On Saturday (May 4) New Orleans voters approved a millage consolidating taxes for New Orleans parks and recreation organizations. This 20-year property tax changes the way previous taxes were split among two city agencies and two park operations, adding local tax revenue for City Park for the first time ever.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell applauded the move, saying, “The people of New Orleans made the right call. This millage vote is a huge win for our City and for our people.” According to Cantrell, the new distribution is more sustainable than the old model. “This is what it looks like when our people get the fair share,” the mayor said, “when we do more with the funds that are already available, and we find ways to make them work equitably for all our people.”
In the new millage distribution, NORD will receive 1.95 mills, an improvement from the previous 1.5 mills; Park sand Parkways will receive 1.8 mills, up from 1.5 mills; City Park will receive 0.61 mills for the first time ever, and Audubon Commission’s allocation is reduced to 1.95 mills from 3.31 mills.
Each mill represents $1 in tax for $1,000 in assessed property value to the city’s taxpayers.
“The additional resources will help NORD increase programming, develop new partnerships, and improve the maintenance of equipment and facilities,” said NORD CEO Larry Barabino, Jr. “The millage reallocation will ensure NORD is able to live up to its motto by providing ‘something for everyone’.”
While the millage reallocation had the support of the city’s agencies, park organizations, mayor Cantrell, and the city council, not everyone is happy with the vote. Opponents argued that Audubon still receives too much as a private organization when compared to city-operated agencies. Some residents argued they would rather have let the taxes currently levied for Audubon expire (they were set to do so in 2021 and 2022) and bring those up for a new vote.
Under the new master plan created by the City, the parks will work together to use the money they receive on joint projects including stormwater management, improving green infrastructure, and creating programs for the city’s children.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.