April 9, 2016: Two Millages will be on the ballot for voter consideration
Get the Facts about the Public Safety Millage
The public safety millage includes 5 mills dedicated for police and 2.5 mills dedicated for fire protection. The mills are dedicated and are not subject to the homestead exemption. Proceeds from the millage are needed to hire and pay for additional police officers to reduce crime and response times and pay firefighters what they are owed as part of the pension settlement announced last year.
Why Do We Need This?
Public safety is our top priority.
The City has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, fueled by a growing population, rising property values, and substantially increased sales tax from new retail establishments. That growth has been prioritized to public safety. We’re spending tens of millions more each year on NOPD, NOFD and the Sheriff. Unfortunately, that growth is starting to level off in 2016 and is expected to slow in 2017.
How Much Will it Cost Me?
What Does This Pay For?
Police and fire protection for the City of New Orleans.
Funds raised from the 5 mills for police in the public safety millage will be dedicated solely to hiring and paying for additional police officers so we can grow to 1600 officers. The 2.5 mills in the public safety millage for fire protection will pay firefighters what they are owed, including fully funding the pension as part of an agreement with the firefighters union on the decades long firefighters back pay lawsuit and pension lawsuit announced in October 2015.
Five Year Plan
In order to reach a police force size of 1600 within five years, NOPD must be able to add a net of 90 officers per year. With attrition this means that 185 new officers must be hired each year from 2017-2020 to reach this goal by the end of 2020.
Get the Facts About the Streets Millage
What Will It Do?
How Much Will it Cost Me?
What Street Projects Will This Pay For?
Roadway Capital Improvements will fall into the following four broad categories.
The public safety millage includes 5 mills dedicated for police and 2.5 mills dedicated for fire protection. The mills are dedicated and not subject to the homestead exemption. Proceeds from the millage are needed to hire and pay for additional police officers to reduce crime and response times and to pay firefighters what they are owed as part of the pension settlement reached last year. In November of 2014, voters in Orleans Parish and statewide passed a Constitutional amendment allowing the tax to be placed on the ballot, raising the special millage caps for police and fire protection from 5 to 10 mills. To place the public safety millage on the ballot for April 9, the City Council must pass a resolution tomorrow, Jan. 7 at its regular meeting. The public safety millage, if passed, has a 12-year sunset period that would begin on Jan. 1, 2017, and continue through Dec. 31, 2028.
“Public safety is our top priority,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We must hire and train a larger, more professional police force that will give us the tools required to reduce violent crime, reduce response times and provide our residents with the security we all deserve. These funds are needed to continue to recruit and hire aggressively over the next several years so that we can reach our department goal of 1,600 officers. We also must honor our commitment to our firefighters. These people put their lives on the line to save others, and we must honor the commitment that our city made.”
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, “This public safety millage is critical to building a Police Department and Fire Department that our citizens deserve and need. We all agree that we need more boots on the ground to protect public safety and our citizens. And the City and NOPD have done a tremendous job in bringing recruitment and retention back into positive territory in 2015. But without this millage, the City will not have enough funds available to continue to hire new police officers beyond 2016.”
Nick Felton, President of New Orleans Fire Fighters Association, Local 632, said, “New Orleans Firefighters are committed to serving this city and making public safety our number one priority. We truly appreciate the continued support we receive from the people of New Orleans. A vote for this millage is a vote to improve public safety. A vote for better fire protection. A vote for better police protection. A vote for a safer city.”
David A. Kerstein, Chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region, said, “The Business Council has worked extensively with the administration, City Council, and police and firefighters to address budget challenges impacting the city’s ability to provide essential public safety services, including spearheading the resolution of the long-running dispute over management and solvency of the New Orleans Firefighters Pension & Relief Fund. Additionally, along with the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, we have played an integral role in streamlining and enhancing efforts to recruit and retain NOPD officers. Our work has led us to conclude that the proposed increases in the police and fire millages are necessary to keep our city moving forward.”
The 5 mills dedicated to the police are expected to generate $17.7 million. The 2.5 mills dedicated to fire are expected to generate $8.9 million.
The 2.5 mills in the public safety millage for fire protection will pay firefighters what they are owed, including fully funding the pension as part of an agreement with the firefighters union on the decades-long firefighters back pay lawsuit and pension lawsuit announced in October 2015. The settlement resolves these significant liabilities, keeps the city on a positive fiscal track, makes major reforms to the pension and ensures that it will be there for future generations of firefighters. The settlement included major structural reforms that will indeed help to fix the broken pension system and effectively save taxpayers $200 to $300 million over the next 30 years.
Public Safety Millage will be on the ballot this Saturday, April 9, 2016
Proposed Ballot Language for Public Safety Millage:
“Shall the New Orleans City Council be authorized to annually levy an increase in ad valorem taxes of a total of seven and one-half (7.5) mills as follows: (1) dedicated solely for recruiting, hiring, equipping and paying police officers for increased police protection, in the amount of and not exceeding five (5) mills on the dollar of assessed real property valuation throughout the city and (2) dedicated solely for fire protection in the amount of and not exceeding two and one-half (2.5) mills on the dollar of assessed real property valuation throughout the city, for twelve (12) years, beginning January 1, 2017 and ending December 31, 2028, (an estimated $17.7 million reasonably expected to be collected at this time for an entire year as a result of the 5 mills increase for police protection and an estimated $8.9 million reasonably expected to be collected at this time for an entire year as a result of the 2.5 mills increase for fire protection), in accordance with Article VI, Section 26(E) of the Louisiana Constitution?”
Public Safety Millage’s Cost to Homeowners
This 7.5 public safety millage is not subject to the homestead exemption. According to the Census Bureau, median value of owner-occupied housing in Orleans Parish is approximately $183,700. If this millage is approved, an owner of an $183,700 home will pay $138 more in property taxes annually, or approximately $11.50 more per month.
· If passed, the owner of a $150,000 home will pay $113 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $200,000 home will pay $150 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $250,000 home will pay $188 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $300,000 home will pay $ 225 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $350,000 home will pay $263 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $400,000 home will pay $300 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $450,000 home will pay $338 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $500,000 home will pay $375 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $750,000 home will pay $563 more annually.
· If passed, the owner of a $1,000,000 home will pay $750 more annually.
In recent years, the NOPD has kicked off an unprecedented recruitment effort to grow the size of NOPD to reduce crime and improve response times. The department has a plan to grow to 1,600 officers. For the first time in several years, the NOPD is hiring more officers than it has lost through attrition by the end of the year. Four recruit classes were launched in 2015, bringing the total to eight classes since 2010. At the current rate, significant new funding will be needed to continue to hire new officers starting with the 2017 budget. Funds raised from the 5 mills for police in the public safety millage will be dedicated solely to recruiting, hiring, equipping and paying for additional police officers.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the last of three pay raises went into effect, boosting the pay for officers of all rank. In total, when compounded, the Landrieu Administration has increased police salaries by 15.8 percent since taking office in 2010, which means a police officer making $45,000 in 2010 will be making $52,093 in 2016.
Since Mayor Landrieu took office in May 2010, more than $41 million has been dedicated to rebuild and improve NOPD facilities, including new 5th and 7th District stations. In addition, the City has fully funded the five-year, $55 million consent decree for better training, equipment and police. To better equip NOPD officers, the City has purchased 628 body worn cameras, 450 new police cars and 50 motorcycles.
FIREFIGHTERS PENSION AGREEMENT
In October 2015, the City of New Orleans reached an agreement with the Firefighters Union on the decades-long firefighters back pay lawsuit and pension lawsuit. The settlement resolved these significant liabilities, keeping the city on a positive fiscal track, making major reforms to the pension and ensuring that it will be there for future generations of firefighters.
The $75 million settlement required an upfront payment of $15 million for the outstanding back pay, with the balance paid over 13 years. The City’s potential liability of more than $200 million is satisfied under the terms of the settlement, and its ability to deliver essential services to residents, such as police, fire, EMS, street repairs and parks and recreation will not be threatened.
The settlement includes major structural reforms that will indeed help to fix the broken pension system and effectively save taxpayers $200 to $300 million over the next 30 years. Under the terms of the settlement, the City will be allowed to satisfy the $21 million that it owes the pension fund by making its annual contribution to the fund.