Appealed from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Docket Number
C661296 Honorable Timothy Kelley, Judge Presiding
Ann Batson Courtney K. Humphrey Tedrick K. Knightshead Baton
Rouge, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant, City of Baton
Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge.
Jenifer Schaye Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee, Daryl G. Purpera, in his capacity as
Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
the City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge
("the City/Parish") appeals the trial court's
judgment declaring it without authority to levy a special ad
valorem tax to support the three-platoon system of its
municipal police department. For the following reasons, we
dismiss the appeal and recall a show cause order issued by
this court as moot.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1959, the City/Parish has levied a special tax for the
purpose of operating and maintaining a three-platoon system
for its police department, known as the Three Platoon Police
Millage ("the Millage"). However, after launching
an inquiry into the City/Parish's authority to levy the
Millage, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor concluded that it
would not certify the Millage for the 2017 year based on its
finding that the City/Parish was without constitutional or
statutory authority to levy it. Ultimately, after discussions
between the parties, the Legislative Auditor proposed to
certify the Millage for the 2017 year with the understanding
that the Millage would not be certified for the year 2018 or
any year thereafter without either ballot affirmation or a
judgment from the court.
on September 11, 2017, the City/Parish filed a petition for
declaratory judgment, seeking judgment "declaring the
legal authority of the City-Parish to levy [the Millage]
constitutional." Following a hearing and the filing of
joint stipulations, the trial court signed a judgment dated
October 22, 2017, declaring that "the [City/Parish] by
virtue of Act 510 of 1975 is without authority to levy a
special ad valorem tax, not to exceed 1 mill, to support the
three-platoon system of its municipal police department
without a vote of the electorate pursuant to Article VI, Sec.
27 of the 1974 Constitution and is therefore
unconstitutional." From this judgment, the City/Parish
appeals, contending that the trial court erred in declaring
that it was without constitutional authority to levy the
December 4, 2017, this court issued a Rule to Show Cause
Order, ordering the parties to show cause by briefs why this
appeal should or should not be dismissed or transferred from
this court pursuant to LSA-Const. Art. V, sec. 5. By
subsequent order dated March 6, 2018, the Rule to Show Cause
was referred to the panel to which the appeal is assigned.
Accordingly, this matter was assigned to a three-judge panel
and set on the August 2018 docket to be heard with oral
after docketing, the Legislative Auditor filed with this
court a motion to dismiss the City/Parish's appeal as
moot, averring that the Millage at issue had been placed on
the April 28, 2018 ballot and that on that date, the voters
of East Baton Rouge Parish had approved the Millage. The
Legislative Auditor further averred that on June 13, 2018,
the City/Parish then adopted Ordinance 16831, levying the
Millage, and that on July 6, 2018, the Louisiana Secretary of
State had certified that the proces verbal of the election
was filed and recorded. Accordingly, the Legislative Auditor
contended that a justiciable controversy no longer existed
and, thus, that the appeal should be dismissed as moot.
on July 26, 2018, the City/Parish filed a motion to dismiss
the above and foregoing, and the record herein, in light of
the parties' motions, the instant appeal is hereby
dismissed. Moreover, the December 4, 2017 Rule to Show ...