State officials agreed Monday to put a tax renewal for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East Orleans Levee District on the Nov. 6 election ballot.
The approval by the state Bond Commission came after a compromise was reached with the Orleans District Division of Non-Flood Assets board.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Louisiana Legislature separated the functions of the Orleans Levee District to untangle flood protection from property management.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East Orleans Levee District now oversees flood control and hurricane protection operations. The Orleans District Division of Non-Flood Assets board is in charge of nonflood assets, including a marina and an airport.
At issue was whether the Orleans District Division of Non-Flood Assets board should receive a portion of the tax’s proceeds.
The 6.07 mills tax, which is expected to generate $15.4 million annually once the current tax expires in three years, originally was intended for the construction and maintenance of levees, levee drainage and flood protection.
Opponents balked, arguing the tax renewal was being rushed to the ballot to exclude the nonflood asset interests.
The state Bond Commission debated the issue earlier this month and set a special meeting to discuss the election.
In between Aug. 16 and Monday, a compromise was reached, resulting in a quick meeting.
Of the 6.07 mills, 5.46 mills would be spent on flood protection and 0.61 mills would be spent on nonflood assets.
Steve Estopinal, treasurer of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority, said the Orleans District Division of Non-Flood Assets will receive state capital outlay, or construction, dollars until the tax proceeds arrive.
State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, said the bond commission cannot ensure that capital outlay dollars are allocated.
State Treasurer John Kennedy said he suggested there is unspent capital outlay money in old accounts that could be used. He said he had not heard back from the Jindal administration about his suggestion.
Steven Procopio, an assistant commissioner with the Division of Administration, said there is a commitment to try to use excess funds.
“I know where they are,” Kennedy told him.
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