NEW ORLEANS– Your safety in the French Quarter could be in jeopardy because the City of New Orleans and the French Quarter Management District are battling it out over money and who has control over the supplemental patrols in the Quarter, which have now stopped.
“Right now we are in the middle of a crisis, the middle of a situation where the French Quarter Management District said they’d keep a task force going but they don’t have the money to fund it,” Joshua Cox, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Mayor’s Office said.
The City says the French Quarter Management District mismanaged funds and they were supposed to run the patrol program through March. Now the City wants to take control of the patrols, but FQMD doesn’t agree.
“This is a successful program that has a track record with NOPD and is popular with residents. We missed our target date by two weeks, and we’re disappointed about that, but we had some unforseen costs and that’s why we are coming up short,” Christian Pendleton with the French Quarter Management District said.
The FQMD until now says they’ve been successfully providing safety for six years.
“It has been completely transparent both operationally and financially,” he said.
A portion of the funding for the patrols comes from the “Quarter for the Quarter” sales tax, which the city won’t release.
“They want the ‘Quarter for the Quarter’ sales tax money to go to them for them to manage a patrol that we’ve seen they’ve mismanaged,” Cox said.
FQMD says the city should release the funds to them.
“These were tax dollars that legally have to be spent on public safety in the French Quarter,” Pendleton said.
What it is really costing is public safety.
“The city has so much on its plate right now. I don’t understand why they’d choose to reinvent the wheel. Everyone is a loser right now. The French Quarter is less safe today because the city continues to play football with this money,” Pendleton said.
“We are now in a position under short notice, where the city is working with Councilwoman Palmer with funds from a reserve trust fund, so we can keep these patrols running efficiently and effectively,” Cox said.