33:2740.35     Economic development districts; creation, composition, and powers; preparation of plans; levy of ad valorem taxes and issuance of bonds

 A. (1) There shall be, and there hereby is, created a special taxing district within any municipality with a population of four hundred and seventy-five thousand or more persons comprised of the territory located within the boundary of Almonaster Avenue, one mile north of Hayne Boulevard/Lake Pontchartrain, the Industrial Canal, and the St. Tammany Orleans Parish line.

 (2) The special taxing district shall be known as, and is hereby designated "The New Orleans East Development District" hereinafter referred to as the "district", said creation to be effective January 1, 1998.

 B. The governing authority exercising the legislative powers of the city hereinafter referred to, collectively, as the "city council," shall have such power and control over, and responsibility for, the functions, affairs and administration of the district as are prescribed.

 C. In order to provide for the orderly planning, development, acquisition, construction, and effectuation of the services, improvements, and facilities to be furnished by the district, and to provide for the representation in the affairs of the district of those persons and interests immediately concerned with and affected by the purposes and development of the district, there is hereby created a board of commissioners for the district hereinafter referred to as the "board".

 D. (1) The board shall be composed of eleven members who shall have their principal place of business in or own property in the district. Such members shall be appointed as follows:

 (a) Three members shall be appointed by the New Orleans East Economic Development Foundation, or its successor.

 (b) Three members shall be appointed by the New Orleans East Business Association, or its successor.

 (c) Two members shall be appointed by the New Orleans and River Region Chamber of Commerce East Division, or its successor.

 (d) One member shall be appointed by All Congregations Together, New Orleans East Churches.

 (e) One member shall be appointed by the UNITE organization.

 (f) One member shall be appointed by the Louisiana Business League, New Orleans Metro Chapter.

 (2) The members of the board initially appointed shall be appointed as follows: three members for one year each, three members for two years each, three members for three years each, and two members for four years each, the length of the term for each individual appointed to be determined by lot. They shall serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified. The members of the board thereafter appointed upon the expiration of the respective terms of the initial appointees shall be selected and appointed in accordance with the procedures herein prescribed for the selection and appointment of the original members for the term of three years. However, vacancies shall be filled from nominations submitted by the nominating agencies and officials.

 (3) As soon as practicable after their appointment, the board shall meet and elect from their number a chairman, a vice chairman, a treasurer, and such other officers as it may deem appropriate. A secretary of the board may be selected from among the members or may be otherwise selected or employed by the board. The duties of the said officers shall be fixed by bylaws adopted by the board. The board shall adopt such rules and regulations as it deems necessary or advisable for conducting its business and affairs, and shall engage such assistants and employees as are needed to assist the board in the performance of its duties. It shall hold regular meetings as shall be provided by its bylaws and may hold special meetings at such time and places within or without the district as may be prescribed in its rules or regulations. A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The board shall keep minutes of all regular and special meetings and shall make them available to the public in conformance with law. The members of the board shall serve without compensation; however, they shall receive travel allowance as reimbursement for expenses incurred while attending to the business of the district.

 E. (1) The board shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a plan or plans, such plan or plans, and the plan provided for in Subsection F of this Section, being hereinafter referred to, collectively, as the "plan", specifying the public improvements, facilities, and services proposed to be furnished, constructed or acquired for the district, and it shall conduct such public hearings, publish such notice with respect thereto and disseminate such information as it in the exercise of its sound discretion may deem to be appropriate or advisable and in the public interest. Any plan prepared by the board shall include provisions for marketing the district as an area for economic development incentives, providing for security of persons and property in the district, and a plan for the general beautification of the district as a whole.

 (2) Any plan shall include an estimate of the annual and aggregate cost of providing the services, improvements, or facilities set forth therein.

 (3) The board shall also submit the plan to the planning commission of the city. The planning commission shall review and consider the plan in order to determine whether or not it is consistent with the comprehensive plan for the city, and shall within thirty days following receipt thereof submit to the city council its written opinion as to whether or not the plan or any portion or detail thereof is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan for the city, together with its written comments and recommendations with respect thereto.

 F. The city council, in addition to all other taxes which it is now or hereafter may be authorized by law to levy and collect, is hereby authorized to levy and collect as hereinafter specifically provided for a term not to exceed fifteen years from and after the date the first tax is levied pursuant to the provisions of this Section, in the same manner and at the same time as all other ad valorem taxes on property subject to taxation by the city are levied and collected, a special ad valorem tax upon all taxable commercial real property situated within the boundaries of the district. The number of mills hereby authorized shall not exceed ten mills. No such tax shall be levied until a plan requiring or requesting the levy of a tax is finally and conclusively adopted in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this Section. The proceeds of said tax shall be used solely and exclusively for the purposes and benefit of the district. Said proceeds shall be collected by the city of New Orleans and deposited in a separate account. Said tax proceeds shall be paid out by the city of New Orleans solely for the purposes herein provided upon warrants or drafts drawn on the district.

 G. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section to the contrary, no tax authorized herein shall be levied unless and until the maximum amount of the tax has been approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon in the district in an election called for that purpose.

 H. The district shall have the power to acquire, to lease, to insure, and to sell real property within its boundaries in accordance with its plans.

Added by Acts 1997, No. 1100, ยง1, eff. July 14, 1997.