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Statement of the Mid-City Security District on the Increase in Parcel Fees

On September 15, 2016, the Commissioners of the Mid-City Security District voted to increase the security district fees by 10 percent. For most Mid-City residential property owners, this means an increase in the annual fee from $200 to $220. This is the first increase in the fee in the district’s eight-year history.

The increase was made necessary by an increase in operating costs, specifically the cost of hiring New Orleans Police Department officers on an overtime basis to patrol on behalf of the MCSD. Every time NOPD officers receive a well-deserved increase in pay, the costs to MCSD go up 150 percent due to the overtime pay structure.

An event which occurred at the beginning of June, however, greatly drove up the cost of MCSD patrols. The MCSD has long questioned whether or not the rate at which it was being billed by City of New Orleans for patrol officer salaries was too low. Despite assurances from the City that the billings were correct, when the City switched to a new payroll management system, the billing was corrected, and the bi-weekly patrol costs suddenly jumped from an average of $30,500 to $51,800, a 70 percent increase. Needless to say, this increase was not in the budget for the balance of 2016.

When the MCSD was first created, delays between when the parcel fees were first collected and when the patrols were actually started (delays caused by the need to purchase patrol vehicles, ratify a cooperation agreement with the city, and other issues) caused the buildup of a sizable cash reserve. Over the years, this reserve allowed an increase in expenditures on patrols and the purchase of additional patrol vehicles, and eliminated the need increase parcel fees despite increased costs.

With the sudden increase in the billings from the City, the remaining cash reserve is not sufficient to cover the cost of maintaining patrol levels at their current levels through 2017. The Commissioners of the MCSD, therefore, were left with two choices – curtail the patrol hours or increase the parcel fees on residents and businesses. The Board chose to combine the two approaches:

  • First, it approved a decrease in patrol hours, but managed in such a way as to minimize the negative impacts on the safety of Mid-City residents. The Board of the MCSD remains committed to having patrols on the streets 24-hours a day, but the number of those patrol officers at any one time may be reduced during certain periods.
  • Second, the Board voted to increase the parcel fees by 10 percent for 2017. This results in the fee for residential property owners increasing from $200 to $220, for business properties from $300 to $330, and for residential properties with an age freeze in place for property taxes from $100 to $110. These fees are still below the statutory maximums of $250 for residential properties and $350 for commercial properties.
  • In addition, the Board will continue to work with the Assessor and the City to maximize compliance and property classification of residential and commercial parcels.

The MCSD operates on a very lean budget. Of the roughly $1,050,000 budgetted for 2017, only about $50,000 is spent on accounting, audit, legal and insurance services required for a state governmental entity, along with the cost of street lights on certain high-risk areas, lights that have proven effective in reducing crime in those areas. The rest is spent on patrol officer salaries and vehicles. The patrol vehicles suffer significant wear and tear being driven thousands of miles on Mid-City’s streets. The MCSD Commissioners are all unpaid volunteers.

mlukeStatement of the Mid-City Security District on the Increase in Parcel Fees
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Meeting Agenda, 9-15-16

Mid-City Security District
Board Meeting Agenda
September 15, 2016 – 6:30 – 7:20 PM
First NBC Bank
4011 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119

Announcements: 5 Minutes
Quorum Present – Call to order
Welcome Visitors
Roll Call
Review/Approve Minutes of August, 2016 Meeting

Reports: 10 Minutes
MCSD Crime Trends – Sgt Palumbo

Old Business: Deferred to October Meeting

New Business: 30 Minutes
2017 Budget

Public Comments: 5 Minutes
MCNO Rep
Guests

Announce: 5 Minutes
1st and 3rd NONPACC 10/18/16 at 6:00 PM
MCSD meeting 10/20/16 at 6:30 PM
Adjourn Public Meeting 7:20

mlukeMeeting Agenda, 9-15-16
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Meeting Minutes, 5-19-2016

Mid-City Security District
Board Meeting Agenda
May 19, 2016 – 6:30 – 7:15 PM
First NBC Bank
4011 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119

Board Members Present
Jim Olsen
Jay Brinkmann
Harley Winer
Mike Riehlmann
Ben Misko

Guests Present
Jason Villemarette
Sam Palumbo
Topher Balfour

6:30 – start of meeting. A quorum was present.

A motion to approve the minutes from the April meeting was made, seconded and approved.

Crime Report – Sgt. Palumbo gave the monthly report and answered questions put to him by Board members and guests. Sgt. Palumbo explained that April 2016 was statistically improved from April 2015.

  • April Arrest Tally: 21
  • State Felony: 0
  • State Misdemeanor: 4
  • Municipal: 1
  • Traffic: 1
  • Summons: 1
  • Juvenile Felony: 0
  • Juvenile Misdemeanor:
  • Citations: 58

Financial Status Report: The monthly Cash Transactions Statement was distributed and discussion was had as to the District’s financial state. Jim Olsen reported that the MCSD carried a balance of slightly more than $1,000,000 in its account as a result of recent payments from the City of New Orleans and that will enable the MCSD to increase patrols.

MCSD Vehicle Report: Jim Olsen reported that the new vehicles are lacking just two pieces of equipment before they will be ready for deployment.

Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office Review: Michael Riehlmann reported that he has continued his comparison of the Assessor’s Office website records to the list of properties the Board compiled and that many of the properties in question now bear the correct classification. His review will continue.

Website Update: Jay Brinkmann reported that the recently hired IT expert is in the process of updating and improving the website.

Security Light Review: Jim Olsen reported that Entergy is to repair one of the security lights that has gone out.

MCNO Representative Report: Brad Cousins reported to the Board and guests that the MCNO is now attempting to get MCSD residents to lease security cameras to install on homes and face to the street. To date, 22 grants have been completed and 11 more are in the process. A motion to provide MCSD grants to assist in the lease program was made, seconded and approved.

Report on Crime Reporting App: Jim Olsen deferred further discussion of the FQTF app until Bob Sims and two other speakers can appear and share their views. It is hoped that this will occur at the June meeting.

Surveillance Camera Lease Program Proposal: Jim Olsen reported that he discussed the proposed MCSD involvement with the MCNO surveillance camera lease program with the Board’s attorneys. Upon their advice, the Board will delay its participation until additional information is gathered.

Ratification of IT Contract: A motion was made, seconded and approved to ratify the contract of employment for a computer expert to improve the Board’s website.

Public Comments: Guest Jason Villemarette voiced concerns about suspicious individuals he has observed. The information will be relayed to Sgt. Palumbo.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and approved and the meeting was concluded.

CERTIFICATE

As Secretary of the Mid-Security District, I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the minutes duly and legally adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Mid-City Security District, after due notice, and that said minutes have not been rescinded, modified or recalled and are in full force and effect.

mlukeMeeting Minutes, 5-19-2016
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Meeting Minutes, 4-21-2016

Mid-City Security District
Regular Meeting Minutes
April 21, 2016
First NBC
4011 Canal Street
New Orleans, La. 70119

Board Members Present
Jim Olsen
Jay Brinkmann
Harley Winer
Mike Riehlmann

Guests Present
Joe Laura
Jason Villemarette
Sidney Torrez
William Rafferty
Brad Cousins
Sam Palumbo
Becker Rutledge

6:30 – start of meeting. A quorum was present.

All Board Members and guests introduced themselves.

A motion to approve the minutes from the March meeting was made, seconded and approved.

Crime Report – Sgt. Palumbo gave the monthly report and answered questions put to him by Board members and guests. Specifically, Sgt. Palumbo answered questions about the possible use of certain auto-theft devices.

  • March Arrest Tally: 21
  • State Felony: 1
  • State Misdemeanor: 9
  • Municipal: 2
  • Traffic: 1
  • Summons: 7
  • Juvenile Felony: 0
  • Juvenile Misdemeanor: 1
  • Citations: 99

Financial Status Report: The monthly Cash Transactions Statement was distributed and discussion was had as to the District’s financial state. Additionally, Becker Rutledge reported on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities & Equity, as well as the Statement of Revenues & Expenses.

MCSD Vehicle Report: Jim Olsen reported that recent additions to the MCSD fleet of vehicles are being kitted out and should be available in the very near future.

Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office Review: Michael Riehlmann reported that since the correspondence with Mr. Williams’s office about undercharging certain parcels, an analysis of the Assessor’s Office online records reveals that many of the parcels in question now bear the correct classification.

Website Update: Jay Brinkmann reported that he will hire an individual in the near future to update and improve the website.

Security Light Review: Jim Olsen reported that Entergy is to repair one of the security lights that has gone out.

MCNO Representative Report: Brad Cousins reported to the Board and guests that the MCNO is now attempting to get MCSD residents to lease security cameras to install on homes and face to the street. To date, 22 grants have been completed and 11 more are in the process. A motion to provide MCSD grants to assist in the lease program was made, seconded and
approved.

Report on Crime Reporting App: Mr. Sidney Torrez and Jason Villemarette explained to the Board and guests the computer and smartphone app that he designed and put into use in the French Quarter. He indicated that the Downtown Development District will soon be using the app as well. The Board and guests posed questions to Mr. Torrez and Mr. Villemarette.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and approved and the meeting was concluded.

CERTIFICATE

As Secretary of the Mid-Security District, I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the minutes duly and legally adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Mid-City Security District, after due notice, and that said minutes have not been rescinded, modified or recalled and are in full force and effect.

WITNESS my signature this ________ day of _________________, 201____.
________________________
Michael G. Riehlmann

mlukeMeeting Minutes, 4-21-2016
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Meeting Minutes, 2-18-2016

Mid-City Security District
Regular Meeting Minutes
February 18, 2016
First NBC
4011 Canal Street
New Orleans, La. 70119

Board Members Present
Jim Olsen
Jay Brinkmann
Ben Misko
Harley Winer
Mike Riehlmann

Guests Present
Alicia Serrano
Patrick Armstrong
Julie Posner
David Hand

6:30 – start of meeting. A quorum was present.

A motion to approve the minutes from the January 2016 meeting was made, seconded and approved.

Crime Report: Sgt. Palumbo gave the monthly report and answered questions put to him by Board members and guests.

In January, there were 17 reported crimes in the district for crimes against the person and 29 reported crimes against property. For comparison’s sake, in January of 2015, there were nine person crimes and 51 property crimes.

  • January Arrest Tally: 9
  • State Felony: 1
  • State Misdemeanor: 6
  • Municipal: 0
  • Traffic: 1
  • Summons: 1
  • Juvenile Felony: 0
  • Juvenile Misdemeanor: 0
  • Citations: 38

Financial Status Report: The monthly Cash Transactions Statement was distributed and discussion was had as to the District’s financial state. There is currently a cash on hand balance of approximately $585,000.

Purchase of New Vehicles: Jim Olsen informed the members that the Silverado to be used by Sgt. Palumbo has been delivered and that the new
Tahoe is to delivered by early March.

Letter to Director of Finance Re: Undercharging Certain Parcels: Michael Riehlmann reported on the status of the Board’s efforts to get certain parcels within the district correctly labeled for MCSD fee purposes.

Website Update: Jay Brinkmann reported on the current state of the commission’s website and the plan to include the recently compiled FAQs
on the site.

FAQ Draft: A draft of the FAQs for the website was circulated and approved by the members.

ALPR Transfer: The Automated License Plate Reader will be transferred to a newer car in the fleet as previously discussed. John Thomas of NOPD will attempt to transfer the machine and have CNO pay the costs.

State of the District Address: Jim Olsen advised Board members of the date he will address the MCNO regarding the state of the MCSD and asked all members to attend.

First NOPD District NONPAC Meeting: Jim Olsen reported on the recent 1st Dist. NONPAC meeting and that there has been an increase in robberies in Zones L and M. Discussion was had about efforts to have additional surveillance cameras installed in that area.

Operation Clean Sweep: Additional discussion was had concerning whether the Board will participate in funding OCS operations. The matter was tabled until next month when the Board hopes to have a proposed contract to review.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and approved and the meeting was concluded.

CERTIFICATE

As Secretary of the Mid-Security District, I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the minutes duly and legally adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Mid-City Security District, after due notice, and that said minutes have not been rescinded, modified or recalled and are in full force and effect.

WITNESS my signature this ________ day of _________________,201____.
________________________
Michael G. Riehlmann

mlukeMeeting Minutes, 2-18-2016
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Meeting Minutes, 1-21-2016

Mid-City Security District
Regular Meeting Minutes
January 21, 2016
First NBC
4011 Canal Street
New Orleans, La. 70119

Board Members Present
Jim Olsen
Jay Brinkmann
Ben Misko
Harley Winer
Mike Riehlmann

Guests Present
Alicia Serrano
Patrick Armstrong
Julie Posner
Megan Garhan

6:30 – start of meeting. A quorum was present.

A motion to approve the minutes from the November 2015 meeting was made, seconded and approved.

Elections for Board Executive Committee: The presently serving Chair, Jim Olsen, Vice-Chair, Ben Misko, and Secretary-Treasurer, Mike Riehlmann
were re-nominated and approved after a vote of the Board.

 Financial Status Report: Becker Rutledge delivered a report indicating that the commission essentially broke even in 2015 and there is currently a
reserve of approximately $600,000.

Crime Report – Jim Olsen gave the monthly report and answered questions put to him by Board members and guests.

  • December Arrest Tally: 14
  • State Felony: 0
  • State Misdemeanor: 6
  • Municipal: 2
  • Traffic: 4
  • Summons: 2
  • Juvenile Felony: 0
  • Juvenile Misdemeanor: 0
  • Citations: 71
  • 2015 Calls for Service: 30,660
  • Residential Checks: 4,183
  • Business Checks: 15,718
  • Traffic Citations: 885
  • Traffic Warnings: 1,052

Purchase of Chevrolet Tahoe: Jim Olsen informed the members that the Tahoe is expected to be delivered by the end of February 2016.

Cellphone for Escort Service: After a vote of the Board and for the reasons discussed, the cellphone for escort service was discontinued.

Website Update: Jay Brinkmann agreed to review current state of the commission’s website and deliver a report at the next meeting.

Letter to Director of Finance Re: Undercharging Certain Parcels: Michael Riehlmann circulated a draft of a letter to the Director of Finance for CNO asking for a meeting regarding parcel fees. The letter was approved and will be sent out forthwith.

Inclusion of Condos in Fee Collections: Jim Olsen explained that the commission’s attorneys opined that condominium owners can be made to
pay the parcel fee to assist in funding the commission’s operations.

MCNO Camera Program: It was reported that the MCNO has seen to it that 17 new cameras have been installed and that there is another $3000 in the bank awaiting applicants.

Commission Contracts: Renewal of contracts between the MCSD and Eye Want Media, Becker Ruthledge and Adams and Reese was proposed and
approved by vote of the Board.

Safe on Our Streets Meeting: A report was delivered by guest Patrick Armstrong on the Safe on Our Streets group and its upcoming meeting.

Hood Ford Refund: Jim Olsen reported that he would inquire about the possibility of additional refunds for Hood Ford overcharges.

Public Comments: Patrick Armstrong discussed the website of the Lakeview Crime Prevention District and its user-friendliness.
Julie Posner posed questions to the Board concerning the possibility of mass-texting crime alerts and the issue will be researched and discussed at a
future meeting.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and approved and the meeting was concluded.

CERTIFICATE

As Secretary of the Mid-Security District, I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the minutes duly and legally adopted by the
Board of Commissioners of the Mid-City Security District, after due notice, and that said minutes have not been rescinded, modified or recalled and are in full force and effect.

WITNESS my signature this ________ day of _________________, 201____.

________________________
Michael G. Riehlmann

mlukeMeeting Minutes, 1-21-2016
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