RS 33:4574.12     

§4574.12.  River Parishes Convention, Tourist, and Visitors District; commission

A.  There is hereby created the River Parishes Convention, Tourist, and Visitors District and its governing authority the River Parishes Convention, Tourist, and Visitors Commission, referred to in this Section as the "district" and the "commission" respectively.  The district shall be comprised of and the commission shall have jurisdiction within the parishes of  St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James.  The district shall be a political subdivision of the state as defined in Article VI, Section 44(2) of the Constitution of Louisiana.  The commission shall have as its purpose promotional efforts directed at attracting conventions, tourists, and visitors to the parishes.

B.(1)  The commission shall be composed of nine commissioners all of whom shall be members of the economic development commission in their respective parishes.  Three shall be appointed from each parish as follows:

(a)  The economic development commission shall appoint one commissioner.

(b)  The parish president shall appoint one commissioner.

(c)  The parish council shall appoint one commissioner.

(2)  All appointments shall be subject to Senate confirmation.

(3)  A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(4)  Three commissioners shall serve initial terms of one year, three shall serve two years, and three shall serve three years as determined by lot at the first meeting of the commission.  All subsequent terms shall be four years.

(5)  The commissioners so appointed shall elect from among themselves a chairman who shall serve as chairman for a term of one year.  In addition to the chairman, the commission shall elect from its membership a vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer who shall also serve one-year terms.  The office of secretary and treasurer may be combined if the commission so elects.

(6)  The commission shall meet at least once per quarter but not more than once per month.

C.(1)  The commission shall have the power to sue and be sued, to accept grants or donations of every type, to spend money on capital improvements if necessary to receive matching federal funds, to do all things necessary for the attraction of conventions, tourists, and visitors, including the promotion of convention facilities, tourist attractions, and other points of interest within the three-parish area.  Such promotion may include the advertisement and publication of information relating thereto.  However, the commission shall not exercise any function which results in competition with local retail businesses or enterprises.

(2)  The commission may enter into a cooperative endeavor with the governing authority of any parish comprising the district or with another public entity for the performance of such duties and functions of the commission which the commission determines are necessary but is unable to perform itself.

D.(1)(a)  In order to provide funds for the operation of the commission, the commission may levy and collect a hotel/motel occupancy tax within the parishes.  The tax shall not exceed two percent of the rent or fee charged for such occupancy.

(b)  The word "hotel/motel" as used in this Section shall mean and include any establishment, public or private, engaged in the business of furnishing or providing rooms intended or designed for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes to transient guests where such establishment consists of two or more guest rooms and shall include overnight camping facilities.  The term shall specifically include bed and breakfasts and country inns but does not encompass any hospital, convalescent or nursing home, or sanitarium, or any hotel-like facility operated by or in connection with a hospital or medical clinic providing rooms exclusively for patients and their families.

(c)  The tax shall be paid by the person who exercises or is entitled to occupancy of the room or accommodation and shall be paid at the time the rent or fee of occupancy is paid.  The word "person" as used herein shall have the same definition as that contained in R.S. 47:301(8).

(d)  Repealed by Acts 2005, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 60, §2, eff. Dec. 6, 2005.

(e)  The commission shall impose the tax by ordinance.  The commission may provide for necessary and appropriate rules and regulations for the imposition, collection, and enforcement of the tax.

(f)  The commission may enter into a cooperative endeavor under such terms and conditions as it may deem appropriate, including payment of a reasonable collection fee, with the governing authority of any member parish or with any public entity authorized to collect sales or use taxes for the collection of the hotel/motel occupancy tax.

(2)  The commission shall use the tax proceeds for any of the commission's lawful purposes and as provided by the ordinance dedicating the proceeds.  The commission may retain or spend a reasonable sum from such proceeds as a collection fee.

E.(1)  For any of its lawful purposes, the commission may issue bonds secured by and payable from a pledge of the proceeds of the hotel/motel occupancy tax authorized by this Section.  The bonds shall have such form, characteristics, and details and shall be issued in accordance with this Subsection and all other laws applicable to the issuance of bonds by political subdivisions, including but not limited to Article VI, Section 35 of the Constitution of Louisiana and Part IV of Chapter 11 and Chapters 13, 13-A, 14, and 14-A of Title 39 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

(2)  The commission shall authorize the issuance of bonds by adoption of a resolution.  However, no such resolution shall be adopted by the commission until it has been approved by the parish council of each parish comprising the commission.

(3)  The bonds shall be of such series, bear such date or dates, be serial or term bonds, mature at such time or times no later than thirty years from their date, bear interest at such rate or rates payable on such date or dates, be in such denomination, be in such form, carry such registration and exchangeability provisions, be payable in such medium of payment and at such place or places, be subject to such terms of redemption, and be entitled to such priorities on the occupancy tax as the resolution authorizing such bonds may provide.

(4)  The bonds shall be executed in the name of the commission by the manual or facsimile signatures of such official or officials as may be designated in the resolution authorizing their issuance.  If any officer whose manual or facsimile signature appears on any bond ceases to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature nevertheless shall be valid and sufficient for all purposes as if he had remained in office until such delivery.  The resolution may provide for authentication of the bonds by the fiscal agent thereunder.

(5)  The commissioners, officers, or employees of the commission or any other person executing the bonds of the commission, while acting within the scope of their authority, shall not be personally liable for the bonds nor be subject to any personal liability or accountability by reason of the issuance, sale, and delivery thereof.

(6)  The holders of any bonds issued hereunder shall have such rights and remedies as may be provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds, including but not by way of limitation appointment of a trustee for bondholders and any other available civil action to compel compliance with the terms and provisions of the bonds and the resolution.

(7)(a)  Until all bonds issued pursuant to this Subsection have been retired as to principal and interest or irrevocable provision otherwise made for their complete redemption and payment in principal, interest, and redemption premium if any, neither the legislature, the commission, nor any other authority may act to:

(i)  Impair any obligation of contract for the benefit of the holders of the bonds.

(ii)  Discontinue or decrease the hotel/motel occupancy tax or permit to be discontinued or decreased said tax in anticipation of the collection of which such bonds have been issued.

(iii)  Make any change in the allocation and dedication of the proceeds of such tax which would diminish the amount of the hotel/motel occupancy tax revenues to be received by the commission.

(b)  There is hereby vested in the holders of such bonds a contract right in the provisions of this Subsection.

(8)  Bonds issued pursuant to this Subsection shall have all the qualities of negotiable paper and shall constitute negotiable instruments under applicable state law.  They shall not be invalid for any irregularity or defect in the proceedings for the issuance and sale thereof and shall be incontestable in the hands of bona fide purchasers or holders for value.

(9)  All bonds and the income therefrom shall be exempt from taxation by the state and any political subdivision thereof.  The bonds shall be legal and authorized investments for banks, savings banks, insurance companies, homestead and building and loan associations, trustees, and other fiduciaries and may be used for deposit with any officer, board, or political subdivision of the state in any case where, by present or future laws, deposit of security is required.

(10)  All bonds issued shall be advertised for sale on sealed bids.  The commission may reject any and all bids.  If the bonds are not sold pursuant to the advertisement, they may be sold by the commission at private sale within sixty days after the date advertised for the reception of sealed bids, but no private sale shall be made at a price less than the highest bid received.  If not so sold, the bonds shall be readvertised as prescribed by this Paragraph.

(11)  The proceeds derived from the sale of bonds shall be used exclusively by the issuer for the purpose or purposes for which the bonds are authorized to be issued, but the purchasers of the bonds shall not be obligated to see to the application thereof.

F.(1)  The commission shall annually submit to the governing authority of each parish a budget for its operations during the ensuing year, and the respective governing authorities may comment on the proposed budget.

(2)  The commission may borrow money to pay its obligations that cannot be paid at maturity out of current revenue from the tax authorized in this Section but, except for bonds issued pursuant to Subsection E of this Section, shall not borrow a sum greater than can be repaid out of the revenue anticipated from the tax during the year in which the money is borrowed.

(3)  The commission shall be audited in accordance with R.S. 24:513.  The accountant shall make a written report of his audit to the governing authority of each parish and the commission.  Such report shall be furnished not less than six months after the close of the fiscal year.

Acts 2000, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 104, §1; Acts 2005, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 60, §2, eff. Dec. 6, 2005.

NOTE:  See Acts 2005, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 60, §§3 and 4, relative to application of tax based on period of occupancy.