parishes
RS 33:2740.54 - Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development District
§2740.54. Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development District
A.(1) There is hereby created within Orleans Parish the Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development District, also referred to in this Section as the "district". The district shall be a special district and political subdivision of the state created to plan and facilitate the revitalization of the residential and commercial areas within the district.
(2) The district shall include the area within the following boundaries: the western boundary will be the Industrial Canal, the eastern boundary will be the St. Bernard Parish line, the northern boundary will be the Intracoastal Waterway, and the southern boundary will be the Mississippi River.
B.(1) The district shall be governed by a nine-member board of commissioners. The members shall be appointed as follows:
(a) One member of the board shall be appointed by the senator representing the second senatorial district.
(b) One member of the board shall be appointed by the state representative representing the ninety-ninth representative district.
(c) One member of the board shall be appointed by the mayor of the city of New Orleans.
(d) One member of the board shall be appointed by the New Orleans city council member representing Council District E.
(e) Four members of the board shall be appointed by the Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development Foundation.
(f) One member shall be appointed by the Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Council.
(2) Each commissioner shall be a qualified voter of Orleans Parish and shall have their principal place of business or profession in, or own property in, the district.
(3) Except for initial terms, a commissioner's term shall be two years and serve at the pleasure of the elected official, foundation, or council that appointed them.
(4) Any vacancy during an unexpired term shall be filled in the manner of the original appointment for the remainder of the term.
C.(1) As soon as practical after its appointment, the board shall meet and elect from its number a chairman, vice chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer, and such other officers as it may deem appropriate.
(2) The duties of the officers shall be fixed by bylaws adopted by the board. It shall hold regular meetings as shall be provided in the bylaws and may hold special meetings at such time and places within or without the district as may be prescribed in the bylaws.
(3) The minute books and archives of the board shall be maintained by the board's secretary.
(4) A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The board shall keep minutes of all meetings and shall make them available to the public in conformance with law.
(5) The members of the board shall serve without compensation; however, they may receive a travel allowance as reimbursement for expenses incurred while attending to the business of the board or the district.
D.(1) The board shall prepare or cause to be prepared a plan or plans, hereafter in this Section referred to as a "development plan", specifying the public improvements, facilities, and services proposed to be furnished, constructed, or acquired for the district. The board may conduct hearings, publish notice, and disseminate information with respect to the development plan.
(2) Any development plan may specify and encompass any public services, capital improvements, and facilities which the Orleans Parish governing authority is authorized to undertake, furnish, or provide under the constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, and such specified public services, improvements, and facilities shall be special and in addition to all services, improvements, and facilities which the Orleans Parish governing authority is furnishing or providing or may be obligated to furnish or provide within the district.
(3) Any development plan shall include:
(a) An estimate of the annual and total cost of acquiring, constructing, or providing the services, improvements, or facilities set forth therein.
(b) An estimate of the total number of mills required to be levied each year on the taxable real property within the district in order to provide the funds required for the implementation of the development plan.
(c) The proportion of the tax to be levied on the taxable real property within the district which is to be set aside and dedicated to paying the cost of furnishing specified services and the proportion of such tax to be set aside and dedicated to paying the cost of capital improvements or paying the cost of debt service on any bonds to be issued to pay the cost of capital improvements, such proportions, in each case, to be expressed in numbers of mills.
(4) The board shall submit the development plan to the Orleans Parish Planning Commission. The planning commission shall review the development plan and determine if it is consistent with the comprehensive plan for Orleans Parish. The planning commission, within thirty days following receipt of the plan, shall submit to the city council its written opinion as to whether or not the development plan or any portion or detail thereof is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan for Orleans Parish and its written comments and recommendations regarding approval of the development plan.
(5)(a) The city council shall review and consider the development plan and the planning commission's comments and recommendations. It may, by a majority vote of all its members, adopt the plan as originally submitted or alter or modify the plan or any portion or detail thereof.
(b) If the development plan as originally submitted by the board is adopted, it shall become final and conclusive and may thereafter be implemented. If the council alters or modifies the development plan, it shall submit the altered or modified plan to the board for its concurrence or rejection.
(c) The board may concur in the modified development plan by a majority vote of all of its members. If the board votes to concur in the modified development plan, the plan shall become final and conclusive and may thereafter be implemented. If the board does not concur in the modified development plan, it shall notify the city council in writing of its decision, and any subsequent submission of a development plan shall be in accordance with procedures established in this Subsection for the original submission.
(d) Thereafter, the board may prepare or cause to be prepared modifications to the development plan or plans and submit them to the planning commission in accordance with the same procedure prescribed for adoption of the original plan. The planning commission shall submit the proposed modifications and its written comments and recommendations to the city council for its adoption, modification, or rejection in the manner and with the same effect as provided with respect to the original development plan.
E.(1) All services to be furnished within the district pursuant to any development plan finally and conclusively adopted may be furnished, supplied, and administered by Orleans Parish through its regularly constituted departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and instrumentalities. All capital improvements and facilities to be acquired, constructed, or provided within the district may likewise be acquired, constructed, or provided by Orleans Parish through its regularly constituted departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and instrumentalities, it being the intention of this Paragraph to avoid duplication of administrative and management efforts and expense in the implementation of the development plan.
(2) In order to provide services or provide, construct, or acquire capital improvements or facilities, the board may enter into intergovernmental local service contracts with Orleans Parish.
F.(1) The district, as a special district and political subdivision of the state, may levy and collect special ad valorem taxes as provided in this Subsection. Any such tax shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as all other ad valorem taxes levied in Orleans Parish are collected.
(2)(a) After a development plan has been finally adopted, the governing authority of the district may levy an ad valorem tax on commercial property within the district at a rate sufficient to fund the activities and expenses provided for therein. The tax shall be levied for a term not to exceed twenty-five years. The proceeds of the tax shall be used exclusively for the purposes and benefit of the district in accordance with the plan or plans.
(b) No tax authorized by this Subsection shall be levied until a proposition authorizing its levy and stating the rate and the duration of the tax has been submitted to the city council and such proposition has been approved by the city council. The tax shall be imposed only after the question of its imposition has been approved by a majority of the registered voters of the district voting on the proposition at an election held for that purpose in accordance with the Louisiana Election Code. The governing authority of the district may call such election subject to approval of the State Bond Commission and the city council.
(3) The avails of the taxes authorized by this Subsection shall be paid over by the tax collector to the Orleans Parish finance department, day by day as they are collected, and deposited to a special account established for the district.
(4) It is expressly declared that the special taxes authorized by this Subsection are limited to immovable property, and nothing contained in this Section shall be construed to authorize the levying of a tax upon movable property of any kind or description whatsoever, whether corporeal or incorporeal.
G.(1)(a) Subject to the provisions of this Subsection, the governing authority of the district may fund the avails of the tax authorized by Subsection F of this Section into bonds or other instruments of indebtedness for the exclusive benefit of the district. The principal of, the premium, if any, and interest on the bonds or other instruments of indebtedness shall be payable solely from the proceeds of such tax. The bonds shall not constitute general obligations of the city, the parish, the district, or the state of Louisiana. The outstanding principal amount shall never exceed twenty million dollars and shall not exceed the principal amount which may be serviced in principal and interest from seventy-five percent of the avails estimated to be available in the first and each succeeding year that there are outstanding bonds. The bonds shall bear such rate or rates of interest and, except as otherwise provided by this Subsection, shall be in such form, terms, and denominations, and be redeemable at such times and places, within a period of not exceeding twenty-five years from the date thereof, as may be provided for in the district's resolution providing for their issuance.
(b) Bonds issued under the provisions of this Section do not constitute or create an obligation, either general or special, debt, liability, or moral obligation of the city of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, or the state of Louisiana within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory provision whatsoever. The bonds shall be obligations of the district only, payable solely from the revenues pledged therefor as provided in Subparagraph (1)(a) of this Subsection. In no event will bonds issued under this Section constitute or give rise to pecuniary liability of the city of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, or the state of Louisiana, nor will the district have the power to pledge the general credit or taxing power of the city of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, or the state of Louisiana for the payment of such bonds. Neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the city of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, or the state of Louisiana is pledged for payment of bonds issued under this Section. All bonds issued under this Section shall contain a statement on their face substantially to the effect that neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the city of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, or the state of Louisiana, is pledged to the payment of the principal or the interest on such bonds.
(2) The bonds shall be signed by the chairman of the district governing authority and attested by the district's treasurer or secretary; however, in the discretion of the district, one of the signatures may be in facsimile. If any officer whose signature appears upon a bond or coupon ceases to be an officer before delivery of the bonds or coupons to the purchaser, his signature or countersignature shall nevertheless be valid for all purposes.
(3)(a) The resolution of the district authorizing the issuance and sale of such bonds and fixing the form and details thereof may contain such other provisions as the district may deem to be necessary or advisable to enhance the marketability and acceptability thereof by purchasers and investors, including but not limited to covenants with bondholders setting forth:
(i) Conditions and limitations on the issuance of additional bonds constituting a lien and charge on the avails of the special tax levied on real property within the district pari passu with bonds theretofore issued and outstanding.
(ii) The creation of reserves for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds.
(b) The bonds and the interest thereon shall be exempt from all taxation levied for state or parish, municipal, or other local purposes.
(c) Savings banks, tutors of minors, curators of interdicts, trustees, and other fiduciaries are authorized to invest the funds in their hands in the bonds issued pursuant to this Subsection.
H. The governing authority of the district shall have the following additional powers and duties:
(1) To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business.
(2) To adopt an official seal and alter the seal at its pleasure.
(3) To maintain an office at such place as it may designate and for such purposes to occupy space as may be made available by the Orleans Parish governing authority.
(4) To sue and to be sued.
(5) To receive, administer, and comply with the conditions and requirements respecting any gift, grant, guarantee, subsidy, or donation of any property or money.
(6) To acquire, by any lawful means, property, including rights of way, and to hold and use any franchise or property, whether real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, necessary or desirable for carrying out the objects and purposes of the district.
(7) To borrow money and issue bonds or obligations of the district in the manner provided by this Section and to refund the same.
(8) To make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary in the exercise of the powers and functions of the district.
(9) To pledge or assign any monies, fees, charges, or other revenues and any proceeds derived by the district from the sale of bonds and other contracts or rights of the district.
(10) Subject to limitations otherwise provided by this Section, to employ such employees, to make use of such persons as the Orleans Parish governing authority may make available to the district for its use, and to employ or otherwise retain the services of accountants, financial advisors, underwriters, attorneys, engineers, and other consultants as may be determined by the Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development District, in the judgment of the Lower Ninth Ward Economic Development District commissioner's governing authority,1 and to fix and pay their compensation.
(11) To exercise any and all other powers necessary to accomplish the purposes set forth in this Section.
Acts 2002, No. 45, §1.
1As appears in enrolled bill.
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